Miami East softball advances to D-III Final Four

CENTERVILLE — Miami East softball seniors Kayly Fetters, Kylie Kirby, Braven Mills, Kenzie Noble and Kalli Teeters were well aware they had done something the Vikings hadn’t done since 1978 when they defeated Fredericktown 10-0 in five innings Saturday in a D-III regional semifinal at Centerville High School.

The Vikings will play Massillon Tuslaw at 3 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals at Firestone Stadium in Akron.

And the girls used words like amazing, awesome, incredible and can’t believe it to describe the feeling.

And Miami East coach Brian Kadel — humble to the point it is hard to get him to stand in for a team picture — understands those words.

“I think it was six years ago,” Kadel said. “That we didn’t win a game. I am so happy for the seniors and the way they have helped rebuild this program.”

They remember their freshman season.

“I remember that we lost our first tournament game,” Noble said.

And they never expected to be standing where they were Saturday — preparing for a trip to Firestone Stadium.

“We lost quite few games that year,” Kyleigh Kirby said.

Mills agreed.

“I would have never thought this was possible back when I was a freshman,” she said.

Fetters agreed.

“If you had told me back then we would be going to state in four years, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Maybe not even at the start of this year.

“People who saw us in our scrimmages and early in the year, probably wouldn’t have thought we could do this,” Kadel said. “We had a talk. I think we were putting too much pressure on ourselves. So, we had to change that.”

On Saturday, all the pressure was on Fredericktown.

It started in the home first when Kyleigh Kirby smacked a solo homer.

“Oh yeah,” Fetters said about that setting the tone for the game.

Kadel has seen it before.

“Kyleigh (Kirby) has done that a number of times this year,” he said.

East never gave the momentum back, scoring five runs in the second inning to go up 6-0.

Madison Maxson reached on an error and Abigail Kadel walked.

After a fielder’s choice by Kiera Kirby, East had two on and two out.

Meg Gilliand had a bunt single to load the bases.

Teeters had a two-run single and another run scored when Jacqueline Kadel reached on a hard hit ball to the centerfielder.

Kyleigh Kirby followed with a two-run single to make it 6-0.

East added four more runs in the third.

Gilliand and Teeters had bases loaded walks and Jacqueline Kadel followed with a two-run single.

Kyleigh Kirby took care of the rest, pitching a two-hitter while striking out two and walking one.

“Kyleigh (Kirby) wanted this,” Brian Kadel said. “She was locked in out there.”

And when Fredericktown had a rare baserunner in the fourth, East turned in a web gem to end the threat.

Maxson took a ground ball at shortstop, tossed it to Abigail Kadel at second for the force and Fetters scooped the throw at first to complete the double play.

“We didn’t want to give them any kind of hope,” Brian Kadel said. “I wasn’t sure what kind of defense we were going to see after having six errors in the previous game.”

With two outs in the fifth, Abigail Kadel fielded a ground ball and threw to first to Fetters for the out to start the celebration.

“We knew the situation,” Fetters said. “We knew Kyleigh wasn’t going to give them anything. Abigail (Kadel) started screaming before I even caught the ball.”

Kyleigh Kirby was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Teeters also had three RBIs.

Kiera Kirby had two hits and Jacqueline Kadel had two RBIs.

Brian Kadel is the son of legendary Newton softball coach Kirk Kadel who has taken several teams to the state tournament and won a state title.

“He had so many good teams,” Kadel said. “So, I knew how hard it was to get there. But, you always think you can (make it to state).”

The 1978 won a state title.

“Some of the parents on this team have cousins or aunts on that team and are always talking about it,” Kadel said.

And now they will be talking about the 2022 team — led by the leadership of five seniors.