Softball: Sidney seeing progress with youthful roster


SIDNEY — It’s been a learning experience for Sidney this season. The Yellow Jackets have many new players, all new pitchers and a new coach, Trevor Nenninger.

Nenninger said improving is the focus, and he said the squad is doing that.

Sidney earned its second win of the season on Saturday by beating Xenia 19-3 in five innings in a Miami Valley League Valley Division game at Aschenbach Field. The squad took control with seven runs in the first inning and added nine more in the third.

Nenninger previously was an assistant at Sinclair Community College and has been head coach of summer softball travel programs.

Sidney (2-9, 2-8 MVL Valley) lost its first five games before beating Xenia 21-8 on April 9. The Yellow Jackets lost four in a row before beating the Buccaneers again on Saturday, including a 10-8 loss to West Carrollton on the road on Friday.

“The team is really starting to come together,” Nenninger said. “You bring a lot of girls together with different areas of softball (experience) and you put them on a varsity program, it takes a lot for them to learn how to come out and play together.

“I think they are starting to gel. We’re getting over our humps. We’re still questionable in some games, but we’re improving. To me, that is a great sign as we get into the end of the season.”

Junior center fielder Kelis McNeal is leading the team again at the plate. She has a .455 batting average and a .486 on-base percentage. She has hit six doubles and one home run this season and has five stolen bases.

“Her speed on the bases makes her dangerous,” Nenninger said. “We keep relying on her at the top of the lineup to get us those early runs.

Junior outfielder Nylah Hale has a .387 average and senior Hailey Richardson has a .292 average and .514 on-base percentage. Richardson has hit a team-best two home runs.

Catcher Ivy Roberts, a sophomore, was 3 for 3 with 6 RBIs on Saturday. She hit one double and hit a two-run home run to left field in the third inning, which was her first career homer. She has a .406 average.

“Ivy is great behind the plate, very dangerous,” Nenninger said. “We typically can contain runners at the bases, which helps with stealing. Other teams really have to step it up if they think they’re going to steal against her.”

The Yellow Jackets have worked several pitchers in the circle. Freshman Jaida Fisher and sophomore Eliana Fink have seen the most work; both have ERAs over 10.0. The two are among eight underclassmen on the team’s roster.

Both saw time on Saturday. Fisher started and got the win after giving up three earned runs on one hit and three walks while striking out three batters in three innings. Fink pitched the last two innings and gave up two walks.

The two players are new to the team.

“They started two months ago out of the blue,” Nenninger said. “They did a great service for us by stepping up and taking on that role. We’re trying to stay behind them and play through with them.”

Nenninger said senior Alexis Dennis is playing well at first base and said the team’s bench players are contributing.

“The subs are learning and growing, and we’re really relying on them more to pinch run, pinch hit, do all the functions a team needs,” Nenninger said.

Sidney had 14 hits and didn’t commit an error on Saturday. Xenia committed one error.

Aside from Roberts, Fisher and Dennis were each 2 for 2; Dennis had 2 RBIs, drew two walks and hit one double. Fink was 2 for 3 with one double and Nylah and Tylee Hale were each 1 for 3 with one double. McNeal was 1 for 4 with one double.

Sidney is scheduled to travel to Tippecanoe on Monday and to host West Carrollton on Tuesday.

The Buccaneers (0-12, 0-10) scored two runs on three walks and one hit in the first inning, but Sidney scored seven on three hits, three walks and a hit batter. Roberts was hit by a pitch to start the inning off and later hit a two-run double to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead.

Sidney scored six runs in the top of the fifth on Friday but couldn’t come all the way back against West Carrollton. Roberts and Lindan Stewart were each 2 of 3; Tylee Hale hit one double.

Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

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Bryant Billing has been at the Sidney Daily News since 2017. He took over as editor in April of 2024 after working as sports editor for the previous 6.5 years. He worked as a reporter and later as an editor for a weekly newspaper in Springfield from 2007 to 2012, managed a Springfield-based website called from 2012 to 2016 and then worked as a freelancer for Cox Media Group Ohio newspapers (including the Dayton Daily News) from 2016 to 2017 before joining the SDN.

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