BOURBON — After Westville ace Ashley Henrich shut out Triton in last year’s sectional championship game, the Trojans knew what they were up against.
On Tuesday, they were ready.
Triton batters took an aggressive approach at the plate and on the bags, and the Trojans surprised Henrich and the Blackhawks with 15 hits, earning a 9-6 upset of No. 5 Westville in a Sectional 51 semifinal at home. The win was a reprisal for last year’s final, when the Blackhawks handed their hosts a 7-0 win for the school’s first-ever championship.
“We faced her last year in the sectional. We felt if we didn’t score some runs, we weren’t going to beat them,” said Triton head softball coach Steve McBride. “We went after the ball, and we hit the ball pretty decent tonight.
“She’s a good pitcher, and to put nine runs up on her is kind of a testament to our team because they didn’t help us with errors, they didn’t help us with walks. Pretty much what we got, we earned.”
“I thought they did a great job,” said Westville coach Gary Dick. “You’ve got to tip your hat to them.
“We haven’t had nobody hit (Henrich) like that all year.”
The Trojans jumped on Westville early, scratching out three runs off four hits in the top of the first as the visitors on the scoreboard.
Triton catcher Katie Claxon drove in Hannah Downing with her first double of the night — the senior finished 2 for 2 officially with two doubles, two RBI and three runs — Taylor Mellott singled in Claxon, and pitcher Mallorie Jennings singled in Shelby Steinman after the latter beat out a throw from home on a ball in the dirt.
The Trojans poured on the pressure with a pair of runs in the next two frames for a 5-0 lead before Westville cut their lead to a run with four scores in the third off back-to-back RBI doubles by Rachel Morgan and designated hitter Bianca Mendoza —the latter a two-run knock — who scored later on a wild pitch before Jennings induced a pop-up to close out the inning.
Triton scored once more on a Steinman hit in the fourth, but the Trojans went down in order in the fifth, and Westville mounted its last rally with two runs on an infield error and a pair of hits that knotted the score at 6-all in the fifth.
But Triton responded once more with three runs in the sixth as Lindsay Ganshorn led off with a single and was driven home with consecutive two-out hits from Claxon and Steinman.
In fact, the Trojans scored all nine of their runs with two outs in the win.
“Our team, we don’t quit,” said McBrode. “If there’s a characteristic on our team it’s that our kids don’t quit.”
Triton improves to 14-13 with Tuesday’s win and advances to take on South Central, which dimed Argos in four and a half innings in Tuesday’s other Sectional 51 semifinal tonight at 5:30 p.m.
Westville closes out its season at 19-4.
“We came back, we didn’t give up, we fought,” said Dick. “We hung in there, the kids laid their heart out on the field and left it there. Tough end after a great season to come in here and lose with the high expectations. We’ll be ready next year.”
• TRITON 9, WESTVILLE 6
At Class A Triton Softball Sectional
Triton: 311 103 0 — 9 15 1
Westville: 004 020 0 — 6 7 1
Mallorie Jennings (W) and Katie Claxon; Ashley Henrich (L) and Rachel Morgan.
2B: Claxon 2 (T), Morgan (W), Bianca Mendoza (W).
Records: Triton 14-13, Westville 19-4 (final).