CAMBRIDGE - The formula for a Fort Frye Lady Cadet softball win this spring has been very consistent.
Play good defense, come up with a timely hit or two, and give the ball to Victoria Mimken.
That formula has worked to perfection for head coach Barb Sleek and the Lady Cadets all season long and it worked once again Friday night at Cambridge City Park as the Lady Cadets downed the Lady Braves (13-10) of Indian Valley 5-1 to claim a sectional championship.
MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times
Fort Frye’s Lexi Huck (3) dives safely back to first base as Indian Valley tries to pick her off during softball action in Cambridge Friday. The Cadets won 5-1.
MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times
Fort Frye’s Courtney Hendershot bunts for a hit against Indian Valley during softball action in Cambridge Friday. The Cadets won 5-1.
Mimken allowed an unearned run in the first inning and then held the Lady Braves in check the rest of the way on just one more base hit as the Fort increased its winning streak to 23 games.
"I've always said that Tori (Mimken) has a tendency to get stronger and stronger as the game goes on," said Sleek, the long time Lady Cadet head coach. "She kind of figures out what she wants to do and where she wants the ball to go and her best innings are normally the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh."
Both teams scored unearned runs in the opening frame as the Lady Cadets' lead off hitter Courtney Hendershot singled and eventually came around to score on a Lady Brave error to make it 1-0.
FORT FRYE 5 INDIAN VALLEY 1
Sectional Final at Cambridge City Park
Fort Frye 104 000 0 5-8-1
Indian Valley 100 000 0 1-2-4
WP: Victoria Mimken 7IP, 2H, R, 0ER, BB, 9K.
LP: Kelsie Kochman 4IP, 6H, 5R, 2ER, 3K, Amanda Jones 3IP, 2H, BB, 4K.
Fort Fyre (23-0)
Courtney Hendershot 3-4, 2R, Lexi Huck 1-4, R, RBI, Hali Lemasters 1-4, RBI, Tori Hendershot 0-0 R, Mimken 1-3, 2RBI, Megan Liedtke 1-3, 2B.
Indian Valley (13-10)
Riley Wire 1-3, R, 2B, Katie Shamel 1-3.
Next Game: Fort Frye vs. Magnolia Sandy Valley, Wednesday at Cambridge, 5 p.m.
Riley Wire led off the first inning with a hard hit double for Indian Valley and scored on a Cadet miscue to tie things up at 1-1.
The Lady Cadets sent eight hitters to the plate in the top of the third inning against Braves' starting pitcher Kelsie Kochman to give Mimken the cushion she was looking for.
With one out Hendershot reached first on the second of her three base hits in the game and was sacrificed to second by Courtney Allen.
First baseman Lexi Huck then broke the tie with a solid base hit and one out later Natalie Smith doubled in another run to make it a 3-1 game.
Mimken then helped herself as she hit a bullet to second base that handcuffed the Lady Brave second baseman and allowed two more runs to score to give the Fort a 5-1 lead.
From then on it was the Mimken show as the Lady Cadet senior stifled Indian Valley the rest of the way allowing only a fifth inning base on balls and a seventh inning single to Katie Shamel.
"Our defense really came to play tonight and they were really good behind me," said Mimken, giving credit to her defense which committed only the first inning error. "Natalie (Smith) was calling a really good game behind the plate and we were going inside and outside."
Mimken's final numbers were quite typical of the ones she has put up all season long as she limited the Lady Braves to just the two base hits, while fanning nine and allowing just one walk.
"I was able to keep changing speeds on them so that they couldn't get good hits like they did in the first inning," said Mimken, who improved her season record to an unbelievable 23-0. " We were trying to mix it up a little bit."
Sleek felt before the season started that 17 wins would be a realistic goal for her team, who now have bested that number by six wins.
"This team was really not predicted to do this well, but now they are going for the school record," said Sleek, noting that the 23 wins is the most by any Cadet team in her 16- year Fort Frye career. "This team just doesn't know what it means to not win, so we are just going to ride it as long as we can."
Next up for the Lady Cadets will be a rematch with Sandy Valley for a district championship, a team that the Lady Cadets eliminated from tournament competition a season ago.
First pitch is scheduled for Wednesday evening at 5 p.m back in Cambridge.