Lancers, Lions Advance to Regionals
PICKERINGTON - It took Lakewood's Lady Lancers four days to win the Central District Division II championship. Liberty Union-Thurston's Lady Lions needed just three days to take the Central District Division III championship.
Both district finals were scheduled for last Wednesday, postponed to Thursday, then rain delayed to Friday. The Lions got their game in on Friday, but the Lancers had to wait until Saturday afternoon.
Both teams won their semifinal games on Monday, May 16. Lakewood had a close 6-5 victory over Canal Winchester, while Liberty Union beat Heath 5-0.
Both district finals started in a steady light rain on Thursday. Lakewood assistant coach Bo Hanson told players before the game, "If you hit the ball, we're gonna win the ballgame." The Lancers did and how. Eleven Lancers batted in the first inning, sending Olentangy starter Haleigh Breuer to play first base after facing nine batters and down 6-0. Sophomore Kelsi Thompson started the first inning hit parade with a single. Senior Courtney Kidwell followed with another single that scored Ashley Kincaid who had been walked. One out later, Breuer walked freshman Jessica Raines. The Lakers quickly made it 3-0 on two consecutive passed balls. Another walk set the stage for sophomore Catie Yost's threerun homer. A new Olentangy pitcher finally got the third out with Lakewood holding a 6-0 lead.
Kidwell hit a two-run home run in the second inning and Lakewood held an 8-1 lead when umpires called a rain delay in the top of the third inning as the rainfall increased. Olentangy had two outs and runners on third and first.
When play resumed two days later, it took one pitch from Lancer Alyssa Patznick to end Olentangy's inning and threat. Thompson had a RBI-double in the third to make it a 9-1 game. Patznick singled in the fourth and one out later Kailee Bennett hit her second home run of the tournament for an 11-1 lead.
It was the Lancers fifth straight district title and ninth in the past 10 years. The three-ina row state champions now head toBucyrusfora5p.m.Thursday regional semi-final against 17-8 Lexington, a 1-0 winner over Shelby.
Liberty Union's win was a nail-biter. Columbus Bishop Ready jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Lions scored in their half, making it a 2-1 game. Liberty Union tied it up in the third inning with Megan Van Almsick's perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze play. A single by Jessica McCormick and a double by Kyanne Wiley gave the Lions a 3-2 lead.
Ready was batting in the bottom of the fourth with one out and one on when the game was delayed for rain. Play resumed at 5 p.m. on Friday. Lion ace junior Sarah Klopfer and strong defensive play held the narrow 3-2 lead for the Lions' second consecutive district championship.
Both regional finals are set for noon on Saturday.