WHEELING - You can take the coach out of the teacher, but given the circumstances, the teacher could not be taken out of Wheeling Park softball coach Dee Davis. She was just waiting to deliver the day's lesson.
After her team's 3-0 victory against University in the Class AAA Region One championship game, Davis summed up the day of pitcher Carly Greer.
"This is the atom," she said of her team. "And she is like the nucleus. She is at the center of everything that is going on."
Photo by Dave Morrison/Members of the Wheeling Park infield meet in the pitcher’s circle during the seventh inning of the Class AAA Region 1 championship. From left, are Ashleigh Sidon, Kat Donzella, Kelsey Johnson, Carly Greer and Skyler Carrington. Partially hidden is Sammy Criswell.
Yes, Davis is a biology teacher by trade.
And her team is making a second straight trip to the state tournament next week in Vienna, largely due in part to the play of Greer, the nucleus, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning and followed that with a solid pitching performance, including getting out of a bases-load, no-out jam in the the sixth inning.
"I was a nervous wreck all day," Greer said. "I woke up nervous. I think the home run really energized us, and it seemed to take a little bit from them because they didn't come out with same energy as they did in the first inning. I don't know if it was so much the home run or the pitching. I think it was the whole team. We really played well today. Everybody did a great job."
The protons and neutrons, if you will, put together an effort that saw University (22-6) shut out for the first time this season.
Greer gave up six hits and struck out three.
The sixth inning turned out to be key, when a pair of University singles around a fielder's choice, on an error at second base, loaded the bases.
With Jamie DeSantis at the plate, Greer uncorked a wild pitch. However, catcher Ashleigh Sidon scurried to the backstop, retrieved the ball and flipped it to Greer who applied the tag on the Tessa Chafin for a bang-bang out at the plate.
Greer then got DeSantis to ground back to the mound and struck out pinch-hitter Taylor Petrovich to end the inning.
"We are going to go there every time," University coach Mindy Parks said. "It's the sixth inning, we needed to get something going. The ball just rolled right up the backstop and their catcher made a nice play."
"That really got our confidence back," Greer said of the play. "I was really worried about the situation and when we got out of that, it was huge."
So was her two-run home run in the first.
After Kelsey Johnson led off with a single, Greer drove a pitch from Savannah Bryner over the left-center field fence to give Park a lead it would hold until the sixth, when Kat Donzella, who led off the inning with a single, scored on Skyler Carrington's single.
"We talked about that," Davis said. "The last time we played JM (John Marshall), Carly hit a home run in the first inning and we lost that game. I told her we needed more hits, not to let up and think it was over just because we hit a home run in the first inning. There was still a lot of game left."
Turns out, the atom didn't need any more.
Wheeling Park (19-6) will face Region Three champion Ripley, which beat Greenbrier East 6-2, Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Ohio Division II
Eastern District Co-Final
Indian Creek 1
WARSAW - In a battle of standout juniors, Indian Creek's Paige Geanangel outdueled Minerva's Rachel Eberling to lead the Redskins past the Lions.
Geanangel pitched a perfect game through six innings before giving up a lead-off hit to Shania Miller, but Miller ended up being stranded at third base at the end of the game.
Geanangel also doubled in Abby Orr in the second for the game's lone run.
The victory gives Creek coach Angie Penner a career record of 101-36.
With the win, Indian Creek (17-2) advances to the Region 7 Semifinals at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Pickerington Central High School against the winner of Saturday's game between No. 1 seed Licking Valley and No. 7 seed Columbus Bishop Hartley. First pitch in that contest is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Pickerington Central.
Ohio Division II
John Glenn 4
WARSAW-Kai McClurg delivered a clutch two-run single as Steuben-ville topped John Glenn to claim its 21st district crown at River View High School's Ron Tisko Field.
With the victory, Big Red, now 23-4 and winners of 13 straight, advances to next week's regional event at Zanesville's Gant Municipal Stadium. Steubenville will face the other Warsaw survivor, either Dover or Minerva. Those clubs are scheduled to collide on Saturday.
Anthony Zorne went the distance on the hill, fanning four and allowing 10 hits. In every inning but the seventh, the John Glen lead-off hitter reached base. The Muskies strained seven runners as Zorne worked his way out of several jams. John Glen outhit Big Red 10-4.