The level of high school softball in Clermont County has risen exponentially in the last five years and there is no better evidence than the current postseason runs of Clermont Northeastern and Felicity-Franklin.
“I’m just overwhelmed with the way softball has come along in Clermont and Brown County over the last four to five years,” Felicity coach Rob Wear said. “Out of the SBC, there are three teams in the regionals. That’s phenomenal.
“People can beat up the SBC and say whatever they want, but we’re producing winners.”
Both CNE and Felicity are in the midst of record-breaking seasons and it would appear that the teams are headed on a collision course to face one another in the regional finals.
However, to admit to looking ahead of your next opponent would be to jinx your team and Bill Goldfuss, head coach of the Lady Rockets, doesn’t want to do that.
“We’re trying to take it one game at a time,” he said. “When you get to this point, if you overlook someone, they could come up and bite you. So, for the most part, whoever’s up next is who we’re focusing on.”
Goldfuss did allow himself to look ahead just a bit, however.
“In this case, you’ve got four teams playing and the two winners are going to meet, so we’d be honored to play either one,” Goldfuss said. “If it comes down to giving us the opportunity of playing Felicity, it would be outstanding for our league and great for our communities and then we would know that someone from Clermont County, someone from the Southern Buckeye is going to state.”
Both squads have one more roadblock before they would meet.
The Lady Cardinals could be the first to punch their ticket as they were scheduled to play Bishop Fenwick on Wednesday, May 23 at Wright State.
The second half of that regional final matchup will be decided on Thursday, May 24 when CNE plays Fairbanks.
If both teams win, they will face off on Saturday, May 26 at 12 p.m. at Wright State.
First things first, both teams need to continue to play well.
“We’re playing really well right now,” Goldfuss said of the Lady Rockets. “We’re playing great team defense and getting great pitching. We haven’t given up a run in the postseason yet. We’re getting timely hitting from different people.
“Once you get to this point, you’re facing good teams and you need to grind it out. We’re extremely excited to have the opportunity to get back to where we were last year, which is the first round of the regionals with the hope of trying to improve.”
Wear echoed very similar sentiments about his team’s current form.
“The postseason’s gone well,” the coach said. “We’re getting good pitching, We played Miami East and then we got Fenwick on Wednesday. Hopefully, we can keep playing well and face CNE on Saturday.”
CNE is led by junior pitcher Emily Anderson and Felicity has senior Montana Wear in the circle. Both were named to the First Team All-State last week by the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association and hope to add a state title to their list of awards, but to do that, they will likely have to take the other down.