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2011 OHSAA Softball State Tournament Preview

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May 31, 2011

2011 OHSAA Softball State Pairings

Division III – Home Teams Listed First
Thursday, 6/2 10 a.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#3 Baltimore Liberty Union (26-2) vs. #6 West Liberty-Salem (27-2)
Thursday, 6/2 12:30 p.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#8 Bellville Clear Fork (31-0) vs. #1 Warren Champion (25-0)

Division II – Home Teams Listed First
Thursday, 6/2 3 p.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#3 Columbus St. Francis DeSales (26-3) vs. #1 LaGrange Keystone (31-1)
Thursday, 6/2 5:30 p.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#4 Poland Seminary (23-2) vs. #5 Tipp City Tippecanoe (26-5)

Division I – Home Teams Listed First
Friday, 6/3 10 a.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#6 North Canton Hoover (27-3) vs. #2 Elyria (24-4)
Friday, 6/3 12:30 p.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#7 Gahanna Lincoln (19-10) vs. #9 West Chester Lakota West (21-4)

Division IV – Home Teams Listed First
Friday, 6/3 3 p.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#1 Strasburg-Franklin (24-2) vs. Covington (25-4)
Friday, 6/3 5:30 p.m. – Akron Firestone Stadium
#5 Convoy Crestview (20-4) vs. #7 Columbiana (15-9)

2011 OHSAA Softball State Preview

Softball State Tournament Returns to Akron Firestone Stadium
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the fourth-consecutive year, the OHSAA softball state tournament returns to beautiful Firestone Stadium in Akron this weekend, where four state champions will be crowned. SportsTime Ohio will televise the four championship games on tape-delay.

Fans are reminded to allow for extra time to park and get inside the stadium due to construction on the Bridgestone-Firestone plant adjacent to the stadium. Parking is available in the grassy median along Firestone Parkway, which is just west of the stadium.

Semifinal contests will be played Thursday and Friday, with game times set for 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The championship games are set for Saturday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Division III semifinals get things started Thursday when third-ranked Baltimore Liberty Union (26-2) makes its debut in the state tournament. The Lions are one of three teams making their first appearance at state (Tipp City Tippecanoe in Division II and Columbiana in Division IV are the other two). Their opponent in the tournament lid-lifter will be sixth-ranked and defending state runner-up West Liberty-Salem (27-2). The second Division III semifinal pits a pair of unbeatens, as eighth-ranked Bellville Clear Fork (31-0), which was the state runner-up in 2009, takes on top-ranked Warren Champion (25-0), which was the state runner-up in 2006 and won state titles in 1994, 1980 and 1978.

Thursday wraps up with the Division II semifinals, beginning with a match-up of third-ranked Columbus St. Francis DeSales (26-3) against No. 1-ranked LaGrange Keystone (31-1). DeSales is making its second trip to state and first since 1982, while Keystone is making its 12th and owns two state titles (2006 and 1999). The second Division II semifinal will see fourth-ranked and state runner-up Poland Seminary (23-2) take on first-time state qualifier Tipp City Tippecanoe (27-5), which ended the season ranked fifth.

The Division I semifinals are first up on Friday, beginning with sixth-ranked and four-time state champion North Canton Hoover (27-3) against second-ranked and two-time state champion Elyria (24-4). Hoover’s titles came in 2008, 2006, 1999 and 1998, while Elyria’s titles came in 2002 and again in 2009 after finishing as the state runner-up for three-straight years. The other Division I semifinal is a match-up of seventh-ranked Gahanna Lincoln (19-10), which is making its fourth trip to state, against ninth-ranked West Chester Lakota West (21-4), which is making its third appearance and beat No. 1-ranked and rival Liberty Township Lakota East in the regional final.

The semifinals conclude Friday afternoon with Division IV, beginning with a return to the state tournament for five-time state champion Strasburg-Franklin (24-2), which finished the regular-season unranked but went on to make its 12th appearance at state. The Tigers will face another unranked team, Covington (25-4), which is making its second appearance. The second Division IV semifinal pits a fifth-ranked Convoy Crestview (20-4) squad that is making its fifth appearance at state (champion in 2005), against seventh-ranked Columbiana (15-9), which is in the state tournament for the first time.

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