GREENVILLE — This Thursday signified one of the Lady Wave’s most significant wins of the season by taking down the undefeated Centerville Elks 2-1.
“It was a great day for Lady Wave,” Greenville softball coach Jerrod Newland said.
Centerville entered Thursday’s game 16-0 in Division I, so the Lady Wave knew they had their work cut out for them.
Meanwhile, the Lady Wave had just been ranked as No. 3 in their own Division II coaches’ poll and was 14-2 on the season.
“We don’t get to circle too many games on the schedule when we put it together. There’s only a half dozen or so, but obviously this is one of them,” Newland said.
And as a bonus to the game, Greenville Lady Wave veteran Justine Shilt was present at the game as assistant coach to the Elks.
“It just makes you proud when kids go through and have successful high school and college careers and come back into the game to coach it and share it,” Newland said. “She’s a top-notch kid.”
In the first two innings both teams hunkered down and gave up no runs, which set the stage for a long defensive battle.
“We had two top-notch pitchers moving the ball around and two top-notch defenses making plays,” Newland said. “This is a district finals or regional finals type game. Two great games just teeing it off.”
The game shifted in the bottom of the third as senior Brionna Greer stepped up to the plate with two outs on the scoreboard.
She then cranked a hard line drive down the left side and sprinted around the bases for an in-the-park home run.
“She stepped up there with two outs, drives it into the left field line, plays it and scores at the plate, home run,” Newland said. “You know, we just weren’t stopping.”
But moments after Greer crossed home plate, the umpire said her hit rolled foul. But after some spirited discussion with Newland, who informed him that the ball was knocked out of play by an Elk player, the umpire decided to call it fair instead.
At that point, the Centerville head coach decided to have his own enthusiastic disagreement with the umpire, and the game was momentarily delayed once again.
However, the decision stood and the game continued, 1-0 Greenville.
But at the top of the fourth, the Elks hit a double early on and put the Lady Wave on notice.
Then with two outs on the board, the Elks tripled into the outfield, which sent their runner in for the tie, 1-1.
Greenville went 1-2-3 in outs at its next at bat in the bottom of the fourth, but Centerville luckily stalled out with two runners stranded at the top of the fifth for no change in score.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Lady Wave sealed the game with their second hit and second home run.
“We didn’t hit too many sharp ones, but the two we did were great,” Newland said.
Ally Russell drilled a ball parallel to first base and managed to round the bases before the Elks could respond.
“She kept us going there in the sixth,” Newland said. “You just put the ball in the play and good things happen.”
Greenville held back Centerville in the top of the seventh, finally ending the game with another stellar infield snag by Greer.
“It just sets the tone for a senior to do something like that out here,” Newland said. “She’s a leader.”
The Elks left with their only loss of the season and ended the night with a 2-1 Greenville win.
Greenville plays its next game at home against Xenia at 5 p.m. on Friday.