NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Columbia Red Wagon Farm pitcher Maya Johnson wasn’t just good Monday night — she was perfect.
Johnson threw a five-inning perfect game, striking out all 15 batters she faced as Columbia defeated Keystone Sugar Ridge Towing 10-0 in an OGSO Class A (U-10) district championship game at Palmer Field.
While Johnson has been one of the top pitchers all season for Columbia, she’s never had a performance like she had Monday.
“This was my first perfect game ever so I was really excited,” said Johnson, who was unaware she had thrown a perfect game until her dad told her after the game. “I really wanted to do this with all my heart because I know how much my team wanted to win this game, and I wanted to be there for them. It was one of my dreams to throw a perfect game and I’m happy I was able to do it this season.”
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After going to a full count on the first batter, Johnson didn’t throw three balls to another until the she also went to a full count on the next-to-last batter.
“Maya was on her game tonight,” Columbia coach Jeff Lavinder said. “She has had a nice season. This is her first year being a consistent No. 1 pitcher. She’s been our ace all season long but this was by far her best game of the year.”
Rebecca Pritt, Ally Ross and Avery Lavinder each scored two runs for Red Wagon Farm (14-1).
Columbia scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second and broke the game open with a five-run third. Delaney Phares’ fifth-inning single that drove in a pair of runs ended the game early due to the mercy rule.
“When I hit the ball I felt really good about it,” Phares said of her run-scoring single. “My team has done really well this year and everyone has improved. I’m really excited for the state tournament.”
Columbia Red Wagon Farm won’t be the only Class A team representing Lorain County at the state tournament in Champion this weekend. The Amherst Wranglers also punched their ticket with a 13-3 win over South Amherst Synergy.
Madi Wormsley pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts and McKenzie Cornwell hit a fourth-inning solo home run for the Wranglers, who were Class A state runners-up a year ago.
“We set a numbers of goals before the season and winning the district championship was one of them,” Amherst coach Brian Stojkov said. “We have a few more goals we want to accomplish but this was a big one.”
Amherst scored four runs in the first inning to take the early lead and put an exclamation point on the win with four more runs in the sixth inning to end the game via the mercy rule.
“This is my first OGSO championship so I’m just experiencing this for the first time,” Wormsley said. “My team was cheering me on in the field and in the dugout and I was very confident in myself.”
Cornwell is a veteran of district championship games. She also hit a home run in last year’s district title game when Amherst defeated the same Synergy team.
“I was pretty shocked to hit a home run against the same team again this year,” she said. “I do not know how I did that. I’m very excited to go back to the state tournament. This year we are going to hit the ball better and get in front of the balls on defense. We practiced hard all year and I’m happy we get the chance to go back again.”
The Wranglers improved to 16-0.
Buckeye Cooper kept it from being a Lorain County sweep, defeating Wellington Lightning 16-3 in the other championship game.
Amherst and Columbia will face off Wednesday in the county championship game at LaGrange Community Park. The Wranglers handed Columbia Red Wagon Farm its only loss of the season, a fact that hasn’t been lost on Johnson.
“I really would like to throw another no-hitter in the county championship game, but I really just want to make sure we beat them because that was our only loss all year,” she said.
OGSO Class A (U-10) District Championship Games
- Amherst Wranglers 13, South Amherst Synergy 3
- Columbia Red Wagon Farm 10, Keystone Sugar Ridge Towing 0
- Buckeye Cooper 16, Wellington Lightning 3
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.