CHAMPION TWP. — The 2013 Amherst summer victory tour made its way to the Champion Athletic Complex on Sunday for the OGSO state quarterfinals.
Three Amherst teams took the field and three Amherst teams were victorious and remain undefeated.
In Class C (U14), the Vipers needed to score three times in the seventh inning to knock off the Champion Flashes 7-6; the Class B (U12) Avengers scored early and often en route to a 13-2 win over Edinburg; and in Class A (U10), the Wranglers only needed five innings to dispose of the Crestwood Chargers 13-1.
“There is a common philosophy among all the Amherst teams and that is to develop tough, hard-nosed softball players,” Avengers manager Doug Cogdell said. “All the way through the Amherst program we work to make the girls better and the girls work hard to continue to improve.”
It would be hard for Avengers pitcher Madison Oberg to improve on her performance from Sunday. Oberg struck out 18 Edinburg hitters and also scored a pair of runs after reaching base on an error and getting hit by a pitch.
“This is one of the better games I’ve ever pitched. I’ve thrown a perfect game before but I never had 18 strikeouts … it was really cool,” Oberg said. “My fastballs and change-ups were both really working today. Everybody on the team is really excited to play in the state tournament — last year we were one game away. We know we’re going to have to practice hitting against some faster pitching before next week.”
All of Sunday’s game were originally scheduled for the day before, but were pushed back a day by the heavy rains that washed through the area early Saturday morning.
The delay didn’t bother the Avengers, who scored six runs in the first inning.
“The first inning took the pressure off because we were up by so many runs we were playing with a lot of confidence,” said Courtney Cogdell, who went 3-for-4 with two runs. “It’s hard to time up pitchers you’ve never seen before and it was even harder when they changed pitchers a few times, but I just believed in myself that I would hit.”
Everybody in the Wranglers lineup scored at least one run Sunday as the teams pushed across five runs in both the third and fourth innings.
“I felt like it was important for me to get on base and get thing going so we could rattle their pitcher,” Wranglers leadoff hitter Eliza Stojkov said. “We were confident going into the game. I am proud of how we played today. Yesterday I was mad that we couldn’t play because of the rain, but I knew whenever it happened we would be OK.”
The three Amherst teams — Wranglers (18-0), Avengers (17-0) and Vipers (15-0) — are a combined 50-0 this season.
“It was a good team effort today,” Wranglers coach Brian Stojkov said. “Some of the girls who have been in slumps hit today and we took advantage of some of their mistakes.”
The Wranglers got seven hits — four of which were doubles — and two each off the bats of Kylee McGraw and Madison Wormsley.
“We’ve had a good offense all season and when one person gets a hit and gets on base it gets everyone else pumped up,” Wormsley said.
Two more Lorain County squads will be joining the trio of Amherst teams in Saturday’s semifinals. The Class B Lorain Dirt Devils came back from five runs down to stun the Crestwood Heat 6-5, and the Class A Columbia Red Wagon Farm defeated Garrettsville Cal’s Gals 11-1 in five innings.
The Dirt Devils (15-2) didn’t get their offense in gear until the fifth inning when they scored a run to make it 5-1. They followed with four more runs in the sixth to tie the game and set the stage for some last at-bat heroics.
“This was our first state tournament. We didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know anything about the team we were facing,” Dirt Devils manager Javier Marcano said. “We were in shock mode, but I have faith in these girls and told them what I’ve been telling them all season, ‘One inning, one run at time.’ Don’t get me wrong I’d love to have one of those 10-run wins, but this is how we’ve been doing it all year.”
With two outs in the seventh inning, Ariana Vazquez reached base on a fielding error to start the Lorain rally. Vazquez stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored the game winner on a single from Alexis Garcia.
“I was thinking, ‘I can do this,’ when I went up to bat,” Garcia said. “It’s a good feeling to know we did this. After the final out, when I realized we really just won this game, I felt like I just went to the moon and back.”
Red Wagon Farm’s first five batters reached base and scored on two walks and three hits, and pitcher Maya Johnson threw a one-hitter while striking out 12.
“I was so nervous before the game that I didn’t even eat lunch because I knew that if we lost today it was all over,” Johnson said. “I figured it must have been a pretty good team we were facing because they made it to state, too. It’s really exciting to get this far because last year we got knocked out of the tournament in the first round and everyone was so upset and I felt like I let my team down. I worked hard all year to get here and it was great to see us win today.”
Columbia catcher Allyson Ross said there is a big difference in this year’s team compared to the team that made an early exit in 2012.
“This year Maya is a way better pitcher and most of us are playing on travel teams now, too,” Ross said. “So we are all better than we were last year. Now we just have to practice hard for one more week and win two more games.”
It was the end of the road for three area Class C teams. Keystone Halleen Kia lost to Waterloo by a score of 4-1, Mogadore was a 3-0 winner over Lorain Cruz and the Garrettsville Jags defeated South Amherst/Firelands 10-0.
The semifinals in all four OGSO divisions will be played on July 27. The finals and consolation games are scheduled for July 28.
Class C (U14)
- Amherst Vipers 7, Champion Flashes 6
- Garrettsville Jags 10, South Amherst/Firelands 0
- Mogadore 3, Lorain Cruz 0
- Waterloo 4, Keystone Halleen Kia 1
Class B (U12)
- Champion Flashes 11, G-Ville Seans Pups 2
- Amherst Avengers 13, Edinburg 2
- Lorain Dirt Devils 6, Crestwood Heat 5
- LaBrae Vikings 6, Medina Heat 5
Class A (U10)
- Champion Indians 9, Suffield Walnut Drive 0
- Amherst Wranglers 13, Crestwood Chargers 1
- Columbia Red Wagon Farm 11, Garrettsville Cal’s Gals 1
- Buckeye Cooper 16, Mogadore Fire 1
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.