Today's 5 p.m. battle for the Division I district softball title at Maumee's Rolf Park will be the Battle of Sylvania.
Southview assured that last night, beating St. Ursula 6-0 in a district semifinal at Rolf Park behind a balanced hitting attack and the four-hit pitching of sophomore Olivia O'Reilly.
In-town rival Northview had already advanced by edging Whitmer 6-5 in a Tuesday semifinal.
"As a coach, you love those games where everything seems to come together," Southview's Ryan DeMars said. "We got the hitting we needed, we got the defense, and the pitching performance was just outstanding.
Southview's Shelby Schuster steals second base as St. Ursula shortstop Tori Allen can't come up with the throw in the third inning. Schuster later scored to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
"Olivia gave us every opportunity to win, and the defense stepped up and made plays. Even when we had a little letdown, we made a good defensive play to make up for it. That was great," DeMars said.
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The Cougars (16-9) got all the scoring they would need in the second inning when Carly Damman singled leading off, moved up on Paige Borgman's sacrifice bunt and scored on Amber Dunlap's single to left.
Dunlap, the game's hitting leader at 3-for-3, adding a single in the fourth and a double in the sixth.
Southview made it 2-0 in the third, with Shelby Schuster singling to lead off, stealing second and scoring when Arrows (20-6) shortstop Tori Allen failed to glove O'Reilly's sharp grounder. Schuster likely created that run en route to third by crossing in front of Allen's sightline on the grounder.
"The first couple innings were a little wild, but then I kind of hunkered down and got done what I needed to do," O'Reilly said. "My curveball was working well, and that was a good asset to have today.
"Those first two runs we scored really put me in a comfort zone, and the rest were just padding, I guess."
The Cougars blew things open in the fifth. Schuster and sister Amanda each singled and scored on O'Reilly's triple to the gap in right-center. Courtesy runner Allison Yang dashed home when St. Ursula catcher Katie Trausch dropped a third strike and threw to first to retire Damman.
Dunlap's double led off the sixth, and she eventually scored on a wild pitch by Arrows reliever Grace Ammons. St. Ursula starter Lydia Loy took the loss.
O'Reilly did the rest, striking out 11 batters. Southview second baseman Tejal Parikh helped preserve the shutout by snaring Allen's soft liner toward the middle to end the third inning, stranding Julia Mouch on second.
"We just didn't play very well the last two weeks of the season," Arrows coach Frank Zalewski said. "I don't know what the reason was, because we've got some good hitters. But we didn't hit for two weeks, and we made too many errors. When you don't hit and you don't play defense, you don't win many games."
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