Junior Ellie Snep of Whitko takes a big windup to the plate during Thursday evening's sectional championship game against Oak Hill. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Junior Ellie Snep of Whitko takes a big windup to the plate during Thursday evening's sectional championship game against Oak Hill. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
CONVERSE – From freshmen Augusta Garr and Madison Smith, to seniors Anna Ousley and Reannon Hopkins, the Whitko Lady Wildcats were all smiles following Thursday’s Class 2A softball sectional final at Oak Hill High School.

And for good reason, as they went from having their backs against the wall early in the game to winning back-to-back sectional titles for the first time in program history.

In an 8-4 win over win over the host Lady Eagles, Whitko overcame a shaky start and 2-0 first-inning deficit, and later turned a 4-3 lead into a five-run advantage with a big seventh inning.

Now 20-7 on the season, Whitko will host Western Boone in a one-game regional Tuesday.

“This means the world. We just went out there and played our game,” said Ousley, whose RBI single tied the game 2-2 in the third inning.

“It was our goal at the beginning of the year to repeat, and to fight back the way we did tonight is amazing.”

Oak Hill got to Whitko pitcher Ellie Snep early, tagging her for three hits and two runs in the first inning.

Snep settled down, however, and gave up just five hits and two runs over the next six innings.

“I came in nervous, and I just needed to settle down,” said Snep. “My team, I knew they had my back, and they picked me up.”

Oak Hill took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but Whitko regained the lead with two runs in the fifth and built a five-run cushion with four runs in the seventh.

Oak Hill scored once in the seventh inning, but didn’t threaten otherwise.

Whitko’s six runs in the fifth and seventh innings were a big story in the game.

The Lady Wildcats sent 17 batters to the plate in those two frames, but only had three hits en route to the six runs.

Oak Hill committed errors in the field, issued walks, and hit Hopkins with a pitch, and Whitko capitalized.

“We capitalized on some situations,” said Whitko coach Michele Garr. “We told them ‘we’ve got to take advantage when someone makes a mistake, and we’ve got to be aggressive on the bases.’

“We did that, and it was big tonight.”

The Lady Wildcats pounded out 11 hits in the win and were led offensively by freshman Augusta Garr, who hit a triple and two singles.

“It was a fight. I just try to pick up my teammates, and we’re so connected,” said the younger Garr. “This is just really exciting. I feel really blessed.”

Smith hit two doubles in the win, while Hopkins had two hits, including a double.

Freshman Harley Bradley, juniors Emalee Duggins and Shi Bradley, and Ousley all hit a single.

Of Oak Hill’s six hits off Snep, four were extra-base hits.

Sophomores Ella Ridgeway and Coleena Selleck, junior Kaela Robey, and senior Kristin Dubois all hit doubles for the Lady Eagles.

Senior Bayli Toy was charged with the loss in the circle after giving up 11 hits and six runs. She walked five and struck out three in 6-1/3 innings, which came in two appearances Thursday.

Toy pitched the first four innings and was replaced by freshman Julianne Gosnell, who inherited a 3-2 lead.

It was Gosnell that was in the pitcher’s circle when Whitko capitalized on the Lady Eagles’ fifth-inning blunders.

Gosnell struck out two and didn’t give up a hit in the 2/3 of an inning that she worked, but she walked two of the six batters she faced and her defense committed two costly errors.

With a win over Western Boone on Tuesday, Whitko would advance to the semistate for just the second time in program history, but for the second time in as many years.

To say the Lady Wildcats are excited about hosting the regional would be an understatement.

“It’s huge,” Michele Garr said of the regional game being played in South Whitley. “It’s awesome for our program to host the regional. It’ll be exciting to bring people to Whitko. It’ll be neat.”

Tuesday’s winner will advance to the four-team semistate that will be played at Newton Park in Lakeville on June 2.


W    011    020    4    –    8

OK    201    000    1    –    4

Whitko – Ellie Snep (W, 7IP, 8H, 4R, 6K, 3BB)

Oak Hill – Bayli Toy (L, 6.1IP, 11H, 6R, 3K, 5BB), Julianne Gosnell (.2IP, 0H, 2R, 2K, 2BB)

2B – Madison Smith (W) 2, Coleena Selleck (OH), Kristin Dubois (OH), Kaela Robey (OH), Ella Ridgeway (OH)

3B – Augusta Garr

Records: Whitko 20-7, Oak Hill 18-11