Sports Scene: A reunion at softball regional semifinal

Russia and Parkway played one of the best softball games I’ve ever seen on Wednesday. The Panthers edged the Raiders 2-1 in nine innings to advance to a regional final.

I pinch hit as the play-by-play man on for the game and was joined by Casey Matteson, who served as an analyst. Casey helped me run a sports website that covered Clark and Champaign Counties from 2012 to 2015, and we broadcast over a hundred games in that time.

It was fitting for us to get back together on air at a softball game, as the baseball and softball games we broadcast are among the most vivid memories I have from that time. That’s because dealing with broadcasting out in the elements surrounded by fans… is a bit more memorable than being in the cozy confines of a football stadium’s press box or at the scorer’s table in a gym.

We were back in the elements on Wednesday, clutching our rosters and notes so they didn’t blow away in gusty winds that picked up over the course of the afternoon. We were interrupted once by a young child, who wedged himself between us to grab a dollar bill that had blown into the fence.

I set us up for the broadcast at a picnic table along the first-base line, next to the home dugout. The hope was we’d be a bit more isolated. That hope wasn’t realized, as Parkway fans packed the entire first-base line and surrounded us. Luckily, it was a great fan base to be around — there were no off-color comments hurled over us towards the playing field.

It was a pitching and defensive game — and far different from a 21-run affair the teams played in a regular-season game the first week of May.

After a few misplayed balls in the outfield early on, there were several game-saving catches made in the outfield by both teams, as well as many nice defensive plays in the infield. One was made by Russia second baseman Saige Hoying, who blocked a ball (I can’t recall if it was a line drive or a grounder) with her torso to prevent it from getting to the outfield, scooped it up and threw to first for an out.

The game could have turned at several points. The simple fact was, though, Parkway hit a little better and had more base runners. Russia made great players in the seventh and eighth to stay in it, but the Panthers finally pushed one across in the ninth to win.

Althauser steps down as Anna coach

Kristian Althauser announced on Twitter on May 17 he is stepping down as Anna’s baseball coach.

Althauser had been the program’s head coach for nine years and had previously served as an assistant coach for close to two decades.

Anna finished 25-4-1 in Althauser’s second season at the helm and advanced to a regional final. The Rockets won the Shelby County Athletic League title that year and also tied for league titles in 2016 and 2017.

Anna finished 9-12 this year and tied with Botkins for fourth place in league standings.

Baseball regional final moves to Wright State

Russia will need to win at two different locations next week to earn a second consecutive state berth.

Southwest Division IV baseball regional semifinals will stay at Carleton Davidson Stadium in Springfield on Thursday, but the regional final will be held Friday at Wright State University’s Nischwitz Field.

The entire regional was supposed to take place in Springfield, as it did from 2010 to 2019. But a scheduling conflict with the summer collegiate baseball team that plays in Springfield has resulted in the final being moved to Wright State. The final will start at 2 p.m. on Friday; Wright State is hosting the Southwest D-III regional, and its final is scheduled to start at 5 on Friday.

The regional was held at Cincinnati Princeton the last two years.

Billing has been the sports editor of the Sidney Daily News since 2017. He can be reached at [email protected].