WELLINGTON — Nine teams from Lorain County and one from Medina County join the battle for OGSO state championships starting Saturday morning at Community Park.
These teams were winners last week of Lorain-Medina district titles in four age groups — Class A (10-and-under), Class B (12-under), Class C (14-under) and Class D (18-under).
Winners of games in Saturday’s quarterfinal round in Classes A, B and C are scheduled to return Sunday for the semifinals.
An unusually small field of four Class D teams will open play at the semifinal level Sunday.
State championship and third-place games in all age groups are scheduled for July 28, also at Wellington Community Park.
Two games this weekend are of special interest.
The Class D Sheffield Crusaders (12-4), coached by Tony Contreras, are the first Sheffield team ever to advance to the state tournament. The Crusaders will take on Portage Mathews at 4 p.m. Sunday.
“They’re very excited,” Contreras said of his team’s outlook. “This is my fourth year coaching most of these girls. They’re buying into it and doing well.”
He also said the team is doing nothing out of the ordinary to prepare for its first state tournament appearance.
“We’re just trying to do the same things we’ve been doing,” he said. “We can’t get too much batting practice or hit too many flies and grounders.”
Also vying for a Class D state crown are the undefeated Columbia Raiders (17-0), coached by Tom Bowes. The Raiders will tangle with Portage Western Reserve at 1 p.m. Sunday.
And in Class B, two teams from the Keystone school district are in action Saturday. Keystone Halleen (14-2-1), coached by Kim Carter, will take on the LaBrae Vikings at 3 p.m. Keystone Kohlmyer (17-1), coached by Debbie Piazza, takes on the Mogadore Purple Hornets at 5:30.
If both win, they’re expected to draw a big crowd for their semifinal at 4 p.m. Sunday with a spot in the championship game at stake. Carter said the teams did not play during the regular season, but they practiced together.
“The girls all know each other and they go to the same school, so it should be a nice, friendly game,” she said. “They’re absolutely excited about it. We’ve been working on our defense a lot, because I think sometimes it comes down to which team makes the most errors.”
Other Lorain-Medina teams in the state tournament are the Amherst Wranglers and Wellington Heat in Class A; the Columbia Crushers along with the two Keystone teams in Class B, and Grafton Horizon, Columbia and Buckeye in Class C.
The Class D Lorain Explosion was the only Lorain County team to win a state championship last season. And it was the first to win one since three of the four winners were from the county in 2008 and 2007. County teams went without titles in 2009 and 2010.
Amherst Wranglers vs. Garrettsville, 10 a.m.
Wellington Heat vs. Suffield, 5:30 p.m.
Columbia Crushers vs. Portage Photo, 10 a.m.
Keystone Halleen vs. LaBrae Vikings, 3 p.m.
Keystone Kohlmyer vs. Mogadore Hornets, 5:30
Grafton Verizon vs. Portage Jags, 10 a.m.
Columbia vs. Deerfield, 3 p.m.
Buckeye vs. Ravenna, 5:30
Class D Semifinals
Columbia Raiders vs. Portage Western Reserve, 1 p.m.
Sheffield Crushers vs. Portage Mathews, 4