Young Jackson sparks Oberlin to Class D win
EDINBURG — Kayla Jackson may be going into the eighth grade, but she’s hitting the ball as well as the high school seniors and juniors she’s playing with and against.
The Oberlin slugger launched a walk-off triple to the fence in right field Saturday to send the winning run home in an eight-inning 4-3 win over Deerfield as the sun began to set on Edinburg Community Park.
The victory propelled Oberlin’s Ohio Action Images into an OGSO Class D state semifinal at 3:30 p.m. today against LaBrae. A win this afternoon would put Oberlin a step away from its second straight OGSO state championship.
The Class D (18-and-under) thriller was one of two last at-bat victories by Lorain County teams in the 16-game quarterfinal round. In the other, the Class B (12-and-under) Keystone Kats pushed a run across in the bottom of the seventh inning to down Champion 8-7.
In an all-Lorain County semifinal, the Kats tangle with Midview Royal Sports and Fitness in another 3:30 game this afternoon. Midview routed Suffield Alphabet Lettering 10-2.
And to top off a successful day for Lorain County teams, the Class C (14-and-under) Columbia Lady Raiders pounded Hartford 11-5 to earn a semifinal shot at Deerfield in another 3:30 game.
Jackson’s dramatic triple sent Oberlin’s Kari Gerharding home with the winning run against Deerfield.
“She threw me a fastball,” said Jackson, who’s been playing fastpitch softball as long as she can remember. “When I hit it, I just started running. I was kind of nervous, but I just had to get it done.”
The blast came as no surprise to Gerhardinger.
“I knew she was going to hit it far because she always does,” said Gerharding, veteran member of the Oberlin High team. “I was going to steal, so I had my momentum going anyway.”
Coach Rick Twining was disappointed that his team didn’t hit well, but was confident it could bounce back after trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I told the girls going into the seventh down two, ‘We’ve been here before and we’ve won. We’re here again, let’s do it,’” he said. “I told them we haven’t produced so far this game — it’s time to produce.”
Oberlin’s two-run seventh set the stage for Gerhardinger’s walk leading off the eighth and for the heroics by Jackson, who follows her in the order.
The Lorain Xplosion got a single, double and home run from Jess Aziak in its rout of Garretsville. Alyssa Brown hit two singles and a triple, Jillian Van Wagnen a single and homer, Amber Washington two singles and Kristen Marcucci and Allison James both doubled. Nicole Myer pitched a one-hitter. The Xplosion get a shot at Edinburg in a 1 p.m. semifinal.
Amherst dropped a heartbreaker to Edinburg despite an eight-strikeout three-hitter by Jessica Sand, who issued no walks. But Edinburg’s Shannon Hamilton pitched a no-hitter.
And in an upset, LaBrae took a 6-0 lead on the South Amherst Bullets, then held on to win after the Bullets scored three runs in the sixth. South Amherst’s Erin Phillips had two hits and pitcher Caitlin Reid struck out eight.
Jenny Kus hit three singles and a double and Kalyn Thompson a single and double in Columbia’s 11-5 victory over Hartford. And Keystone Nature’s Garden dropped a 9-6 decision to Meander Baird Brothers despite a pair of doubles by Taylor Summers and two singles each by Taylor Ford and Alyson Broschk.
The Keystone Kats fought back three times against Champion before scoring in the seventh in their 8-7 thriller. Jenny Schaffer, who walked leading off the seventh, went to third on Morgan Myers infield hit, then scored the winner on an overthrow at third.
Schaffer led the offense with two singles, a double and triple, Tina Ficociello hit two singles and Morgan Myers drilled a double for the Kats.
Kailey DiMarco fired a five-inning one-hitter in North Ridgeville’s 17-2 thumping of Garfield Dairy Queen. Mariah Mattila was 2-for-2 off the bench, Jenna Yost blasted a triple and Emma Sullivan and Brittany Helmick each doubled for Ridgeville. The Rangers meet Austintown in a 1 p.m. semifinal.
And Midview Royal Sports’ Morgan Wade fired a nine-strikeout three-hitter in a 10-2 thumping of Suffield. Kim Stone hit a single and double for Midview, Amanda Beursken and Kayla Papuga each hit two singles and Lexi Smith contributed a double.
The Columbia Crushers’ Kailey Minarchick and Amanda Sedlock combined for a no-hitter in a 10-0 pasting of LaBrae. Minarchick and Kristen Bouscher hit two singles each, and Alexia Reichard and Nicole Jenny hit doubles. The Crushers take on Meander in a 1 p.m. semifinal.
Megan Salmeron and Samantha Skapin had three hits apiece and Skapin struck out 17 in North Ridgeville’s 12-3 rout of West Branch. Ridgeville takes on the Champion Indians in a semifinal at 3:30 p.m. today.
OGSO state quarterfinals
Oberlin 4, Deerfield 3 (8 innings)
LaBrae 6, South Amherst Bullets 3
Lorain Xplosion 16, Garretsville 1
Edinburg 2, Amherst Crossfires 0
Columbia Lady Raiders 11, Hartford 5
Meander Sawmill 9, Keystone Nature’s Garden 6
Lakeview 8, Ravenna Ravens 6
Deerfield Landing 2, Crestwood Devils 0
North Ridgeville Lady Rangers 17, Garfield 2
Keystone Kats 8, Champion 7
Midview royal Sports 10, Suffield 2
Austintown 5, Rootstown 0
Columbia Crushers 10, LaBrae 0
North Ridgeville 12, West Branch 3
Meander Spahlinger 6, Marlboro 3
Champion Indians 11, Crestwood 3
CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE
North Ridgeville’s Kailey DiMarco pitched the Rangers to a 17-2 win in Class B action Saturday at the OGSO state softball tournament in Edinburg.