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2019 Softball State Tournament Preview

Firestone Stadium plays host to 42st Annual OHSAA Softball Tournament

By Morgan Smith, OHSAA Communications

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 42nd Annual Ohio High School Athletic Association softball state tournament begins Thursday morning at historic Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio. Sixteen teams that have battled their way through sectional, district and regional tournaments will play for the chance at a state championship in four divisions over the course of the weekend.
Six teams – Westerville Central, Louisville, West Jefferson, Peebles, Antwerp and Mechanicsburg – are making their first ever appearance in the softball state tournament, while three 2018 state champions – LaGrange Keystone (Div. II), Warren Champion (Div. III), and Jeromesville Hillsdale (Div. IV) – are back in Akron to defend their titles.
The divisional order of play is III, II, I, IV. All 12 games will be broadcast live by the OHSAA Radio Network.
The state tournament begins Thursday morning with the Division III semifinal between unranked West Jefferson (22-6) and No. 3 Cardington-Lincoln (24-2). 2018 state runner-up Cardington-Lincoln is back in the final four for the third year in a row and is making its third state tournament appearance. West Jefferson is making its first state tournament appearance. The second Div. III semifinal includes reigning champion No. 1 Warren Champion (28-2) versus unranked Byesville Meadowbrook (19-9). Champion is making its third-consecutive trip and 11th overall. Meadowbrook is making its second tournament appearance, the last being in 2009.
No. 5 Poland Seminary (29-0) and No. 3 Plain City Jonathan Alder (27-1) will kick off the Division II semifinal games Thursday afternoon. Jonathan Alder is back in the final four for the third year in a row and is making its fourth state appearance, finishing as runner-up in 2014. Poland is making its first state appearance since 2012 and its fifth overall. Thursday’s games conclude with defending champion No. 1 LaGrange Keystone (28-0) facing No. 9 Hebron Lakewood. Keystone, a four-time champ, is making its fifth-consecutive appearance and state-record 18th overall. Lakewood is making its eighth state appearance and is yearning for a similar outcome in 2017 when the Lancers were state champions.
Division I starts off Friday morning with No. 2 Liberty Township Lakota East (29-1) against No. 5 Westerville Central (28-2). Lakota East is making its second state appearance, last being in 2010. Westerville Central is making its first state appearance after knocking off No. 1 ranked Mount Vernon in the regional final. The second semifinal game has unranked and state tournament newcomer Louisville (25-4) playing unranked Elyria (24-5). Elyria is making its 13th state appearance and is hopeful for a fourth state title.
Friday afternoon, Division IV semifinal games will take place. Unranked Peebles (24-2) will face unranked Antwerp (20-2). Both teams are making its first state tournament appearance. Concluding Friday’s games will be defending champion and unranked Jeromesville Hillsdale (18-5) versus No. 4 Mechanicsburg (20-3). Hillsdale is making its second-consecutive state appearance. Mechanicsburg is making its first state appearance.