HENRIETTA TWP. — There was hardly a dry eye in the gym Friday afternoon after Judy Dostall called her Firelands softball players together and told them this is her final season as coach.
They might have been downhearted at the time, but the Falcons responded well three days later.
On Monday, with Dostall’s daughter, Sam, scattering five hits and striking out five, Firelands gave defending state champion Keystone fits before dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker. The difference was an unearned run.
The elder Dostall’s stepping down as coach doesn’t mean she’s giving up on the sport. Sam will be playing for Baldwin-Wallace next season, and her mother wants to attend as many games as possible.
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“She’s been recruited by BW,” she said. “They told us she’ll be the No. 1 pitcher and I want to watch her play. The last four years went by very fast, and I don’t want to miss her games in the next four years.”
Sam Dostall said she was attracted to BW by its education program and the warm welcome she received from coach Tom Spencer and Yellowjackets players on a campus visit.
“I want to focus on special education with a math minor,” she said, noting she’s been involved with special-ed students through a Firelands student leadership program. “I’ve enjoyed that.”
The Yellowjackets’ Spencer said he’s looking forward to having her.
“I’m as excited to have Sam as any recruit I’ve ever had,” he said by phone. “We have a very good recruiting class and Sam was one we really wanted.”
Sam has been playing softball since she was on a tee ball team at age 4. Later, she became a catcher and didn’t start to pitch until she was nine. She looked back over the years.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” she said of playing for her mother. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s been good.”
She starred in her most memorable game. On May 15 last year, she pitched a 13-strikeout two-hitter and drove in the only run in a 1-0 district semifinal victory over Clearview. It was her mom’s first district-level win.
Judy Dostall, who’s in her ninth year, succeeded the late Jim Solomon, who retired after the 2004 season. She was no stranger to Firelands sports. She had been Solomon’s junior-varsity coach the previous 10 years. Also, she and her husband, Jim, coached the girls basketball team for three seasons, winning back-to-back titles in the old Lorain County Conference.
Dostall is a 1983 graduate of Lorain Admiral King, where she earned 10 varsity letters, three in softball, four in basketball and three in tennis. The Dostalls have another daughter, Stephanie, 16.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.