Warren ready for district softball title game Friday

VINCENT – Riley Benson is going to have to do a quick exchange of clothes from her Warren softball uniform to cap and gown on Friday.

Warren’s left fielder – and also the only senior on the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League champion Warriors’ team – is scheduled to graduate with her class at 7 p.m. that evening at Don Drumm Stadium on the campus of Marietta College.

Thing is, Rachelle Pallini-coached Warren (20-3) is also slated to play either Jackson or Circleville in an Ohio Division II district championship game at Northwest High at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

“We’re just excited to make it past the first round in district,” said Pallini.

The Jackson-Circleville district semi was suspended with two outs in the top of the fifth inning Tuesday due to two lightning delays, a brief downpour and darkness, and is scheduled to resume today at Northwest.

Jackson has a 3-1 lead against the Circleville Tigers. Kacee Jenkins is toeing the rubber for the Lady Ironladies. Kari Jenkins had a two-out, two-run single in the second frame.

Kelly Hughes drove in Jackson’s first run in the inning on an infield hit.

If Warren plays Jackson, an SEOAL rival, it would be the third time this spring. During regular-season play, the Warriors won 14-10 at Jackson April 15 and 5-4 in Vincent April 26.

In the program’s history, the Warren softball team has never claimed a district title or advanced to regional competition.

Warren got to the district title game Tuesday when it defeated Greenfield McClain, 10-3, in a semi at Northwest, which is located in McDermott in Scioto County.

The Warriors, who had 16 hits against the Tigers of Greenfield – were led by sophomore pitcher Kaylee Higgins and freshman third baseman Katelyn Coffman, who each was 3 for 3 at the plate.

Coffman also had a two basehit and drove in three runs.

Warren sophomore first baseman Ari Schetter added three hits (3-4), including two doubles and two RBIs. Junior shortstop Kendra Lynch chipped in with two hits, one of which was a triple, and also drove in two runs.

Junior catcher Brandi Douglass, center fielder Hailey Murdock, second baseman Kiley Lynch and Benson had one hit apiece.

Pallini said that Warren had four hitters on the team batting over .400 – Kendra Lynch, Douglass, Schetter, and Murdock.

“Overall, we’ve been hitting the ball really well this year,” the Warren boss said. “We just need to keep on doing that.”

The right-handed-throwing Higgins went the seven-inning distance on the hill, striking out three, walking two, and allowing just six hits. McClain got all of its runs in the sixth inning.

“Kaylee’s been pretty solid for us,” Pallini said.

If Higgins falters on the mound in the district showdown game, Schetter, who hurled a no-hitter against visiting Logan on April 10 during the regular season, will be available.

Warren got to the district tournament by virtue of its 10-0 mercy of the Marietta Tigers in last Saturday’s sectional final in Vincent.

Last year, Pallini’s first at the Warren softball helm, the Warriors finished 21-5 with a share of the SEOAL crown after bowing out in the district final to New Lexington.

“I think if we minimize our errors and keep our heads at the plate, we’re going to be fine,” Pallini said of the district final.