By Ed Banks 

News-Herald Sportswriter

RICHMOND – Saturday in Richmond, the park was full of baseball and softball players, coaches, and spectators, as the annual League Championship Day was in full swing. The outcomes of each of the day’s contests held a special meaning for the athletes, as each came with thoughts of earning individual championship trophies. 

It would be no different for the Adena Panthers of the 18U Division. Over the course of their last two wins leading to the championships, talk of the tournament remained on everyone’s thoughts and tongues. They would express their thoughts through the two wins, and the ole’ fable of scoring the game’s first run, rang true both times for the win-hungry Panthers. However, waiting for them at the championships was the challenge of defeating the undefeated Knoxville, and not only once — but twice.  

In getting down to business, Alina Williams would double off a Knoxville miscue to lead to the game’s opening run. Morgan Richardson would then hammer-out a hard-hit single on the second base side to spring Williams. Leaving second base Williams would get the coaches green light to score. In that same opening inning, Adena would give up three runs to Knoxville. Without panic, the Panthers would methodically work their way back and score one run each of the next two innings to tie the score. In the second, Bre Barbe had a lead-off double and Cami Basich would provide the hit to score her. In the third, Tiara Triplett would have a lead-off double that she would score off a Morgan Richardson single. 

In innings four, five, and six, defense became the game’s theme for both teams, and no scores resulted. However, in the seventh inning, five runs were registered, and for the never-say-never Panthers, they owned all five. Along with a couple Knoxville errors, the five runs were the results of hits by Kaydence Kinyo, Maddy Dombroski, Barbe and Basich. Knoxville went 1, 2, 3, in their share of the seventh, ending the contest by a winning score of 8-5. Aleyna Runevich was again in the circle. She would sit five by the way of strikeouts. 

As Knoxville went undefeated in regular season, Adena had to play them twice for the championship. Following a 20-minute break, Adena would secure the second win, when with the bases loaded Maddy Edwards hit a triple in the top of the seventh. Additionally, on defense, play by the entire outfield helped to shut Knoxville down at crucial points of the contest.  

“These girls played as a team all season long,” said coach Amber Basich. “Each one has played a vital role in the success we had this season. We are fortunate enough to have the entire team back next season, and we are hoping for back-to-back championships!”  

Runevich made a strong showing in all four of the Panther’s last championship-run games. NH Photo/Ed Banks