ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Ashlie Miller’s name is written on the Clinton-Massie lineup card in the No. 9 spot.
Not usually a place for an impact hitter.
But powered by a seemingly spiritual aid, Miller has come up with several big hits this season for the Lady Falcons.
Clinton-Massie (27-1) will meet Greenville (27-3) 2 p.m. Wednesday in a Division II Region 8 semifinal game at Mason High School.
“Ashlie Miller was struggling a little bit but look at the games she’s had lately,” said Clinton-Massie coach Anthony Lauer.
Miller had a solid start to the season. Despite the loss of her grandmother Mary Cradler on Jan. 17, Miller played well as the Lady Falcons’ season got underway.
“Ovarian cancer,” Miller said of her maternal grandmother. “She had on and off chemo for like four years.”
In this case, the spiritual twist of fate for Miller’s season comes on two fronts.
One, Miller homered against Hillsboro on April 3 to get Clinton-Massie off to a fast start in a South Central Ohio League game at CMHS.
Later in the year, against Monroe in a tournament game, Miller homered again to help the Lady Falcons defeat the sectional’s No. 1 seed.
• Mary Cradler was born on April 3.
• Mary Cradler lived in Monroe at the time she passed away.
“I know you’re still my number one fan,” Miller wrote on her Twitter page about her grandmother.
Miller also said she had received a bow from her grandmother last season but had not yet put it on.
“I didn’t want to wear it because I didn’t want to let her down,” Miller said.
But, for whatever reason, Miller tied the bow to her ponytail on April 3.
“I’ve worn it every game since,” she admits.
Against Monroe, things were a little different but no less ironic. Miller was in the midst of a 4-for-17 batting slump.
“I was in a slump a few games before,” she admits. “I wanted to bunt. I told (coach) Andy if she (Lindsey Carter) gets on I want to bunt. It’s not about me getting on base but getting that run in.”
As scripted, Carter reached base and Miller was given the bunt sign by Lauer to sacrifice the runner to second base.
“I love bunting,” Miller said. “I normally get it down.”
However, her first attempt went foul.
“I don’t know what happened there,” she said.
The next pitch, though, was fair … and not a bunt. Miller blasted the ball over the center field fence to give Massie a 3-0 lead and the Lady Falcons never looked back.
The inscription on the bow in her hair at the time read, “I Wear This Bow for My Grandma.”
“I wasn’t really expecting that (HR) but if it comes down the middle I’m going to swing at it,” she said as a huge smile crossed her face.
Miller’s hitting prowess has returned since the tournament run has started. She has six hits in seven at-bats with eight runs scored and 10 runs batted in the last three games.
Miller also has a triple and two home runs but would be perfectly content if her name wasn’t on the lineup card Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m basically here to boost people’s moods,” said Miller. “I’m OK with that. I could sit the whole game. As long as I’m helping cheer on my teammates I don’t mind. They’re my sisters.”
• Mother Nature must not have any sisters or she’d probably be a little more accommodating with Wednesday’s forecast. Several different media outlets have showers starting Wednesday morning with thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon.
• Taylor Florea has a 23-1 pitching record with 164 strikeouts and a .581 batting average. Lindsey Carter comes in next at .481 while Victoria Sivert (.480), Hailey Clayborn (.465), Claire Carruthers (.465) and Ashlie Miller (.458) follow.
Sivert has 31 runs batted in while Madi Newton and Kelsey Carter have 29 each. Carruthers has 28 RBI and Clayborn has 26.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports