AKRON – It took two days, but No. 9 Lakewood Lady Lancers defeated No. 1 LaGrange Keystone 4- 3 Friday morning to move to the Division II state final game at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Plain City Jonathan Alder.
Three of the four state-semi final games scheduled for Thursday, May 30, at Akron Firestone Stadium were completed in spite of an early morning forecast of rain throughout most of the day. By late morning, the forecast was scaled back to a just 40 percent chance at 6 p.m. Lakewood’s game was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The Lady Lancers, designated the visiting team, came to bat first.
With one out and a 2-2 count, Mckayla Malone hit a stand-up triple to deep right field. After Tigan Braskie was intentionally walked, Taylor Saling hit the ball hard back at the pitcher. Malone scored on the pitcher’s throw to home.
The Lady Wildcats tied the score 1 -1 in the bottom of the first inning after a runner on first scored on Shelby Fortune’s double. Pitcher Katie Chittum ended the scoring threat with a strike-out.
The lights came on for the second inning as the sky darken. Emily Wallace lead-off for Lakewood and reached second on an errant throw by the pitcher to first base. The 40 percent 6 p.m. rain forecast turned out to be a 100 percent downpour at 5:50 p.m. The heavy rain lasted about 20 minutes with standing water covering most of the infield and outfield. The game was suspended until 10 a.m. Friday morning.
On Friday, Lakewood had a 4 -1 lead going into the top of the fifth inning and held on for a 4-3 victory.
Lakewood and Keystone are familiar tournament opponents. Keystone was the defending Division II champion, winning a total of four championships since 1999. Lakewood last faced Keystone in the 2016 state final, winning the championship by a 7-4 score. In the 2015 state-semi final, Lakewood defeated Keystone 4-0. It was Keystone’s 18th appearance in the state semi-finals. Lakewood has five state championships with eight appearances in the state semi-finals.
In the first Division II state-semi final on Thursday, No. 3 Plain City Jonathan Alter defeated No. 5 Poland Seminary 6 -3. Both Keystone and Poland were undefeated before their semi-finals losses. This is Jonathan Alder’s fourth appearance in the state semi-finals. Lakewood last faced Jonathan Alder in 2017, defeating the Pioneers 14-6 in a state semi-final. The Pioneers were the state-runner-up in 2014.