FINDLAY — The Crestview Lady Knights traveled to Liberty-Benton High School on Friday night to take on the Lady Eagles in a Division III sectional softball final. The Lady Eagles held off a late Crestview rally to pick up a 9-7 victory and advance to districts at Lima Bath.

Crestview got off to a quick start with doubles from Caitlin O’Hagan and Codi Miller to plate a run in the top of the first. The Lady Knights scored another run in the top of the second with a Bailey Gregory triple with two outs. Gregory scored on the play thanks to an error by the Lady Eagles.

Liberty-Benton picked up a run in the bottom of the second as the Lady Eagles loaded the bases. With one out, Mackenzie Murphy hit a deep fly ball to center field to bring in Katie Pape.

Liberty-Benton scored four times in the bottom of the third and the fourth innings. The Lady Eagles picked up four straight hits, including an RBI base knock from Kennedy Briggs, who scored the fourth and final run of the third.

The Lady Eagles again struck for four runs in the fourth as Emma Grubinski drove in two runs with a single. Later in the frame, an RBI triple from Briggs and solid single from Lexi Ostrander gave Liberty-Benton a 9-2 lead.

“Our defense cost us; you have to field the ball, and against a team like this if you don’t field it they are going to put up runs. That is what Liberty-Benton did,” said Crestview softball coach Carl Etzler.

After Katie Veenstra started the ball game for Liberty-Benton, Grubinski came in relief on the rubber.

The Lady Knights rallied for a big inning in the top of the fifth as singles from Ashley Call and Oliva Skelton put two runners on base. Gregory again picked up a triple to drive in two runs.

After a base on balls to O’Hagan, Miller hit a sharp single up the middle to cut the Lady Eagles lead to 9-5. Lexi Gregory tried to match her sister with a deep fly ball to right field, but Briggs had the ball deflect off her glove. The Lady Eagles’ error allowed Lexi Gregory to motor around to third base, which allowed two more runs to score and cut the Liberty-Benton lead to 9-7.

The big fifth inning was all Crestview could muster over the final three innings of the game. The Lady Knights got a single from Call to lead off the sixth, but Grubinski retired six straight batters to end the ball game.

“We had some nice times that we were able to come back into the game. Then we had some really big opportunities and we just didn’t get the job done,” said Coach Etzler.