Louisville Upends Canton McKinley 18-2 in Sectional Opener – Softball
Louisville 18, Canton McKinley 2, 5 Innings
The #17 Seed Louisville Leopards Varsity Softball Team upended the visiting #29 Seed Canton McKinley Bulldogs 18-2 in five innings Monday in the DI Massillon Sectional Semifinals held at West Main Vet Clinic Field. With the victory, Louisville improves to 13-11 on the season and advances to travel to face the #6 Seed Green Bulldogs in the DI Massillon Sectional Finals on Wednesday, May 12 at 5:00 PM.
Lady Leopards Pound Out 17 Hits
The Lady Leopards pounded out 18 runs on 17 hits in just four innings of batting. Freshman shortstop Matti Benson went 4-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and scored 3 runs. Sophomore second baseman Shelby Mayle and senior first baseman Lauren Stillwagon also batted a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. Mayle hit a 2-run double in the second inning and also scored a pair of runs. Stillwagon’s 2-run single in the bottom of the first put Louisville on the board and kickstarted the LHS offensive onslaught.
Louisville Scores 7 in Opening Inning
The Lady Leopards batted around the lineup in scoring 7 runs in the opening frame. Junior catcher Kat Frase walked with the bases loaded to bring home junior designated hitter Jenna Collins for the first of her three runs scored on the evening. With the bases still loaded, freshman right fielder Brooke Haren hit a fly ball to right center field that dropped for a rare 3-run single to put LHS in front 6-0. Haren stole second then came home on Benson’s double to left field after that.
Ensley Shuts Down Bulldogs to Earn 9th Win
While the Louisville bats lit up the scoreboard, starting pitcher Cloie Ensley kept the McKinley bats silent. After giving up a lead-off single to third baseman Gracie Plottner to start the second inning, Ensley struck out the next three batters consecutively to end the frame.
Ensley would go on to earn her 9th victory of the season. She pitched 4 innings, surrendered only 1 run on 6 hits, and struck out 4 before giving way to sophomore pitcher Kendra Thomas in the fifth inning.
Nolte Homers to Start 5-Run 2nd Inning
The Lady Leopards picked up right where they left off to begin the bottom of the second. Senior centerfielder Kaylee Nolte crushed a 1-1 pitch well over the left field fence to put Louisville in front 8-0. The solo shot would be the only dinger of the contest as LHS has now hit 21 home runs this season. For Nolte, it was her 4th of the year and 8th for her career.
The Lady Leopards took advantage of a series of Bulldog hiccups later on in the inning. Junior left fielder Katie Porter was hit by a pitch. Then freshman third baseman Kenzi Denzer hit a deep fly ball to right field that should have been caught but landed instead to bring home Collins from second. Mayle made McKinley pay for both mistakes by driving home Porter and Denzer on her double to center. Mayle then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored after Frase drew a throw down to first on a dropped third strike. 12-0 LHS at the end of the second.
McKinley Breaks Up Shutout
The Lady Bulldogs broke the shutout in the top of the third. Catcher Eliana Shaheen delivered McKinley’s only extra base-hit of the contest with an RBI double to center field that scored pitcher/shortstop Ava Brown.
Brown would score again via right fielder BrookLynn Barrett’s RBI single in the top of the fifth that cut the LHS deficit to 18-2. Both Barrett and Brown finished 2-for-3 a the plate to lead Canton McKinley.
Louisville Extends Their Advantage
Louisville would scratch out two more runs in the third to pull ahead 14-1 before the inning ended with the bases loaded. Stillwagon, Denzer, and second baseman MaKenzie Miller all recorded RBI singles in the fourth to extend the Leopard advantage to 18-1.
Leopards Vs. Bulldogs Softball Series
This was the first meeting between Louisville and Canton McKinley in softball since 2012. With the victory, the Lady Leopards have now defeated the Lady Bulldogs in their last 6 matchups and 11 of the last 12 overall dating back to 2003. Louisville now holds a 21-9 record against McKinley all-time, which includes a 10-3 record in games played at home. The Lady Bulldogs still hold a 3-2 edge over LHS in the postseason.
Eight Straight Ain’t It Great?
The Lady Leopards have now won a team record 8 consecutive tournament games dating back to the beginning of their state championship run against Akron Ellet in 2019. Louisville is now 42-34 all-time in the postseason which includes a 21-4 record in tournament games played at home and a 29-23 record against division I foes in postseason play.
UP NEXT: The #17 Seed Louisville Leopards Softball Team will next travel to take on the host #6 Seed Green Bulldogs on Wednesday, May 12 at 5:00 PM in the DI Massillon Sectional Finals.
VARSITY SOFTBALL BOX SCORE
LEOPARDS 18, LEOPARDS 2, 5 INNINGS
CANTON MCKINLEY BULLDOGS SOFTBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
CANTON MCKINLEY BULLDOGS SOFTBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS SOFTBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS SOFTBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
Records: Louisville 13-11, Canton McKinley 6-14