Bradford softball team advances to state title game with 11-0 win over New Riegel

AKRON — The waiting really was the hardest part for the Bradford softball team Friday in a D-IV state semifinal.

Waiting for three years to get back to the state semifinals.

Waiting another day because of a rainout.

And thanks to a perfect game plan from junior catcher Austy Miller, there wasn’t much of a wait for the Roaders first run in state tournament history and another 10 after that.

Bradford, the fourth-ranked team in the state, dominated second-ranked New Riegel in a matchup of 28-2 teams as Skipp Miller through her 12th no-hitter in a 11-0 Railroader victory in five innings.

Bradford will play the Cuyahoga Heights, a 12-6 winner over Newark Catholic Friday, in the state championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday when they return to Firestone Stadium.

Before the game, coach Shon Schaffer asked Austy Miller for a game-plane.

She simply walked up to the white board and wrote “Win”.

And Austy Miller started things off in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double and the Railroaders never slowed down.

Abby Fike put down a sacrifice bunt and Skipp Miller walked.

When designated runner Alexis Barhorst took second, there were runners on second and third.

Nylani Beireis put down a perfect bunt, with Austy Miller easily beating the throw to the plate.

Barhorst then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

After Maggie Manuel walked to put runners on first and third, Beireis scored on an attempted double steal, with Manuel out at second to make it 3-0.

Emma Canan then ripped the first of her two doubles.

She would score when Rylee Canan reached on an error to make it 4-0 and Buzz Brewer would add a RBI single to make it 5-0.

With Skipp Miller on the mound, that is game over.

In the second, Austy Miller led off with a single and would come around to score on a bunt single by Fike.

She would score on a wild pitch and when Manuel reached on an error with two outs, Barhorst would score to make it 8-0.

Bradford, who scored on all four at bats, would make it 9-0 in the third when Brewer tripled and scored on Austy Miller’ single.

The Railroaders would add the final two runs in the fourth.

Beireis walked and would scored on a double by Emma Canan with one out.

Rylee Canan followed with a sacrifice fly to score her sister from third and make it 11-0.

Meanwhile the Blue Jackets, like most teams, couldn’t touch Skipp Miller.

She struck out 12 in five innings, walking two and not allowing a hit.

New Riegel had a runner on second with no outs in the second, before Miller followed with a pop out and two strikeouts.

In fact, she retired the last 12 batters she faced, striking out the side in the third and fifth to finish the game in style.

Now, the Railroaders go for the state Sunday and no doubt, Austy Miller will have another perfect game plan.