CASSTOWN — It was deja vu for the Miami East softball team in a D-III district semifinal Monday at Miami East High School against Springfield Shawnee.
The only difference was the oppenent and the girl playing the starring role.
A year ago, in a district semifinal against Waynesville at Versailles High School, the Vikings had trailed 3-2 with two outs in the home ninth inning when Jacqueline Kadel tied the game with a single and Kyleigh Kirby had a walk-off two run homer that propelled them to a Final Four berth.
On Monday, the Vikings were again down to their final out in the home seventh, trailing Shawnee 3-2 when freshman Jaycee Roeth deliver a walkoff two-run double for a 4-3 win.
Ironically, the Vikings will play Waynesville in a D-III district title game at 5 p.m. Thursday at Lebanon Junior High.
“If you remember, it was similar situation last year,” Miami East softball coach Brian Kadel said. “We were down to our last out and then Kyleigh (Kirby) had the walk-off home run.”
Springfield Shawnee’s Lilly Adams had a hit a leadoff homer in the top of the seventh to give Shawnee a 3-2 lead.
“Jacqueline (Kadel) and I had a discussion about that,” Brian Kadel said. “I asked her if the pitch was where it was supposed to be and she said it was, she just hit it. But, we have been a pretty resillient team all year.”
The seventh started with the Shawnee centerfielder making a shoestring catch on a line drive by Abigail Kadel.
Jacqueline Kadel singled and Whitni Enis walked. After a strikeout, they were on first and second with two out when Roeth came to the plate.
“I knew what I had to do,” Roeth said. “We didn’t need a home run. We just needed a base hit. I was looking to hit a line drive.”
She hit a drive to left field and when the outfielder was unable to make a diving catch, the ball went to the fence and Kadel and Enis easily raced around the bases to give the Vikings the win and set off a celebration.
“I didn’t see the girl dive for the ball,” Roeth said. “I was running, but when I heard everybody cheering I figured out what had happened. I think I have always handled pressure situations pretty well.”
Brian Kadel knew she was the right batter for the situation.
“Jaycee (Roeth) is pretty much happy go lucky,” he said. “She really doesn’t let anything bother her.”
While Shawnee came in as an 11 seed with an 11-10 record and Miami East is now 17-6, the Braves didn’t play like an underdog.
In the first, Caleigh Blanton had singled and after an error, she would score on Ava Wills drive to deep centerfield.
In the second, Marah Day and Kenzie Mann singled and Blanton followed with a RBI single to make it 2-0.
To Kadel’s credit, she scattered 12 hits and did not allow another run until seventh — as Shawnee stranded 13 baseriunners in the game. She had two walks and one strikeout.
She got help from her defense, including a double play in the third inning and she got out of a two on no out situation in the sixth.
In the third inning, East turned a double play that went from Abigail Kadel at second to shortstop Rachel Haak to first baseman Madison Maxson.
“I thought the double play was a big play,” Brian Kadel said. “Jacqueline is not overpowering, but our defense makes plays.”
At the same time, East had some baserunning mistakes.
“They made a couple plays we didn’t expect them to make,” Brian Kadel said.
Rachel Haak got the Vikings on the board with a home run in the fourth with two out.
“That was a senior moment,” Brian Kadel said. “She knows it is getting near the end (for her high school career). That gave the whole team a big lift and she could see how it lit Rachel (Haak) up. It was great to see.”
In the fifth, it was eight-hitter Jadyn Bair hitting a blast deep over the leftfield fence to tie the game.
“She hit that ball a long way,” Brian Kadel said about Bair’s home run. “She has a lot of power. She has a lot of RBIs, but she is batting eighth because we have girls hitting all the way through the order. All three of our runs came with two outs.”
That set up the seventh inning dramatics, the ended with another walk-off win in the district semifinal.
And East hopes the rest of postseason is deja vu from a year ago as well.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]