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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Miller fans 14, leads Delphi to regional win over Rochester

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


Bria Rensberger Aubrey Wilson


DELPHI — The Rochester softball team had plans to run against Delphi in their Class 2A regional Tuesday.

But in order to run, you have to have baserunners first.

And Delphi lefty Lexi Miller did not let it happen.

Miller threw a two-hit shutout with one walk and 14 strikeouts, and Delphi relied on two hits, three walks and an error in the third inning to beat the visiting Lady Zs 3-0 at Bob Conner Field.

Delphi improved to 18-8 and won their second straight regional title and their third in school history. Delphi also snapped Rochester’s 11-game winning streak and handed them their first loss since April 27. 

The Lady Zs finished 16-10. They have not won a regional since 2012.

“Obviously, the easiest way to shut down a running game is to keep us off the basepaths,” Rochester coach Jim Coleman said. “And she did an outstanding job doing that. Credit Lexi Miller. She was probably one of the top two pitchers we faced this season. And hopefully, we can take this game and learn from it moving into next season. I know the kids are frustrated, but that’s a good pitcher. She did a great job of keeping us off-balance and off the bases.”

Freshman Bria Rensberger walked three and struck out 11 in the circle while pitching a five-hitter.

Rochester had three baserunners against Miller, who will pitch next year for Frontier Community College in Fairfield, Ill. Makhia Harding walked on a 3-2 pitch in the second, Aubrey Wilson singled with two outs in the third, and Brailyn Hunter led off with a single in the seventh.

Wilson stole second with two outs in the third, but Miller struck out Aubrey Miller – no relation, though they are teammates with the Indy Bandits travel ball team during the summer – to end the inning.

Delphi then gave Lexi Miller the runs she needed.

Airy Lattimore led off the third with a bloop single to right field. Sarah Perry, who entered as a courtesy runner for catcher Lattimore, stole second.

Emma Draper, Delphi’s No. 9 batter, then popped a bunt that then spun down and stayed fair and beat it out for an infield single to push Perry to third.

Jenna Roth then walked to load the bases.

Albie Pearson hit a grounder up the middle that was fielded by the second baseman, but the throw to the plate for an attempted forceout was wild for an error to score Perry and reload the bases.

Lacey Pickering then walked to force in a run and make it 2-0.

Emma Titus’ fly ball to shallow center dropped. Center fielder Darah Strasser fielded and threw to Mylee Heinzmann at second for a forceout, but Roth scored to make it 3-0.

“We had a couple that if the ball would have stuck in our glove and at home, that inning maybe could have been a little bit different,” Coleman said. “But they put the pressure on us in that inning. Once they got a run or two, obviously they put our backs to the wall.”

Lexi Miller walked to load the bases, but Rensberger got soft contact from Madyson Anderson, who grounded into a force at the plate and fanned Kylynn Spitznagle to end the inning.

Rensberger got three strikeouts in the first, sandwiched two strikeouts around a weak pop to first base in the second and struck out the side in the fourth.

Pickering singled, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch in the fifth, but Rensberger struck out Titus and got Lexi Miller on a grounder to second.

She faced the minimum three batters in the sixth as well.

“For her to walk three in an inning was definitely un-Bria-like,” Coleman said. “She settled down, but in a game like this, it really makes it tough when you give up a few runs against a good pitcher to come back from.”

Delphi coach Mark Schock said he saw Rochester’s sectional final win over Pioneer in person at Fansler Field on Thursday. Delphi had won their sectional the previous day, and they knew they were going to face the winner.

Schock complimented Coleman afterwards. He also praised Rensberger, saying her change-up “will make you look bad.”

“I had a good scouting report,” Schock said. “I went and watched the Rochester-Pioneer game and had a good scouting report on what their kids did. So we kind of knew what we were going to throw. But all respect to Rochester. They are a very good team, very young. And he’s doing a nice job with them. I told him they’re going to be back.”

Ultimately, the game was about Lexi Miller.

“She does a great job locating, hitting the corners,” Coleman said. “Keeping it low in the zone. She moves the ball and changes speeds very well. A really nice pitcher and one that I’m glad that we got to face.”

Miller fell into the pitching job due to an injury to a teammate in her freshman season in 2021. She beat eventual state champion Pioneer in 2021 and has been a fixture in the circle since then.

“I’ve had her for four years, and she’s basically been our workhorse for four years,” Schock said.

Rochester ended a 12-year sectional drought with a team that included six freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors. Only one senior, Keyton Doran, graduates.

“I want them to take it all in,” Coleman said. “Outside of Keyton, we bring everybody back. I don’t want them to settle for a sectional. It was great getting over that hump. We’ve got to go back to work like I told them this fall, this winter, to where when we get to January, we have to be full steam ahead. We’re going to have a target on our back, and we’re capable of a lot more. We really need to get better during the offseason.”

Delphi 3, Rochester 0

Rochester 000 000 0 – 0 2 1

Delphi 003 000 X – 3 5 0

WP – Lexi Miller (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 14 K)

LP – Bria Rensberger (6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

XBH – (none)


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