Ross runs past Edgewood for postseason softball victory

ROSS TWP. — Paige Baker made sure she was on her game, just like she had been the last couple of outings inside the pitcher’s circle.

The Ross High School freshman hurled herself another gem while getting plenty of run support Monday night.

Baker had 10 strikeouts, surrendering just one hit after the first inning, and the No. 12 Rams beat the No. 26 Edgewood Cougars 11-1 in a Division I postseason opener.

“Oh my gosh. I mean, what do you say? She was on again tonight,” Ross coach Christi Luckett said of Baker. “I think she is one strikeout away from 100 this season.

“I sent her a text today, and I said, ‘What play list are you listening to?’” Luckett added. “Just to see if I can get her zoned in. She told me, and I was like, ‘All right, just making sure you were in the zone.’ She was like, ‘I’m ready to go. I’m ready to go.’

“I’m not saying (the playlist) is coach approved, I’m just saying it pumps her up. So, whatever you’ve got to do.”

The Rams (14-8) move on to host No. 17 Loveland at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8. Ross beat Edgewood 10-0 on April 14, and then came back the following day with a 5-3 win over the Cougars.

“We’ve played this team twice, and we have beaten them both times,” Baker said. “But I’d say they’re one of our bigger competitors in the league. So, for one, we were playing a team in our conference — a little nerve racking. And two, we already beat them twice, and it’s hard to beat them three times. But we did it.”

The Cougars (10-16) have lost 10 straight to their Butler County rival. The last time Edgewood beat Ross was on April 20, 2021, in a 9-6 contest.

“It’s one of those things where when everything was going good, it was going really good,” Cougars coach Wayne Henson said. “And when it wasn’t, it was kind of hit or miss, offense or defense. You can’t have them both at the same time.

“Sometimes when we got on the bus, I could tell kind of how it was going to go just from the bus ride. Sometimes it felt great, sometimes it didn’t. We’re really close. We’re really, really close. I feel like we came a long way from the beginning of the season. The girls improved. We had to battle back from a few games that showed them that we could do that.”

The Cougars started the scoring off Monday, though. Madison Ferrell led the game off with a single and scored on a two-out base-hit by Kaylynn Spencer.

Ross quickly bounced back in the bottom of the first with three runs highlighted by Myrissa Combs’ RBI double that gave her 41 career doubles. She passed Ashley Shelton on the school’s all-time doubles list.

Combs, the Rams’ lone senior, celebrated her night with two doubles and then immediately leaving the game to attend EMT graduation.

“It’s been an interesting day,” Combs said. “I get to graduate from EMT school, officially an EMT, and then winning this is fantastic. Winning the doubles on top of it is super ecstatic for my senior year.

“My four years have been incredible,” Combs added. “I’m so lucky to be coached by Christi. She has been amazing these past three years — just helping us by having our back and everything. It’s just the best four years.

“Ever since Friday, we’ve just been on top of it and aggressive. We’ve just been going at it, coming out, fired up ready to play, ready to win.”

The Ross offense eventually produced, and Baker gradually heated up. A five-run fifth and a three-run sixth sealed it.

“I don’t really throw a lot of off-speed,” Baker said. “The main stuff I throw is spin. So, my rising curve and my curve ball is good. Just moving the ball a lot.

“As a team, especially coming out in the first inning 3-1, that kind of builds you up and gives you confidence on the mound. And then, once we were getting comfortable and we were hitting as well, but then as soon as we started hitting, it just kind of gave me that boost.”

Baker (3 for 3), Aurora Wallace (2 for 4, two runs, two RBI), Joslyn Crowley (2 for 4) and Kam Commins (1 for 4, three RBI) also contributed at the plate for Ross.

Spencer (single, two walks) reached base on all three of her plate appearances for Edgewood, while Ferrell and Evelyn Henson had singles. 

Cougars starter Leigha Combs went four innings, surrendering six runs on eight hits. Jaycie Broshear came in on relief.

“Obviously, we got run-ruled, but it still felt like a closer game,” Henson said. “They’ve owned us all year. This was during the draw the closest place to play. We really didn’t want to play a conference team. … But it was the best spot for us to come here. We had already played them twice. We knew each other. Thought this was the obvious choice in the bracket of where to choose to come and play.

“But they got our number,” Henson added. “We came close the second time with them. We left a couple people on base. Timely hit here or there would have been different last game. They just come off a few losses and a big win. They were pumped up and ready to go.

“I liked the way our dugout was for most of the game. That’s something that we’ve struggled with during the season was the dugout energy and all of that. I felt like we kept that for most of the game. Once you get through a lineup several times, players start seeing the pitching and things like that. I know their pitching is young also, but we’re pitching a freshman and sophomore also. They’re still learning. Overall, I’d still consider us pretty young.”

Edgewood graduates seniors Kaylynn Spencer, Graci Halsey, Brya Mayhalo, Rylee Bryant and Morgan Banks.

“Started off the season, preseason very optimistic about this group of girls,” Henson said. “I had high standards for them, and I’m going to keep those. I think we’re going to get there. Hopefully, they remember this feeling.”

The Latest

To Top