RICHMOND - Indian Creek has accomplished another one of its goals.
The Indian Creek softball team scored the first five runs of the game en route to a 5-2 victory against Buckeye Local Thursday at Jefferson Lake State Park to win an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional championship for the second-straight season.
With the victory, Indian Creek (18-3) will now play Dover at 5 p.m. Tuesday at River View High School in an Eastern District Co-Final.
"Winning the sectional title was one our goals at the beginning of the season," Indian Creek coach Angie Penner said. "We wanted to be the top team in the OVAC, but things didn't fall our way. John Marshall is a good team.
"Our next goal was we wanted to win the Buckeye 8. We were able to do that. We are 18-3.
"I am proud of the girls. They are playing well. They are making plays. They are making things happen.
"Our third goal is we wanted to get back to districts. We fought hard for seven innings. Like I said (Wednesday), when you get to this level everyone wants to win. We are going to need to bring our A-game every game. We have to be mentally tough.
"I want to congratulate our girls. I am proud of them. I am proud of the administration and the fans for all of their support. (Thursday) was a good day. We have gotten good senior leadership."
The Redskins also defeated the Panthers in the sectional final last season.
"It just didn't fall our way," Buckeye Local (15-12) coach Joe Soos said. "We lost our focus a little bit in that three-run inning. If not for that, we would still be playing, but it is what it is."
The Redskins were the top seed in the tournament. The Panthers were the No. 2 seed. Buckeye Local advance to the title tilt by defeating Edison, 9-1, in Monday's semifinal. Indian Creek advanced to the sectional final by defeating Big Red, 6-0, in the semifinals Wednesday.
The Redskins will be looking to get revenge on the Tornadoes in the district co-final. Dover defeated Indian Creek, 6-1, last year. Indian Creek blanked Big Red, 7-0, in the sectional semifinals before outslugging Buckeye Local, 10-7, in the final to advance to take on Dover. The Panthers defeated the Wildcats, 9-4, in the semifinals to earn the right to take on the Redskins.
Thursday, Paige Geanangel picked up the victory for the Redskins. She struck out seven and walked three. She allowed two runs on two hits.
Offensively, Indian Creek ended up with six hits.
Geanangel helped her own cause with a solo home run, Brey Mays tallied two singles and an RBI and Mallorie Sullivan collected a run-scoring single. Also, Marissa DeFallo finished with a base hit.
"Mallorie Sullivan, we had her squeeze bunt," Penner said. "We were not really hitting the ball well. We were hitting it here and there. We decided to get with our bunt game to see if we could get something started."
Ivy Starcher took the loss for the Panthers. Starcher recorded eight strikeouts and four walks.
The Panthers were only able to muster a pair of base hits. Lauren Swiger ripped a run-scoring single, and Amy Balk collected a hit.
"That first inning was as crazy as it gets," Soos said. "That sums up the way the season went.
"We are losing some quality kids. You hate to see them graduate, but life goes on. We will rebuild, and we will come back again next year."
After a scoreless first inning, the Redskins took the early lead with a run on an error in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 advantage.
The Redskins added to their lead in the fourth when Geanangel belted her home run over the fence in right-centerfield.
The victors plated three more runs in the fifth to gain control of the game. Mays and Sullivan netted run-scoring singles in the stanza. Another run scored on a wild pitch as the Redskins built a 5-0 lead.
The Panthers scored twice in the top of the sixth. A run scored on a wild pitch, and another scored on Swiger's single.
"Give Buckeye Local credit," Penner said. "They are a good team. Coach Soos does an outstanding job with those kids. Ivy pitched a good game. She struck out eight. We knew coming into the game that they were a good-hitting team. We knew we were going to have to keep them off-balance."
The game was the final one for Buckeye Local's five seniors - Kaylee DeCesare, Taryn Tonkovich, Balk, Aliyah Marelli and Rachel Hoagland.
Dover advanced to Tuesday's game by blanking Carrollton, 10-0, in five innings Wednesday at Carrollton.
"We are going to have to be ready to go," Penner said. "Hopefully, we can make some noise at districts."