LIBERTY TWP. — Northmont pitcher Whitney Fielder limited Cincinnati Oak Hills to six hits Monday and went 2 for 3 at the plate to help lead the Lady Bolts to a 3-1 district softball victory over the Highlanders.
By capturing the district crown Northmont improves to 27-3 overall while Oak Hills ends it season at 20-8. The Lady Bolts now advance to regional play Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Centerville vs Mason, which is currently 24-2.
Against Oak Hill the Lady Bolts took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Cory Mangen singled and Taylor Hoover reached on a fielder’s choice with Mangen being thrown out at second. Fiedler followed with a single to left with Hoover advancing to second. Mallory Woods doubled to left center to score Hoover to give Northmont an early one run lead.
The Highlanders threatened in the home half of the first when Fiedler beaned lead-off hitter Kiki Murrell. Dez Bolden came in to pinch run. Lauren Hurley advanced Bolden to second with a sacrifice bunt and Maria Kurre laid down another bunt, but Bolden made a fatal base running mistake. Fiedler pounced on Kurre’s bunt, fired to Woods at first for the out and Woods rifled a throw to Cory Mangen at third to catch Bolden off the bag between home and third. Mangen tagged Bolden out to complete the double play as she tried to dive back to third to end the Oak Hills scoring threat.
Oak Hills knotted the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. Lead-off hitter Taylor Wilp reached base on an error with a hard smash down the first base line that Woods couldn’t handle. Woods got her glove on the ball but also hit the first base bag at the same time which allowed the ball to squirt into shallow right field. Andrea Gahan ripped a double down the left field line to score Wilp all the way from first.
The Highlanders threatened again in the bottom of the fifth but the Lady Bolts came up with another big double play. Kurre led off with a bunt single and Kelsey Eads got hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Alexis Elliot tried to lay down a bunt but hit the ball to Fiedler who caught the ball in the air. She immediately turned and fired to Woods at first to catch Eads off the bag for a double play. Wilp popped up to second to end the inning.
Northmont took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning. With one out Anna Mangen doubled to the fence in left center. Courtney Jasinski grounded out to third with Mangen advancing to third on the throw to first. Mangen scored when the Oak Hills catcher tried to pick her off third. The throw sailed into left field with Mangen racing home with the go-ahead run. Cory Mangen and Taylor Hoover hit back-to-back two out singles to left but Fiedler popped up to second to end Lady Bolts threat.
“That was just good reaction by Anna,” said Northmont Coach Kris Mangen. “Those are the plays that you can’t tell a kid what to do. They just need to see it and react to the situation. Cory would have driven her in with her single, but Anna’s lead-off double was big and then Jasinski advanced her to third. I don’t know how many innings we had runners in scoring position. We were making contact but we hit the ball right at them, but we were able to string a couple of hits together and put some runs across the plate.”
Oak Hills got a back-to-back two out singles in the bottom of the sixth by Murrell and Hurley but Kurre grounded to Cory Mangen at third. Mangen stepped on the bag for the force out to end the inning.
“Defensively we played solid and Whitney pitched well,” Mangen said. “We told Whitney it was all about her hitting her spots and she came through.”
The Lady Bolts tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Woods led off with an infield hit with Sydney McGilton coming in to pinch run. Erin Mangen reached first on a bunt to put runners at first and second. Emily Ritchie advanced both runners with a ground out to deep second. Lizzie Ritchie laid down a sacrifice bunt to score McGilton from third to put Northmont up 3-1.
“We needed that extra security run for sure,” Mangen added. “When it was 2-1 it was stressful and even at 3-1 it was stressful but a little bit better.”
Fiedler retired Oak Hills in order in the bottom of the seventh with a strikeout, a fly ball to right and capped the win by throwing the last batter out at first. Fiedler pitched 7 innings, scattered six hits, hit two batters and had one unearned run.
Northmont generated a total of 12 hits. Fiedler went 2 for 3, Hoover 2 for 4 with one run, Cory Mangen 2 for 4, Woods 2 for 4 with a double and one RBI, Erin Mangen 1 for 3, Lizzie Ritchie 1 for 2, Anna Mangen 1 for 3 with a double and one run, and Jasinski went 1 for 4.
NMT 100 001 1 – 3 12 1
OAK 000 100 0 – 1 06 2
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind