MIAMISBURG — Northmont took a 1-0 first inning lead Monday at Miamisburg High School in the sectional semifinal against Lakota West, a lead that would hold until the bottom of the fourth inning.
Anna Mangen led off the top of the first inning with a single to right field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt my Marissa Bardonaro. Erin Mangen singled to left field to bring her younger sister home to give the Lady Bolts an early 1-0 lead.
The Lady Firebirds took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Allie Cummins drew a one out walk, stole second and advanced to third in a single by Lauren Betz. Betz also stole second. Cummins scored on a wild pitch with Betz coming home when a throw from the backstop to the plate got misplayed and rolled to the outfield grass.
The death blow came in the bottom of the fifth when Lakota West put the game out of reach. Emma Rednour led off with a single to short right field and stole second. Kelsey Braswell blooped a single to virtually the same spot to move Rednour to third and Braswell also stole second. Controversy arose when Casey Bramble appeared to ground out to short but was called safe at first. During the confusion Rednour scored to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
The next hitter grounded out to short with both runners holding. Cummins came to the plate and belted a towering three-run homer to right field to give Lakota West a 6-1 lead.
Northmont stranded one base runner in the top of the sixth and went down in order in the top of the seventh as the Lady Firebirds held on for the five run victory.
“A loss is always tough, but once you make it to tournament it’s one and you’re done and you have kids that are going off to graduate and starting a new chapter in their lives,” said Northmont Coach Kris Mangen. “It’s kind of hard to say goodbye to people like our three seniors (Emma Finch, Erin Mangen and Ryanne Stoffel) who have given a lot of sweat and tears and everything to our program. It’s definitely hard to lose knowing it’s over.”
The upside is that the team will have eight current juniors returning next year to anchor the team and two current sophomores.
“We have a lot of experience coming back so hopefully we will be better and stronger and smarter,” Mangen added. “We made our share of mistakes this year and hopefully we will learn from those. I know there are going to be mistakes but the mental mistakes this year kind of hurt us. Our JV team had a good season so our hopes and expectations will be high, but it is kind of bittersweet to see our players graduate and move on to bigger and better things. They are going to find success and happiness in all that they do.”
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