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Softball Hosts Walnut Hills In Tourney Opener

Posted on: May 9, 2017

SETTING THE SCENE: Holding the No. 2 seed in the Cincinnati sectionals, the Milford High School softball team will open tournament play on Wednesday against a familiar foe as they welcome fellow Eastern Cincinnati Conference member Walnut Hills for a 5 p.m. first pitch. It has been an outstanding season for the Eagles who won their fourth consecutive ECC title and bring a 23-2 record into the start of tourney play. That includes a pair of wins against Walnut by a combined score of 32-3. The winner of Wednesday’s contest will advance to face the victor between No. 9 Ursuline and No. 15 Sycamore.

 

A LOOK BACK: May 1 at Withrow (Game 1): Milford 17, Withrow 0

Milford posted a “crooked number” in each of the first three innings, cruising past Withrow by a 17-0 score in the first game of a doubleheader. The Eagles pounded out 15 hits on the afternoon, scoring seven runs in each of the first and third innings.

 

THE BATS

A game with 17 runs and 15 hits produced multiple offensive stars for the Eagles with junior Sydnee Harris having perhaps the biggest day with three doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Kelsey Seitz homered and scored three times, while also driving in three and Katelyn Rheude had four RBI. Milford’s designated courtesy runners got in the act as well as Shelbi Willhoite scored four runs and Lilly Copp added three.

 

THE ARMS

Valerie Thompson and Hillary Huffer combined on a two-hit shutout with the latter picking up her second win of the season with three shutout innings. Thompson struck out five of the six hitters she retired, while Huffer tacked on four more punchouts.

 

May 1 at Withrow (Game 2): Milford 11, Withrow 0

Game two between the Eagles and Tigers was more of the same as Milford scored five runs in each of the first two innings to score an 11-0 five-inning win. MHS took the opportunity to rest several starters, allowing a handful of younger Eagles to make starts.

 

THE BATS

Katelyn Rheude was the offensive leader of the day for the Eagles going 3-for-3 with her first home run of the year, along with four RBI. Hillary Huffer added a pair of hits, while Shelbi Willhoite tallied her second double of the twinbill.

 

THE ARMS

Freshman Hillary Huffer’s first career start was a beauty as she retired all 15 hitters that she faced, while striking out five. The effort improved her season record to 3-0.

 

May 2 vs. Western Brown: Milford 3, Western Brown 1

A game added to the schedule as a tournament tune-up went the way of the Eagles as they knocked off a strong Western Brown squad by a 3-1 score on Senior Day. After Western scored first in the third inning, the Eagles pushed three across in the bottom of the fourth in support of Valerie Thompson’s 20th win of the season.

 

THE BATS

Walks proved costly for the visitors in the fourth as Katelyn Rheude and Krysten Brown plated runners with RBI singles following free passes earlier. Hillary Huffer picked up the other RBI with a run-scoring groundout. Rheude finished the day 2-for-3, while Thompson picked up a double.

 

THE ARMS

Thompson was outstanding in her final regular season home start, yielding just four hits and an unearned run in seven innings. She fanned six for the day.

 

THE UPCOMING DOCKET: A look at Milford’s next OHSAA Tournament opponent:

  • Wednesday, May 9 vs. Walnut Hills, 5:00 p.m.
    • 2017 Record: 7-16, 4-10 ECC (NR Division I area coaches’ final poll)
    • Top Hitter: Senior Isabella Leisgang (.458/5 XBH/18 RBI/13 SB)
    • Top Pitcher: Senior Isabella Leisgang (4.96 ERA/5-12 record)
    • Last Meeting: 2017; Milford 20, Walnut Hills 3 & Milford 12, Walnut Hills 0

 

TOURNEY TALK: For the second consecutive season, the Eagles will enter the OHSAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the Cincinnati sectionals as voted on by the coaches. With the second-seed the Eagles have earned a bye in the first round and will open tournament play at home on Wednesday, May 10 against No. 20 Walnut Hills. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. Click here for Milford’s sectional bracket.

 

The schedule for ECC teams that remain in the tournament includes: No. 2 Milford vs. No. 20 Walnut Hills (May 10, 5:00 p.m. at Milford), No. 11 Anderson vs. No. 23 Winton Woods (May 10, 5:00 p.m. at Anderson), No. 5 Kings vs. No. 7 Harrison (May 10, 5:00 p.m. at Kings).

 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: A look at Milford’s statistical leaders through 25 games:

Batting Average: Katelyn Rheude (.538), Kelsey Seitz (.530), Katelyn Reynolds (.507)

Slugging Percentage: Kelsey Seitz (1.060), Katelyn Reynolds (.808), Katelyn Rheude (.744)

On Base Percentage: Katelyn Reynolds (.583), Kelsey Seitz (.577), Katelyn Rheude (.567)

Runs Scored: Kelsey Seitz (40), Sydnee Harris (36), Shelbi Willhoite (28)

Hits: Kelsey Seitz (44), Katelyn Rheude (42), Katelyn Reynolds (37)

RBI: Kelsey Seitz (45), Katelyn Rheude (36), Katelyn Reynolds (33)

Doubles: Katelyn Rheude (13), Sydnee Harris (12), Katelyn Reynolds (11)

Triples: Kelsey Seitz (7), Katelyn Reynolds (4), Four Tied (1)

Home Runs: Kelsey Seitz (7), Hillary Huffer/Katelyn Reynolds/Katelyn Rheude (1)

Walks: Katie Hall (23), Katelyn Reynolds (19), Sydnee Harris (16)

Stolen Bases: Sydnee Harris (12), Hannah Meenach (8), Lilly Copp/Katelyn Rheude (5)

Wins: Valerie Thompson (23), Hillary Huffer (3)

Saves: None

ERA: Valerie Thompson (1.06), Hillary Huffer (1.59)

Innings: Valerie Thompson (132.0), Hillary Huffer (22.0)

Opponents Batting Average: Valerie Thompson (.176), Hillary Huffer (.200)

Strikeouts: Valerie Thompson (122), Hillary Huffer (15)

 

POLL WATCH: Milford finished fourth in the final Division I area coaches’ poll of the year, released on May 1 and sponsored by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Lebanon won the poll title, earning nine of the 15 first place votes. The balance of the top-five includes Mason (three first place votes), Lakota East (two votes), the Eagles (one vote) and Lakota West. The ECC was also represented by Kings in eighth and Loveland receiving votes. The final coaches’ poll can be viewed at preps.cincinnati.com/coachespolls.

 

In the fourth Division I State Poll as voted on by the Ohio Softball Coaches Association, the Eagles are the seventh-ranked squad in the state. The Greater Cincinnati area is well represented with Lebanon ranked No. 1 and Lakota East one spot in front of Milford. The full rankings can be viewed here.

 

COLLEGE BOUND EAGLES: A trio of seniors on the 2017 Eagles’ roster have already announced their intention to continue their athletic and academic careers on the collegiate level. Kelsey Seitz will attend will attend Trevecca Nazarene University, while Valerie Thompson has signed a National Letter of Intent at Tennessee State University. Most recently, Katelyn Rheude sannounced her intention to attend Notre Dame College and compete on the college level.