Benson Walk-Off Moon Shot Lifts Leopards Past Comets in Sectional – Softball

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#15 Louisville 5, #21 Solon 4

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Jenny Can Cleaning AdThe #15 seed Louisville Leopards Varsity Softball Team rallied to defeat the #21 seed Solon Comets 5-4 Monday Evening at West Main Vet Clinic Field. With the victory, Louisville improves to 10-11 on the season and advances to play the #7 seed Archbishop Hoban Knights at Akron in the DI Massillon Sectional Finals on Wednesday, May 10 at 5:00 PM.

Box Score

Benson Blasts Walk-Off 2-Run Homer

The Lady Leopards trailed 4-3 heading into the last of the seventh. Freshman pitcher Anna Sirohman fouled off a pair of 1-2 pitches before rocketing a line drive single into center field.

With the tying run on first, junior shortstop Matti Benson stepped up to the plate. However, the Maryland commit had bigger plans. Benson skyrocketed a 1-1 pitch over the trees beyond the left center field fence for a walk-off 2-run homer to send Louisville to the sectional finals for the 14th consecutive season.

My Fit Life Personal Trainer Side AdBenson rounded third and high-fived her exhilarated Head Coach Kristen Miller. Benson’s excited teammates mobbed her at the plate expressing their congratulations.

The home run was Benson’s eighth of the season and 27th for her varsity career. While there have been many clutch home runs and other hits, this is just the second walk-off homer in Louisville Softball Tournament History. The only other tournament walk-off dinger in team history came when Alex Fankhauser hit a walk-off grand slam against Lake in the 2018 DI Massillon District Semifinals. 

Stage is Set in Sixth Inning

Lingenhoel Group - Arden and Lisa Lingenhoel - Cutler Real Estate AdThe climatic ending was setup by two key plays in the sixth inning. The first play came in the top of the sixth when the Comets threatened with runners on second and third, and just one out. Junior shortstop Alexis Earle grounded to Sirohman in the circle. Sirohman threw home to freshman catcher Addy Campbell, who tagged out sophomore left fielder Ali Palsa while she was attempting to score. Junior center fielder Janie Radis flied out to junior center fielder Brooke Haren on the next pitch. Instead of a 5-3 Solon lead, the Leopards stayed to within a single run of SHS.

In the bottom half of the sixth inning, sophomore right fielder Chay Cline singled on a hard ground ball to right field and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Maggie Baker. After another out, Louisville returned to the top of the lineup. Sirohman took a pitch and Baker attempted to steal second. She was thrown out by junior catcher Sophie Desatnik with the tag applied by Earle at shortstop. 

Equitable Advisors - Bryce MathieThe play was somewhat reminiscent of the 2019 regional championship game between the Leopards and Comets. Kailee Grimm hit a double in the opening inning and Solon looked to grab the early momentum. But Lady Leopards catcher Kaycee Ollis threw a rope to shortstop Teagan Rice who tagged out Grimm after she was caught leading too far off second base. Louisville seized the momentum right back and rode it to a regional title and eventually state championship.

It looked like the Lady Comets had turned the tables on the Lady Leopards and seized all the momentum with the play. But the play only set the stage for Louisville to lead-off the seventh at the top of the lineup with a fresh set of outs to work with. Sirohman got aboard and Benson hit a 2-run jack. Game, set, match.

Comets Make Early Impact

Solon struck early with 3 runs in the opening inning. The Comets effectively executed small ball using multiple bunts, took advantage of a pair of Leopard errors, and recorded a timely 2-out hit to build their advantage.

Palsa got aboard via a bunt single after beating out the throw to first. Back-to-back errors by Louisville allowed Palsa to put Solon on the board first. Four batters later, sophomore pitcher Kassidy Samuelraj helped her own cause with a bases loaded, 2-out, 2-run single to right field scoring Earle from third and Radis from second to give the Comets a 3-0 cushion.

Leopards Rally Capped By Denzer Homer

The Lady Leopards rallied back in the bottom of the third with a 3-spot of their own. Sirohman led off with a single and Benson doubled to center field to put both runners in scoring position. Campbell drove in Sirohman on a ground out to short to remove the goose egg from the Louisville side of the scoreboard. Then senior designated hitter Shelby Mayle knocked home Benson on a groundout to third to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Junior third baseman Kenzi Denzer followed with a 2-out, game-tying solo homer that narrowly cleared the fence in center field. The hit was Denzer’s third round tripper of the season and eighth of her varsity career. The game remained tied through the end of the third.

Solon Recaptures Lead in 4th

Solon recaptured the lead in the fourth inning with a three straight 2-out singles. Freshman right fielder Elliana Berkowitz and Palsa each singled to center to put runners on first and second. Then senior third baseman Rebecca Hurst singled on a line drive to right field that brought Berkowitz to the plate for the go ahead run making it 4-3 Comets.

The result could have been even more devastating for Louisville had Palsa tried to also advance home on the play. The throw to the infield rolled into no man’s land and Palsa would have likely scored if she had not stayed put at third. Earle popped out to junior first baseman Katie Heath in the next at-bat to end the inning and keep the Leopard deficit at one run.

Sirohman Fans 10 in 1st Tournament Win

Sirohman held Solon in check the rest of the way pitching 3 scoreless innings and retiring the final 5 Comet hitters she faced. Sirohman would pitch a 7 inning complete game, allowing only 1 earned run on 8 hits, walking a batter, and striking out 10.

Sirohman also retired the side in order in both the third and seventh innings during her quest for her first tournament win in the circle.

Palsa Leads Comets with 3 Hits

Palsa finished 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Solon. Hurst also had a multi-hit performance going 2-for-3 at the dish.

Eight different Louisville hitters registered hits as the Leopards out-hit the Comets 11-8 for the game. Benson, Denzer, and Sirohman all tallied 2 hits each for LHS.

Louisville is now 2-1 against Solon all-time. The Lady Leopards are 1-1 at home against the Comets falling to them 7-6 during a regular season game in 2013. Louisville is now 2-0 against Solon in tournament play as they also edged them 2-1 in the 2019 DI Akron Regional Championship played at Lee R. Jackson Field. 

<<< Previous 2019 | Solon All-Time Series

Louisville’s Tournament Dominance at Home

The Lady Leopards have now won 19 consecutive home tournament games dating back to 2001. Louisville fell to 3-4 in home tournament games when they last lost at home in the postseason to eventual state champion North Canton Hoover 10-1 on May 12, 1999. The Lady Leopards are now 22-4 at home all-time, which includes a 20-2 record in tournament games played at the Diamond of Dreams/West Main Vet Clinic Field.

Monday marked the 80th postseason game in Louisville softball team history. The Lady Leopards are now 44-36 all-time in tournament play, which includes a 31-25 record when playing in Division I. 

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Cover Photo By The Louisville Herald

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Solon at Louisville Softball Box Score


Team 123-456-7–R-H-E

Solon 300-100-0–4-8-0

Louisville 003-000-2–5-11-4


A Palsa (LF) 4 1 3 0 0 0
B Hurst (3B) 3 0 2 1 0 1
A Earle (SS) 4 1 0 0 0 0
J Radis (CF) 4 1 0 0 0 0
A Gerome (2B) 3 0 1 0 0 1
G Gerhard (1B) 4 0 0 0 0 2
K Samuelraj (P) 3 0 1 2 1 2
J Kotwani 2 0 0 0 0 2
—R Valentino 1 0 0 0 0 0
E Berkowitz (RF) 3 1 1 0 0 2
TEAM 31 4 8 3 1 10

TB: A Palsa 3, K Samuelraj 1, A Gerome 1, B Hurst 2, E Berkowitz 1


K Samuelraj 6.0 11 5 5 1 4
TEAM 6.0 11 5 5 1 4

WP: K Samuelraj
Pitches-Strikes: K Samuelraj 124-81
Batters Faced: K Samuelraj 29


A Sirohman (P) 4 2 2 0 0 0
M Benson (SS) 4 2 2 2 0 0
A Campbell (C) 2 0 0 1 1 0
S Mayle 3 0 1 1 0 0
K Denzer (3B) 3 1 2 1 0 0
B Haren (CF) 3 0 1 0 0 2
K Twinem (2B) 3 0 1 0 0 0
C Cline (RF) 3 0 1 0 0 2
—M Baker (RF) 0 0 0 0 0 0
K Heath (1B) 3 0 1 0 0 0
TEAM 28 5 11 5 1 4

2B: M Benson
HR: M Benson, K Denzer
TB: S Mayle 1, K Heath 1, M Benson 6, A Sirohman 2, K Twinem 1, C Cline 1, B Haren 1, K Denzer 5
SB: A Sirohman
CS: M Baker
E: M Benson, A Sirohman, K Twinem, K Denzer


A Sirohman(W) 7.0 8 4 1 1 4
TEAM 7.0 8 4 1 1 4

Pitches-Strikes: A Sirohman 112-78
Batters Faced: A Sirohman 34

Records: Louisville 10-11

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