CENTERVILLE — Northmont avenged a 2-1 loss to Centerville on Monday by scoring 6-5 victory over the Lady Elks on their home field Wednesday to set up a possible tie between the two teams as co-champs of the Central Division in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Year-in and year-out these two teams lock horns in knock-down and drag-out battles as they battle for the division crown and this year was no different.
The Lady Bolts had a big first inning scoring five runs. Lead-off hitter Courtney Jasinski reached base after hitting a pop fly just off the infield grass that was dropped by Centerville’s shortstop. Anna Mangen followed with a bunt and reached base when the first baseman dropped the throw from Centerville pitcher Mollie Paulick.
Taylor Hoover laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Jasinksi to third and Mangen to second. Northmont pitcher Whitney Fiedler crushed a single to center to score Jasinski with Mangen advancing to third. Marissa Bardonaro came in to pinch run for Fiedler. Mallory Woods put the ball in play and Paulick committed an error allowing Woods to reach first base and Mangen to score while Bardonaro advanced to third.
Erin Mangen laid down a bunt that Paulick pounced on to throw Bardonaro out at home.
With two outs Cory Mangen, on the eve of her 18th birthday, ripped a three-run home run to left field to give Northmont a 5-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the first Paulick helped her own cause by belting a home run to deep left field to cut Northmont’s lead to 5-1. When she made contact there was no doubt the ball was gone. Paulick crushed it.
Jasinski, recently released to play after suffering an ACL injury during basketball season, hit a one-out single to left center but was left stranded when Paulick struck out Anna Mangen and Taylor Hoover to retire the side in the top of the second.
Centerville got set down in order in the bottom of the second. Mallory Woods hit a one-out single in the top of the third inning but was left stranded after pop out to short and a ground out to second.
Fiedler got Centerville out in order with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs in the home half of the third.
Northmont got another run in the top of the fourth and had a chance to blow the game open but left three runners stranded on base. Emily Ritchie hit a lead-off single up the middle and Cassy Lewis reached first on a bunt. Jasinski followed with a single to right field advancing to Ritchie to third but Lewis hesitated at first and got gunned out at second by Centerville’s right fielder. Anna Mangen popped out to third and Hoover drew a walk to load the bases. Fiedler belted a single to center to score Ritchie. Paulick ended the threat by striking out Woods but Northmont now held a solid 6-1 lead.
Paulick was intentionally walked with one out in the bottom of the fourth but Fiedler got a ground out and a fly ball to right to end the inning.
Cory Mangen hit a one-out single to right in the top of the fifth, but got caught in a rundown between first and second. Paulick struck out two batters to end another potential Northmont scoring threat.
Northmont committed its only error in the bottom of the fifth when Fiedler misplayed a ball by Lizzy Leach. Fiedler struck out Megan Dabbelt, got the next batter to hit into a fielder’s choice and struck out Caroline Ferrazza to end the inning.
Jasinski hit a one-out double to the fence in right center in the top of the sixth but Anna Mangen hit a fly out to left and Hoover popped out to the catcher to end the Lady Bolts bid to increase their lead.
Paulick was intentionally walked with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and Raquel Emery singled to right field to advance the pinch runner to third. Fiedler ended the threat by getting Amanda Ross to look at a called third strike to end the inning.
Northmont went down in order in the top of the seventh setting the stage for a heart-stopping finish.
Dabbelt hit a one-out single to left and Anna Demos doubled to left center with pinch runner Taylor Willis advancing to third. Caroline Ferrazza singled up the middle to score Willis while Demos held at second. Olivia Ferrazza lofted a fly out to left field and Northmont was one out away from scoring a 6-2 victory. But Centerville had other plans.
Junior Taylor White belted a three-run homer over the fence just to the right of dead center field to cut Northmont’s lead to 6-5. Paulick got another free pass putting the potential tying run on first. The final play of the game was something right out of a Hollywood movie.
Emery hit a hard grounder that deflected off third baseman Cory Mangen’s glove. Shortstop Emily Ritchie, who was moving towards third, pounced on the ball and fired an off-balance throw to first to get Emery out by one step to seal the 6-5 victory for the Lady Bolts.
Northmont and Centerville are now tied for first place with identical 7-1 division records. Northmont has two division games left against Springfield, which is currently 0-8 in division play while Centerville has two division games remaining against Wayne, which is currently 4-3 in Central play. Barring a disaster it appears as if Northmont and Centerville will share the Central Division title.
“I didn’t get much sleep Monday night after our 2-1 loss. I was just so disappointed… not in our effort but just in the fact that we were two outs away from beating the seventh ranked team in the state,” said Northmont Coach Kris Mangen. “We came down here yesterday and were here for ten minutes before we got rained out and had to load up on the bus. The girls came back ready to play and showed composure and just played well together. They hustle, they work hard and our seniors have great leadership. Whitney Fiedler did a great job in six and two thirds innings on the mound and Mallory Woods came in when she wasn’t expecting it and closed out the game for us.”
Coach Mangen credited niece Cory Mangen for her home run and Courtney Jasinski for making solid contact in both games against Centerville.
“It has never been one person with this group, it has just been a total team effort,” Mangen added. “Right now we are tied with Centerville with one division loss each. They’ve got Wayne on Monday and Tuesday and we’ve got Springfield on Monday and Tuesday so we will see how it all pans out. I am very proud of the girls’ efforts. It’s just fun.”
NMT 500 100 0 – 6 10 1
CEN 100 000 4 – 5 05 3
Second baseman Anna Mangen throws to first to get an out against Centerville.
Erin Mangen lays down a first inning bunt at Centerville.