PDT Sports Editor
Minford defeated Oak Hill 10-2 Wednesday to claim its first SOC II regular season championship since 1996.
Junior sensation Kelsey Conkey led the Falcons’ attack at the plate and on the mound. Conkey went 2-for-4 with a run batted in to close out her season. On the mound, Conkey improved her record to 16-5 while striking out 14 Oaks batters and allowing one hit.
Oak Hill led through five innings before Minford took the lead for good in the top of the sixth. With two outs in the inning, Tressa Carter reached base on a fielding error, which allowed Jordyn Pennington to score from third base to tie the game a two apiece. Sarah Shumway preceded the error with the game-winning RBI. After a pitching change by the Oaks, the Falcons tallied seven more runs to open the gap.
“At the beginning of the year, we wanted to win the SOC II championship,” Minford Head Coach Preston Messer said. “We wanted to win the tournament championship, which we are banned from this year, but we will be ready next season.”
Minford finished the season with a 17-5 record but was excused from any postseason tournaments by the OHSAA. The team traveled to Mrytle Beach, S.C. to play exhibition games before the regular season got underway.
The OHSAA determined the trip — which the school categorized as scrimmages prior to opening day in the state of Ohio — to be counted as regular season games and therefore, a direct violation of OHSAA rules and regulations.
Four starters, Conkey, Pennington, Abby Fuhrmann and Haley Johnson, will be returning for their senior campaigns. Add sophomore Ali Allen and Freshman Katie Grose to the mix and Minford is poised to face similar success in 2014.
“We are looking to repeat next year,” Messer said. “We have a great team.”
Assistant coach Jason Allen replaced Messer who is serving a seven game suspension as part of the OHSAA sanctions.
“I want to thank Jason Allen, Scott Conkey and John Carter for moving the program forward in my absence,” Messer said.
Messer has also been getting support from Diane and Rick Daniels who led the Falcons to their last championship in 1996.
“I want to thank Diane and Rick for their support during this time,” Messer said.
The Falcons lose one starter, Elizabeth Brisker, to graduation.
Minford — 100 004 5 — 10 9 2
Oak Hill — 001 100 0 — 2 1 5
Minford — Conkey 2-4 (RBI), Shumway 2-4, Allen 1-4, Pennington 1-3 (2B, RBI), Fuhrmann 1-3 (RBI), Carter 1-3 (RBI), Grose 1-3 (3B, 2 RBI)
Oak Hill — Kuhn 1-2
W — Conkey (16-5) CG, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 14 K, 4 BB
L — Kuhn (N/A) 5 2/3 IP 4 H, 3 R, 5 K, 2 BB
Records — 17-5 (12-2), Oak Hill N/A
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Chris on Twitter @crslone.