Miami East softball advances to D-III regional title game

CENTERVILLE — Having mental toughness is a mark of a great team and Miami East needed every ounce of mental toughness it had on the team to overcome self inflicted miscues on Tuesday in the D-III regional semifinal against Carlisle at Centerville High School.

The Vikings won 11-8 and are scheduled to play Fredericktown in the D-III regional final at 5 p.m. Friday night.

But, the game may be rescheduled due to a conflict with Miami East graduation.

Things started out poorly for Miami East as Carlisle scored a run in the top of the first thanks to a fielding error that extended the inning.

The Lady Vikings responded in the bottom of the second with a run of its own, but once again a fielding mistake cost Miami East in the second — leading to another run for Carlisle and a 2-1 lead. Fortunately, the Lady Vikings were able to get out of the inning with Carlisle having two runners in scoring position.

Miami East started to settle in and shut down Carlisle in the top of the third and then took a 4-2 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. The damage could have been much worse, however, as Miami East had a base running miscue that prevented more opportunities at the plate and potentially more runs from scoring.

Carlisle tied the score at 4-4 with two runs in the top of the second, but Miami East broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Leading 10-4 and after holding Carlisle scoreless in the top fo the fifth, it appeared as if Miami East was on its way to a run-rule victory as it had bases loaded with one out in the bottom half of the inning. Unfortunately, the Lady Vikings couldn’t get the big hit to possibly put the game away as Carlisle was able to get the two outs needed to end the threat without giving up a run.

Carlisle used the momentum at the plate in the top of the sixth and took advantage of three more fielding errors by Miami East to score four runs and close the gap to 10-8.

The back-and-forth momentum swung again in Miami East’s favor in the bottom of the sixth as Kayly Fetters launched a solo home run to give the Lady Vikings three-run lead, 11-8.

Miami East then recorded the three outs needed in the top of the seventh to end the game.

Overall, Kyleigh Kirby pitched well for Miami East considering she had to overcome six errors committed in the field leading to five unearned runs. Kirby allowed 10 hits, but was able to get her team out of several critical jams in the contest.

Miami East tallied 12 hits in the game with Kayly Fetters going 2-for-3 with a home run, recording 3 RBI and 2 runs scored, while Reagan Howell drove in five runs on two hits and scored a run herself.

Jacqueline Kadel had two hits, two RBIs and scored a run and Kyleigh Kirby helped out herself at the plate with 2 hits. Also recording hits for Miami East were Kalli Teeters, Abigail Kadel, Kiera Kirby and Meg Gilliand.

In the end, however, the statistics didn’t tell the entire story.

What made the difference was the mental toughness of Miami East.