CENTERVILLE — One thing is for certain.
The Miami East softball team has mastered the big finish — and it always interesting.
So, why would it be any different playing unbeaten Carlisle in a D-III regional semifinal at the Centerville High School softball field Wednesday?
Leading the Indians 4-3 with one out and a runner on second and the meat of the order up in the seventh inning, pitcher Jacqueline Kadel fielded a smash back at her. As the runner took off for third, Kadel gave it a thought before throwing to Maddie Maxson at first for the second out.
“I thought about (going to third),” Jacqueline Kadel said.
Then Maxson did something she has never done before.
When the runner rounded third, she fired a strike to third baseman Reagan Howell, who put the tag on for the third out and a game-ending double play.
“I never throw over like that,” Maxson said. “I wasn’t confident at all. I was just praying it would be a good throw.”
It caught Kadel off guard as well.
“Well first, I had to get out of the way of the throw,” Kadel said with a laugh.
Howell was a little confused at first.
“I heard the umpire called her out,” Howell said. “Then, I started thinking about it. I knew Maddie (Maxson) would make a great throw and I would catch it and tag her out. I just didn’t realize the game was over at first.”
When she did, she tossed the ball down and the celebration was on.
Miami East, 19-6, will now play 25-3 Indian Lake for a regional title at noon Saturday at Jonathan Alder High School.
Over the last two seasons, Carlisle has put together a 47-3 record and two of those losses have come at the hands of the Vikings in the postseason.
“I am sure on paper, people would say they (Carlisle) are a much more talented team.,” Miami East coach Brian Kadel said. “But, our girls are out there playing for each other. They were playing for each other today and when you do that, you are hard to beat.”
Carlisle had taken a 1-0 lead in the home second when Kara Adkins doubled and Layla Knapp singled her in.
East tied it in the third.
After Reagan Howell and Keira Kirby singled, Maxson put down a sacrifice bunt and Abigail Kadel had a sacrifice fly, with Howell scoring on a head-first slide.
Carlisle went up 2-1 in fourth when Myra Howard singled and scored on Knapp’s fielder’s choice.
But, the game-changing moment came in the East fifth, when the Vikings scored three times to go up 4-2.
Kirby was 3-for-3 with a walk and Whitni Enis had two hits. Kirby started things with a walk in the fifth.
“It is somebody different every game,” Brian Kadel said.
Following a walk to Rachel Haak, Abigail Kadel had a RBI single to score Kirby and tie it.
That set the stage for Jacqueline Kadel, who drilled a double in the gap to score Haak and Kadel and give East a 4-2.
“I was just looking for a pitch to drive,” Jacqueline Kadel said.
Brian Kadel understood the significance.
“Really, that was the game right there,” he said.
Carlisle got within 4-3 in the fifth when Chyla Miller homered.
“I took the blame for that pitch,” Brian Kadel said. “But, Jacqueline (Kadel) said she like the pitch, she just didn’t like the way she threw it. So, I will let her take the blame.”
That set the stage for the seventh inning, which started with a walk to the nine hitter.
“We had talked about making it quick and not getting to the top of the order,” Brian Kadel said. “I was thinking oh no when the nine hitter got on. But, Jacqueline (Kadel) did a great job.”
A fielder’s choice with Kadel getting a force at second, set the stage for the double play.
“We work on that play everyday in practice” Brian Kadel said. “Maddie (Maxson) has never thrown it over (to third in a game). I told her, just throw it. We are going to get a big out at some point. And that is what happened today.”
Kadel pitched a five-hitter, with three strikeouts and three walks.
Savannah Brown pitched an eight-hitter, striking out seven and walking three.
The only question is what the Vikings have left up their sleeve for Friday night.
“We are a pretty gritty group,” Maxson said. “We find a way to get things done.”
And you know not to leave early, or you will miss it.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]