By Charles Prince
AKRON – Lakewood Lady Lancers had a great season!
Yes, their 4-2 loss Saturday afternoon in the Division II softball final to No. 3 Plain City Jonathan Alder was marked by long faces and some tears. But Ohio High School Athletic Association Senior Director of Communications Tim Stried said it best just before OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass presented the State Runner-up trophy to the Lady Lancers.
Stried, after recounting Lakewood’s five state softball championships and perfect 8-0 record in the state semi-finals, said, “Not a lot of people were predicting you would be playing on the last day.” He also noted that Lakewood had defeated the defending state champion and 28 – 0 LaGrange Keystone in the semi-final. The Wildcats had won 62 games in a row until they ran into the come-back Lady Lancers.
Last Thursday’s rain suspension of Lakewood’s semi-final game with Keystone until Friday morning after an inning cost the Lady Lancers a day of rest. Jonathan Alder wrapped up their semi-final on Thursday.
Pitcher Krislyn Bayles, who closed out the 4-3 win over Keystone on Friday, started in Saturday’s final. The Pioneers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning on three singles and two Lakewood errors.
With the score 3 – 0 and one out, Coach Jon Griffith replaced Bayles with Katie Chittum who struck out the first batter she faced. A fly ball to right ended the inning.
Lakewood scored in the second inning on a single by Kylah Morrison, followed by Heather Young’s suicide squeeze bunt. The Pioneers added a run in the third for a 4-1 lead. Lakewood scored a run in the sixth on a walk and an error, but went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
The Pioneers took the bat out of the hands of Lakewood’s top slugger, Tigan Braskie, intentionally walking her on her first two times at the plate.
Lakewood was held to three hits. Jonathan Alder had 11. Lakewood played error-free after the first inning; the Pioneers had three errors. The Lady Lancers left six runners on base compared to seven for Alder.
Lakewood finished the season at 27 – 5 and Alder improved to 29 – 1 for their first state championship.