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2009 OHSAA Softball Championships Recap

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June 9, 2009

2009 OHSAA Softball Championships Recap

State Brackets

Division I (Box Score): After finishing as state runners-up each of the past three seasons, Elyria (29-3) claimed its second state title by defeating Hudson 10-1.

The game was scoreless through three and a half innings when the top-ranked Pioneers broke through with a six-run fourth. With two outs and two runs already in, sophomore Kristen Boros launched a grand slam to cap the scoring flurry. Elyria tacked on four more runs in the sixth, with junior Ashlee Stolarski having a two-run hit in the frame.

Senior Tess Sito hurled a two-hitter, giving up a solo home run to junior Callie Drohan in the sixth inning. After striking out 17 hitters in Elyria’s semifinal win, Sito fanned 11 Explorers in the championship game.

Eight of Elyria’s nine batters had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Stolarski was the lone Pioneer with two hits, while Boros reached base three of her four plate appearances.

Eighth-ranked Hudson, winners of the 2007 title, finished its season at 29-3.

Division II (Box Score): Hamilton Ross (26-7) used a four-run fifth inning to propel itself to a 4-2 victory over Bellville Clear Fork for the school’s first state championship.

Clear Fork (29-5) scored on a Ross error and sophomore Morgan Ruhl’s sacrifice fly to build a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Ross, which strung together four hits in the first inning but did not score, finally cracked through in the fifth. Seniors Kaitlyn Strunk and Nell Wilson both had RBI doubles, and junior Brittany Fernandez and sophomore Gina Huff added RBI singles.

Clear Fork put two runners aboard in the sixth but could not score, and Fernandez set the side down in order in the seventh for the complete game victory. She allowed six hits and struck out five without walking anybody.

Senior Rachael Connaughton, Fernandez and Wilson each had two hits to pace the Rams’ offense. Clear Fork, making its first state tournament appearance since 1980, was led by sophomore Taylor Thomas, who went 3-for-3 with a run scored.

Both Clear Fork and Ross were unranked in the final state poll.

Division III (Box Score): Second-ranked Hebron Lakewood (30-4) repeated as state champions, shutting out fifth-ranked Youngstown Ursuline (27-7) 5-0.

Lakewood starter Alissa Birkhimer went the distance and allowed just four hits, striking out nine without issuing a walk. Birkhimer, a senior, also earned the victory in the 2008 state title game when Lakewood defeated Wellington.

The Lancers did most of their damage in the fifth, as Birkhimer helped herself with a bases-clearing double to score three runs. A single by junior Caitlin Houk scored another run to put Lakewood on top 4-0, and sophomore Brayan Gault’s RBI double in the sixth accounted for Lakewood’s fifth run.

Birkhimer set down 13 of the last 14 hitters she faced. Ursuline junior Kasey Foley had two of the team’s four hits in the Lady Irish’s first trip to the state tournament.

Division IV (Box Score): Strasburg-Franklin brought home its fifth state championship and first in 18 years as the top-ranked Lady Tigers downed fifth-ranked Convoy Crestview 2-0.

Junior Carly Clark and sophomore Kasey Gerber combined for the one-hit shutout. The Lady Tigers (32-2) shut out all eight opponents they faced in the postseason.

The game was scoreless entering the top of the seventh. Sophomore Kristen Smith hit a one-out double and freshman Anne Dreher brought her home with a single. After a fielder’s choice, senior Emmy Hensel’s RBI single scored Gerber. Gerber then worked a 1-2-3 seventh to close out the game.

Junior Lydia Etzler had the lone hit for the Knights (27-4), while fellow junior Chelsey Lare threw a complete game and gave up eight hits while fanning five. The Knights finished as runners-up for the second time (2005).

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