AKRON OH- Momentum is a very real element of sports, and that was never more evident than in Sunday’s Division III State Championship game that saw South Range lose their grip of the game and fall to Fairview 10-0 in 6 innings.
The game started innocently enough, Bree Kohler worked around a 2 out single in the first, and on offense the Raiders hit a couple of hard hit balls for outs in a 1-2-3 inning. However, in the second inning the tides of the game would start to shift. An error opened the frame, and it appeared the Raiders might avoid it costing them, but a pair of two out hits would spark Fairview’s high powered offense and put them up 2-0.
The Raiders had what might have been their best scoring opportunity in the bottom of the inning. A pair of singles put two on with two outs. However, Fairview locked down the third out on a lazy infield pop up.
The Apache would grab full control of the game with a 4 run explosion in the 3rd. The inning opened with three straight hits, and then Fairview showed off their ability for situational hitting with some RBI groundouts. By the end of the 3rd, the Fairview fan base was rocking Firestone stadium.
Gretchen Bartels gave the Raiders their last gasp of life with a lead off double in the bottom of the third. A golden chance for the Raiders to respond. But to the Apache’s credit their defense once again locked down with runners on base. The same defense that made 5 errors in their state semifinal win over Wheelersburg played like a team of gold gloves in the championship.
The Raiders earned their second state runner up trophy in the program’s history. They tied the program record for most wins in a season with 30. For the first time, the Raiders earned a NE8 championship. They say goodbye to seniors Bree Kohler and Jillian Strecansky, but the horizon still looks bright for South Range.