Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill players celebrate their victory over Mill Creek to win their 3rd consecutive class AAAAA state softball championship Saturday in Columbus.
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COLUMBUS -- Collins Hill pounded out 13 hits and rallied from a two-run, first-inning deficit to defeat Region 7-AAAAA rival Mill Creek 6-4 for its third straight Class AAAAA state championship Saturday at the South Commons Softball Complex's stadium field.
Brittany Roley went 3-for-4 with three runs scored for the Eagles (29-7), while Mckenzie Halstead was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Calli Starr finished 3-for-4 and scored a run, Brea Dickey was 2-for-4 and scored twice and Danielle Patterson was also 2-for-4.
"Our girls have experience and a lot of them have been (in this position before)," Collins Hill coach Paul Pierce said. "So, they knew what to expect and were not in awe of the stadium. Sometimes you get here and you get uncomfortable.
"I'm just so happy that our girls took advantage of a couple of things we had go our way. That's what championships are made of.You're going to get a couple of breaks, and it's whoever comes up with a hit at the right time."
The Hawks jumped out front in a big way behind a two-run, first-inning home run from Nikki Sagermann. Lauren Bennett started the game with a leadoff walk and scored on Sagermann's one-out homer.
Collins Hill tied the game in the second. Three straight one-out singles from Dickey, Ashleigh Simmons and Roley loaded the bases. Payton Wilson recorded a fielder's choice RBI to plate Dickey and Roley scored off an error for the 2-all tie.
The Eagles added to their margin over the next three innings.
Starr led off the third with single to left, moved to second on an error and came around two score on Patterson's two-out RBI single to take a 3-2 lead.
Roley and Wilson led off the fourth with back-to-back singles. Starr's one-out single loaded the bases before Roley scored on a wild pitch for a 4-2 Eagles margin.
Dickey singled in the fourth and moved to second on Roley's two-out single. A passed ball moved both runners up a base before Wilson walked to load the bases for Collins Hill for the third time in the game. Halstead hit a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to plate Dickey and Roley as the Eagles extended their advantage to 6-2.
Mill Creek scored two runs in the top of the seventh to make things interesting. Sagermann induced a one-out walk and scored on Chandler Griffin's two-run homer to trim the deficit to 6-4.
Anyssa Robles walked in the next at-bat, but Collins Hill pitcher Kayla Floor, who allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and struck out four in earning the complete-game victory, forced a strikeout and a ground out to clinch the Eagles third consecutive title.
"(Floor) is a competitor," Pierce said. "She's been dinged up a little bit during of the year and probably hasn't been 100 percent except for real early on. I'm just proud of the way she's come through. We bring a generator with us, and a hot water heater and we give her treatment before every game. She is just a true warrior, and I'm so proud of her."
Jenna Holland went 2-for-3 for Mill Creek. Sagermann was 1-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored. Griffin was 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and scored once. Robles, Bennett, Morgan Bell and Mackenzie Fagioli each had a hit.
Sagermann allowed six runs -- four earned -- on 12 hits and struck out five in five innings. Tori Mitchell gave up a single in the bottom of the sixth.
"I couldn't be more proud of these girls," Mill Creek coach Roger Parham said. "The tenacity they showed, even in the seventh inning down 6-2. We're taking pitches to get base runners and (Griffin) hits one out for her third homer of the day ... you have to be kidding me.
"There was some really good softball played today. I don't think playing Collins Hill (for the sixth time this season) was an advantage or disadvantage at all. I think there was a comfort level in playing them. They were fortunate in that their girls put the ball in play and they were hitting it where we weren't.
"We had some opportunities to get ourselves off the field and we couldn't. Some unfortunate situations arose and that's competition."
Mill Creek 9, Hillgrove 8 (8 innings)
Mill Creek staved off elimination by beating Hillgrove in extra innings in a wild elimination bracket final.
Hillgrove rallied from deficits of 6-1 in the fourth and 8-7 in the seventh to force the extra frame.
Using the international tie-breaker rule, courtesy runner Sarah Perry scored the winning run for Mill Creek in the top of the eighth. She crossed home plate on a two-out, two-base dropped pop fly error near the pitching circle on Alyssa Stringer's at-bat.
Hillgrove had a chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom half of the frame. The tiebreaker rule placed Maddie Garner on second. Taylor Vennel, who reached on a one-out error and moved to second on the play, advanced Garner to third on her at-bat.
Meredith Heyer walked to load the bases, but Mill Creek pitcher Nikki Sagermann, who allowed one unearned run on one hit and struck out one in 2 innings of relief, induced a double-play to end game.
Griffin finished the game 4-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs, while Robles added a solo homer and Alyssa Stringer drove in a run with a single.