from the state tournament, but that’s exactly where the Amazons are
heading into today's regional semifinal. With only one senior in the starting lineup, the Amazons had their
preseason focus more on the sectional tournament rather than the
The Cincinnati Madeira softball team didn’t expect to be two wins away from the state tournament, but that’s exactly where the Amazons are heading into today's regional semifinal.
Madeira (23-2), which won its first district softball title in school history May 24, plays West Liberty-Salem (29-1) in a Division III regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Thursday at Wright State University.
“We thought we could be better than we were last year (14-9 record),” Madeira coach Dave Schlensker said. “…I’m sure the kids probably thought, ‘hey we could do this,’ but realistically as a coaching staff we thought, ‘ok we could compete in the sectionals.’”
Madeira, which won the Cincinnati Hills League with an undefeated league record, defeated state-ranked Middletown Madison 4-2 in the district final at West Carrollton.
With only one senior in the starting lineup, the Amazons had their preseason focus more on the sectional tournament rather than the regional tournament.
“We figured (the team) might be a good year away from having this kind of success,” Madeira athletic director Joe Kimling said. “To have it this early is a nice surprise.”
Sophomore pitcher Sarah Hammitt, who had six strikeouts against Madison, has been one of the top players during the postseason run. Hammitt has a 21-2 pitching record.
But, she and her teammates still regarded themselves as underdogs and with nothing to lose against the sixth-ranked Mohawks on Saturday.
“When I was out there (before the game) I always say a little thing to my infielders right before they come in,” Hammitt said. “I was like, ‘we honestly have nothing to lose and just think about how sweet that feeling (an upset) would be.’”
Hammitt, who also plays volleyball and basketball, said she has never been past the sectional finals in any sport. She also didn’t even realize the district champions receive medals for their accomplishment.
But, despite the district title, Madeira will have to upset another top-ranked team Thursday afternoon. West Liberty-Salem, which defeated Blanchester 1-0 in the district final, is ranked second in the state poll.
“I think everyone has that confidence in stepping up to the plate and they know it’s anyone’s game,” Hammitt said.
Schlensker, who is the girls’ basketball coach at the school, had an unlikely memorable run during the 2000 state basketball Final Four. He said he has reminded his softball team of that Cinderella team and not to dwell heavily on state rankings.
“I don’t mind being the underdog,” Schlensker said.