Softball Team Wins First Regional Championship In School History

Posted on May 31, 2019 in Softball, Spring Sports

Bayli Toy

Senior Bayli Toy pitches 14 innings for Regional Championship.

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
CRAWFORDSVILLE — Bayli Toy has been in big games and big moments many times in the pitcher’s circle for the Oak Hill softball team over the past four seasons.

And in the biggest moment in Golden Eagle softball history, Toy delivered a performance for the ages.

Toy twirled all 14 innings on a warm, humid Tuesday evening in West Central Indiana to lead Oak Hill to a 2-0 win over Southmont and with it the program’s first 2A regional championship.

Toy was perfect through the first six innings and allowed just three singles in the game. She also struck out 14 and walked just three, one intentionally.

Southmont didn’t get its first it until the eighth inning and Toy admitted it was around then she had thoughts of making an exit. She split duties with sophomore Julianne Gosnell in the Golden Eagles’ 12-inning sectional championship win over Whitko on Thursday.

Eagles’ coach Ben Johnson even had Gosnell warm up in the eighth. But he left the decision in Toy’s hands and said he got a thumbs up from her that she still felt good after every inning.

“Seventh inning I was feeling pretty good, then they started hitting me a little more and I was like maybe we should put Julianne in, she had a great sectional game” Toy said, “ Then I was like, no this could be my last one and I can just dig deep and find it.

“My team right behind me. That catch in center field by Kaela Robey with a runner on third,” she added. “They just dug deep. It’s great.”

That catch made by Robey was unquestionably the biggest defense play of the contest as it saved the Eagles’ from a heart-breaking defeat.

Paige Knowling, Toy’s opposite in the circle, led off the 12th inning with a single and went to second on the lone wild pitch of the game. Knowling was sacrifice bunted to third with the potential winning run and just one out.

After an intentional walk to Logan Berrisford, Toy induced the Mounties clean-up hitter, Claire Remley, to pop-up to Ella Ridgeway at third. Macie Shirk then sent a hard liner to center that necessitated a sensational, nearly heart-stopping running catch by Robey.

“I got a little twisted up but I knew I was going catch it.,” Robey said. “I was nervous for a second, my heart was beating pretty fast but I was like the game is on the line, you’ve got to catch it. Do whatever you can. So I did.”

It was Southmont’s only serious scoring threat the entire night.

Knowling matched Toy early on, retiring the first 12 batters she faced, with seven of her 16 strikeouts in the first four innings. She surrendered just one intentional walk in the game.

But the more times the Eagles’ saw pitches from Knowling, the more they started to make solid contact.

Robey led off the fifth with a single for the first hit by either team but was retired when Knowling started a 1-6-3 double play on Korinne Perkins’ comebacker.

Jenessa Hasty and Robey had back-to-back singles in the seventh but again Perkins was retired on a bouncer to Knowling.

Hasty pounded a two-out triple to the right-center field gap and Robey was intentionally walked in the ninth and Perkins just missed putting the Eagles on top, but the Mounties third baseman made a nice play on a short pop up to left to end the threat.

Perkins got another chance and delivered the biggest hit in Oak Hill softball history to date in the 14th.

Hasty led off with a solid single before Robey ripped a double down the left field lined to put runners on second and third with no outs.

Perkins knew what was coming next from Johnson.

“I knew the bunt was coming and I really wanted to get it down,” she said, but fouled the first bunt attempt off.

It worked out well for the Eagles.

“They’d been telling me the whole game, they knew,” Perkins said, adding Hasty and Robey believed she would get the hit. “They had more confidence in me than I did. It was all the team, the bench, they pumped me up because I did not think that I could hit it.

“They believed in me and I did it.”

Indeed, Perkins lined the ball past Knowling and into center field driving home Hasty and Robey with the decisive runs.

And Toy handled the rest.

“Bayli Toy pitched the best game of her life tonight, ”I had no doubts she was going to get all the outs.”

Toy sandwiched a pair of grounders to Hasty at short around her final strikeout to send the Golden Eagles into the Class 2A Northern Semistate at LaVille on Saturday.

“We start with Bayli Toy,” Johnson said. “(Gutsy). There is a great word. I pulled her aside before the year and said you’ve got movement. What you lack in velocity – she’ll pop it in there when she needs to … she makes up for with the most tenacious attitude on that mound that I’ve seen. That girl is competitor, she is s a fighter and she’s awesome.”

Toy’s formula for success was relatively simple, and her defense was flawless. Neither team committed and error.

“My ball was just spinning a lot more than usual tonight and I think I was throwing harder,” Toy said. “They haven’t seen me before and they’re so far away and probably haven’t talked to anybody to know what I have.

“Hitting spin is way harder than hitting any other kind of ball, and I really kept them on their toes tonight,” she added.

Robey, Hasty and Ridgeway all had three hits each for Oak Hill while Perkins, Toy and Coleena Selleck had one hit each.

The No. 15 Golden Eagles’ (21-6) semistate opponent will be either 2A top-ranked Bremen (25-2) or No. 5 South Adams at 11 a.m. Saturday at Newton Park in Lakeville. Bremen visits South Adams at 6:30 p.m. today.

Ninth-ranked Tipton (20-4) meets No. 11 Boone Grove (21-6) in the 1 p.m. semifinal at LaVille.

The championship game starts at 7 p.m.

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