By Matt Maher

CHAMPION, OH – Winning may not be everything but it certainly feels good when you do it a lot and for Coach Weaver it seems to come naturally. After her team dominated Ursuline in a 14-4 run rule game, Coach Weaver got to celebrate her 500th career win with her team on Thursday evening! “I’m on cloud 9, I’m telling Ya” said Weaver when asked to describe how she felt after the huge achievement. While the coach’s achievement is nothing short of amazing, what her team did to earn the win was as well.


The top of the first inning saw Gabby Gradishar show some elite pitching. Out of the 4 batters she faced, 3 struck out swinging and the other was left stranded on first after finding a bloop single into right field. The Golden Flashes found a pair of base runners in the bottom but couldn’t get past Lilly Ditz in the circle for Ursuline.


Gradishar continued to dominate with yet another 3 swinging strikeouts and another hit that never left first base. Once Gradishar finished her work in the top half, it was on for Champion in the bottom. 7 runs, Champion scored an impressive 7 runs with 5 straight hits until a runner was finally caught out trying to overextend herself to grab an extra base. Bella Weber, Gradishar and Addie Warzala all batted in the first 4 runs but then Bella Meyer stepped up to the plate, with 1 hit in her back pocket she had confidence brewing and found a hard hit 2-run homer to dead center that blew the doors wide open. Grace Hadley would find the 7th RBI in her second time at bat in the inning. 


Gradishar found 2 more strikeouts in the 3rd, with her K of Adyson Wendt being her first strikeout looking. Champion continued to press for offense and in the 2-hole Gradishar stepped up with 1 away and smashed the ball clear over the fence leaving no doubt that she was the MVP for this game. Sam Strock would try to 1-up Gradishar 3 batters later with a 2-run home run bringing in Meyer and herself. 


Gradishar found 2 more K’s in the 4th to continue to add to her impressive outing. The Flashes found 3 more runs thanks to a 3-run bomb courtesy of Gradishar again! Ditz did have some better luck though because before the homer, she was able to strike out Mia Nadaud who stepped in for relief of Weber. 


The 5th inning proved to be beneficial for Ursuline as they earned 4 runs to erase the double digit lead from Champion and bring it back within 9 runs. Ursuline started by filling the bases off of 2 singles and a walk and then Brooke O’Palick stepped up and drilled a shot into right-center field and doubled to score 2 runs. Next Katie Kouianos hit into a 6-3 groundout that allowed Gia Schiavone to score from third. The final run came from MacKenzie Smith who hit a single right down the third base line and scored O’Palick. Gradishar struck out 1 more Irish batter giving her 11 K’s on the day.


Champion needed just 1 run to go up by 10 and trigger the mercy rule and with Strock on 2nd thanks to a double and Haley on 1st thanks to a walk, it was Householder who would bunt the ball well between the plate and the pitcher, hustle to 1sta nd just beat the tag while Strock came in to score. After some discussion and debate the umpires stuck with their original call of safe at first and Champion not only won the game but earned their veteran Head Coach her 500th career win as well!


Champion stayed true to their towns name and got a very well earned win over Ursuline to propel themselves to 2-0 on the season while Ursuline moved to 1-2. The Player of the game was Gabby Gradishar who threw 5 IP, 11Ks, 7 H and 1 BB while also going 3-4 at the plate with 2 HR, 2B, and 5 RBI. Ursuline will be back in action on April 1st when they host Chaney at 5:00PM while Champion heads out to Geneva on March 30th for a 12:00PM game.