BRADFORD — Bradford continued to hit well and manufacture runs on Thursday while shutting down Tri-Village in a 9-1 Lady Railroader win in an Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament game.
While the Lady Railroaders weren’t a offensive powerhouse in the regular season, coach Shon Shaffer said, they scored 14 runs in their tournament opener against Mississinawa Valley Tuesday and then scored nine against Tri-Village on Thursday.
“I’m excited,” Shaffer said. “I’ve made statements before that we’re not a real big offensive team. We usually win games four, five-nothing or 4-1 or something like that. The last couple games we’ve been putting some big numbers up. We’ve definitely got some momentum going. The girls are pumped up, and they’re excited for this next game.”
Neither team was able to score in the first inning on Thursday, but then Bradford got hot in the second.
Brooke Dunlevy led off the bottom of the second with a walk, which was followed by a walk to Olivia Hart and a bunt single from Ciara Broughman to load the bases. The Railroaders then got on the scoreboard with a RBI single from Tori Smith to make it 1-0.
After a fielder’s choice got the first out of the inning out at home, Haley Patty walked to drive in a second run. The Lady Patriots got another fielder’s choice out at home, but then Brooke Brower got a two-out single to drive in two more runs and make it 4-0 Bradford.
“We came out on fire after that first inning, just gathering our feet underneath us and started hitting the ball, moving around, stealing the bases,” Shaffer said. “I tell you we really used our team speed to put us in good position to score runs.”
Bradford’s offensive firepower continued in the third inning with Dunlevy leading off with a single and stealing second and third. A bunt single from Broughman then allowed Dunlevy to score for a 5-0 lead.
Smith then reached as the Patriots tried to catch Broughman off the base on her hit, and Jayde Mead put down a bunt single to load the bases. Patty then drove in a pair of runs with a single, making it 7-0 in favor of Bradford.
The Railroaders’ strong hitting continued in the fourth inning with Mindy Brewer starting the rally with a one-out single. Flex player Michayla Barga, who was running for Brewer, stole second and took third on a passed ball. Barga then scored on a bunt single by Dunlevy to make it 8-0.
Dunlevy proceed to steal second and third and score on a single by Hart for a 9-0 Bradford lead.
Tri-Village got its lone run of the game in the top of the fifth when Ecko Brown got a two-out single to score Allie Downing to cut the deficit to 9-1.
“Ecko’s been strong for us,” Tri-Village coach Tracy Barhorst said. “She’s hit well for me all year.”
But Tri-Village couldn’t get much more offense going as Patty’s pitching and the Railroader defense held the Patriots to just the one run.
“That’s a good hitting team right there, and Haley did a really nice job of quieting their bats,” Shaffer said. “She did a really excellent job.”
The result was a 9-1 Bradford win, allowing the Railroaders to advance in the tournament and eliminating Tri-Village.
“We were a 10 seed, and a two seed beat us,” Barhorst said. “We are very young, but when you come in and play in tournament you can’t make minor mistakes. We gave them several runners on, and they’re fast. So when you put runners on, they’re going to score.”
Barhorst, who is in her first year leading the Tri-Village program after previously serving as a Bradford assistant coach, said she was pleased with how her team’s season went considering the Patriots consistently play five or six freshmen.
“We’re young, and everybody does their job, and we’ll get better,” Barhorst said. “Nobody expected us to be here so there’s lots of good things.”
Tri-Village had just two seniors this year, Krystal Falknor and Abby Harrison.
“They’ll be missed,” Barhorst said. “I wish I had a couple more years with them.”
Bradford now advances to play Ansonia at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Fairlawn for a sectional championship. Last year Ansonia beat Bradford 2-1 in the sectional championship game, and this year the Tigers beat the Railroaders 4-3 in the regular season.
“The girls, I think that’s who they were wanting,” Shaffer said. “That’s who they were wanting. The unknown of Triad was kind of out there, but they know what they’re going to get with Ansonia. Lost to them last year in the sectional finals and lost to them here in extra innings here at our field. So they’re definitely wanting them.”