Last year was a breakout season for Lebanon High School softball. As the wins mounted, so did the pinch-me giddiness that accompanies a historic run.
This season? The Warriors used workman-like play to win their final game.
Lebanon passed yet another postseason test in its march to achieve that goal on Wednesday, overcoming mistake-prone Colerain 4-1 at Northmont in a Division I regional semifinal.
“I knew that we had to be serious and get our work done,” said winning pitcher Kim Frank (20-2), who scattered three hits and struck out three.
“I knew that we could do it. We have the best team off the field and we work so well together. I knew that we could pull it off.”
The Warriors (26-2) are driven to one-up their 2012 state runner-up status. On deck is the Northmont/Mason winner in today’s other semifinal that has been moved to the University of Dayton.
If Northmont wins, Saturday’s noon regional final will be at UD. If Mason wins, it’ll be at host site Northmont.
Any preference which team Lebanon might play?
“They’re both great; pick your poison,” assured Lebanon coach Brian Kindell.
Lebanon lost to Mason 2-1 in the regular season and beat Northmont 6-1.
Kaitlyn Bergman pounded a run-scoring double to get Lebanon on the board in the first inning. Single unearned runs were added in the second, fifth and sixth innings to close out the Greater Miami Conference rep Cardinals’ season (20-10).
“To be honest, we beat ourselves,” Colerain coach Sarah Billstrom said. “That team didn’t beat us.”
Lebanon’s Sam Showalter doubled off the fence. Showalter and Brianna Hutchinson each had two hits for the Warriors (26-2), who have mounted an 11-game win streak and made a loser of Ashlynn Roberts (18-9).
Frank shut down Colerain late by pounding the strike zone with heaters and rise balls. She allowed just one base runner over the final four innings, setting the Cardinals down in order in the fourth, fifth and seventh.
That typified another clutch and businesslike effort from the Warriors.
“We’ve set our goals extremely high,” Kindell said. “It’s a daily fight to get better. We know that we’re capable of achieving, but it’s a daily battle.”