EDINBURG — Teams from Lorain County will win three of four OGSO state championships next weekend.
The near-sweep was assured Sunday when an original field of 32 state quarterfinalists was pared to eight in the semifinal round — six from Lorain County. Two of the six are from North Ridgeville.
The Ridgeville’s Lady Rangers pounded Austintown 11-1 in Sunday’s action, advancing against Midview Royal Fitness in Class B. Ridgeville’s Class A team ousted Champion 4-1 to earn a title-game date with the Columbia Crushers.
In a Sunday headliner, Oberlin’s Ohio Action Images nipped LaBrae 1-0 with a seventh-inning run to set up a meeting with the Lorain Xplosion in Class D. Action Images is the defending Class D state champ.
Only in Class C does the county lack representation. In that age group, Meander Baird Brothers will face Deerfield of Portage County for the crown. Class A is for players 9-10, Class B 11-12, Class C 13-14 and Class D 15-18.
Championship games are scheduled for Saturday, starting with the Class A game at 4 p.m. They continue through the divisions starting at 15-minute intervals.
Reliever Kelly Eberhardt, who earned the pitching victory, also set the stage for Oberlin’s win when she lashed a double to right field with one out in the top of the seventh inning of a scoreless game.
Cheryl Lindsly, running for Eberhardt, went to third when Alyssa Garcia followed with a fly to center the LaBrae outfield couldn’t handle. Lindsly scored the winner when the LaBrae defense overthrew third base on the same play.
Lindsly knew her assignment when she trotted out to run for Eberhardt.
“I was thinking, ‘I better score because this is it,’” she said. “I was running and when I got to third I thought, ‘Oh gee, this is going to be close and I might have to slide,’ but she overthrew it. When I scored I was thinking we got it, we’re back in the championship game.”
Eberhardt wasn’t overly concerned when she went to the circle for the bottom of the seventh.
“I was confident but not overconfident,” she said. “They’re a good hitting team, but it was the end of their lineup so I wasn’t as nervous as I would have been if it was the (top) of the lineup.”
Eberhardt walked Edinburg’s leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh, then struck out the next three to end it.
“I didn’t want to throw her anything too good, so I didn’t feel bad about walking her,” she said. “I didn’t want to throw her one right down the middle.”
Garcia hit a single and double to lead the Oberlin offense and Brianna Stevenson also drilled a double. Stevenson said she’s looking forward to a rubber match with the Lorain Xplosion. The teams split one-run decisions in two previous meetings this season.
“We beat them in the county championship game, which made us No. 1 in the county,” Stevenson said. “But they’re a really good team, but I think we’re going to come out on top. We had a lot of errors in both games, so as long as we cut down on our errors and keep our heads in the game we’ll be fine.”
Earlier, the Xplosion and Edinburg battled through most of six innings tied at 1. Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Xplosion’s Alyssa Brown led off with a single to center and Jillian Van Wagnen drilled an RBI triple to center. Ashley Schafer sent Van Wagnen home with a double to right field, and Schafer scored when the Edinburg infield failed to handle Allison James’ hard grounder.
Schafer’s single and double led the Lorain offense. Nicole Myers earned the victory with six strikeouts.
Keystone’s Kats took a 2-0 first-inning lead on Midview Royal Fitness and held it until the fourth, when Midview scored a pair of its own. Midview then put up a three-spot in the fifth and held on to win 5-2. Keystone had runners at second and third with no out in the bottom of the seventh, but Midview pitcher Kim Stone and the defense slammed the door.
Midview was down two runs in the fourth when Kelsey Gordon singled, Christine Schmittgen was hit by a pitch and Amanda Beursken doubled them home to tie the score. In the fifth, Kayla Papuga singled, Harley Gribben reached on a bunt, Schmittgen singled and all eventually scored to put it out of reach.
“Just like earlier in the year, we had to come back, got some breaks and we got ahead of a great team,” said Midview manager Matt Thomas. “Our kids came back and did what they had to do. Give Keystone a lot of credit, but our kids have championship heart.”
Pitcher Kim Stone struck out seven and had strong defensive help from second baseman Megan Wade, who figured in six of the outs recorded by the infield, and shortstop Lexi Smith, who was involved in three, including the final out.
Smith said she was a little apprehensive when the final play went her way.
“I was a little nervous, because if I made an error they would score,” she said. “I knew I had to get the out. Defense is very important because if you don’t do it in the field, you have errors, they score runs and you’re down in the game.”
In the other Class B game, Brittany Helmink hit a single and double to power Ridgeville’s 11-1 rout of Austintown. Cierra Mytnick had two singles and two stolen bases, Emma Sullivan and Lexi Hamker two singles apiece and Hamker struck out eight batters.
Columbia’s Crushers scored twice in the eighth inning to knock off Meander Spahlinger 6-4. Taylor Napoli and Nicolle Jenny hit doubles for the Crushers.
And North Ridgeville’s Nicole Andrews hurled a no-hitter in a 4-1 victory over Champion. She struck out 16 and walked only one. Megan Salmeron led the Ridgeville offense with three singles.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OGSO state semifinals
Lorain Xplosion 4, Edinburg 1
Oberlin Ohio Action Images 1, LaBrae 0
Meander Baird Brothers 4, Lakeview 2
Deerfield 2, Columbia 1
North Ridgeville Lady Rangers 11, Austintown 1
Midview Royal Fitness 5, Keystone Kats 2
Columbia Crushers 6, Meander Spahlinger 4 (8 innings)
North Ridgeville 4, Champion 1
Saturday state finals
(Rain date Sunday)
Columbia vs. North Ridgeville, 4 p.m.
North Ridgeville vs. Midview, 4:15
Meander Baird vs. Deerfield, 4:30
Lorain Xplosion vs. Oberlin Action Images, 4:45
Carl Sullenberger / Chronicle
Catcher Kayla Papuga hugs pitcher Kim Stone as Amanda Beursken joins the celebration Sunday after Midview Royal Fitness beat Keystone Kats 5-2 in Class B.