Momentum can be both positive and negative and Oblong High School's softball team experienced both in the same game Wednesday (May 22).
The Lady Panthers were in control for most of their IHSA Class 1A Sectional semifinal against Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran, but nine runs over a two-inning span swung the momentum to the other side and a late comeback attempt was not enough, as Oblong dropped a 9-8 decision.
Oblong grabbed control early, as a pair of walks and a two-run double by Nyah Laino gave the Lady Panthers a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
The score remained that way until the top of the fifth, when Oblong rallied for four more runs. Aireka Burke started the rally with a one-out single, then Abbie Dart reached on a fielder's choice and Kara Reider reached on a bunt to load the bases. Two batters later, Laino delivered a two-run singled to make the score 4-0, then after a walk to Harley Harrison loaded the bases, Macie Stephens singled home a pair of runs to give OHS a 6-0 lead.
However, the wheels started to come off in the bottom of the inning. A walk, a single and an error led to a run and a double plated two more, making the score 6-3. Two batters later, a three-run home run by CORL's Brianna French tied the game at 6-6.
CORL then tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-6 lead, but Oblong would rally in their final at-bat. Kenzi McIntosh led off the top of the seventh with a single, then Harrison singled with one out and advanced to second on the throw to third. Following a strikeout, Hannah Meese kept Oblong's hopes alive with a two-run single and moved to second on an error, putting the tying run in scoring positions. However, Meese was stranded there to bring the season to an end for the Lady Panthers.
Laino led the offense for OHS with a double, a single, four runs batted in and a run scored, while Meese singled twice and knocked in a pair of runs. Stephens posted a base hit and two runs batted in, Burke and Reider each singled and scored a pair of runs and Dart, McIntosh and Harrison added a base hit and a run scored apiece.
Jenna Bailey was tagged with the loss on the mound, allowing nine runs (five earned) on seven hits, while walking five and striking out six in five and one-third innings. Allison Miller recorded a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning in relief.
With the win, Centralia CORL advances to the title game, where they will face the winner of today's semifinal between Red Hill and Marissa Saturday at 11 a.m.