Lakota West senior pitcher Alex Caudill allowed three hits and one walk while shutting out Glen Este by the score of 2-0 in the regional semifinal on Wednesday, May 25.
Earlier in the season, Glen Este blew out the Firebirds in five innings by the score of 11-0. That game, however, was played without Caudill, who will continue her pitching career at Northern Kentucky University. At the time, Caudill was out after suffering a thigh injury.
Glen Este also did not use its ace in the regular season game. Senior Kelley Benhase, who will also attend NKU, came into Wednesday’s game with an 18-2 record, 240 strikeouts in 133.1 innings and a 0.47 earned run average.
Cincinnati.com reporter Chris DeLotell covered the game:
“I was worried about that (match-up),” Caudill said. “I knew whoever scored one run was probably going to win the game.”
West manufactured the winning run in the third inning. Alyssa Hedric led off with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball, and moved to third on a one-out single by Bekah Werth. Caudill then drove a fly ball deep enough into right field that Hedric was able to score.
West coach Keith Castner credited the early lead with helping his players relax.
“It makes you feel good,” Castner said. “At the same time, it helps the girls to know they need to up their game a little bit more also.”
Caudill’s dominance made the advantage stand up. The senior struck out seven and faced only one hitter above the minimum through the first six innings.
“She had a good day today,” said Glen Este coach Tim Gregory. “She was on. She had her speed, and she hit her spots.”
Caudill received solid support from her defense. West made 14 putouts without an error, including a pivotal double play in the sixth. After a one-out single by Amanda Harrison, leadoff hitter Kaylin Steinmetz slapped a hard grounder up the middle.
Shortstop Madison Bridges ranged to her left, scooped the ball, tagged second, and threw to first.
“That was big-time for Maddie,” Castner said. “She’s a freshman, and she came up big on that play. That right there is going to help her confidence.”
Lakota West (20-4) is in position to play in the regional final against the winner of today’s regional semifinal game between Lakota East (27-2) and Wayne (16-10 overall). There is a possibility that today’s Lakota East regional semifinal game at Mason High School at 5 p.m. will be postponed due to rain.
The Firebirds are the only team to defeat Lakota East this season. Lakota West defeated the Thunderhawks by the score of 2-0 in late March and by the score of 2-0 in early May.
For more on Lakota West’s win against Glen Este, visit Cincinnati.com’s story “West’s Caudill outduels Benhase.”