August 23, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
77°F
test

ASA U18 state tournament: Locals fall just short as Swarm wins title

ELYRIA — Dagmar Smith of Black River finally got the offense going with a two-run, sixth-inning single Sunday night.

But for Smith and the U18 MC Madness Black team, it wasn’t enough.

Madness Black couldn’t score again as it tried to fight out of the losers bracket of the ASA state tournament under the lights at West Park. Madness Black, with five area players on its roster, dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ohio Swarm of Marysville in the Columbus area.

More photos below.

The team, coached by Baldwin Wallace assistant and former Keystone assistant Gary Saunders, finished the tourney with an 18-4 season record, which includes two tournament championships. It will play in a tournament at North Royalton next weekend.

With its victory, Ohio Swarm vaulted into the championship round against Northern Ohio Softball of Eastlake. Northern Ohio, which handed Madness Black its first loss of the double-elimination tourney earlier Sunday, went on to win the state title with a 3-2 victory over Ohio Swarm.

Northern Ohio Softball, Ohio Swarm and Madness Black all earned invitations to ASA’s U18 national tournament in Salem, Va., set for July 28-Aug. 4. The Ohio Lasers Silver squad also qualified for nationals, but declined the invitation for unspecified reasons.

A substitute team will be determined.

Smith, who will play at Ursuline College next season, put Madness Black fans on their feet when her two-RBI single made it a 3-2 game in the sixth. But it was one of their few bright moments.

Others from the area on the Madness Black team are Columbia’s Emma Sullivan, who will play at BW; former Firelands pitcher Sam Dostall of Firelands, who is also a BW recruit; Amanda Buersken, a Midview senior-to-be; Vermilion’s Kate Lynn Urgo, who will attend Lake Erie College in Painesville; and Kay Lee Fox of Vermilion, who plays at Milan Edison.

Northern Ohio’s victory marked the end of the three-day tournament, which ran flawlessly despite intermittent rain that put the action behind schedule each day. It attracted up to 2,000 people to Elyria for the weekend, and big crowds watched the action on West Park’s four diamonds each day.

“It was very successful,” tournament director Garry Mason said. “We had a lot of compliments about our umpires and our field and how the complex was just top-notch. I couldn’t be happier. The quality of teams, the quality of play, the concessions and the fans themselves were great.”

The event also generated some income for the city, Mason said. The park concession stand was operated by the MC Madness organization, which paid the city a user fee. T-shirt and fish-and-chips vendors paid a percentage of sales, and Liberty Ford of northeast Ohio made a donation toward trophies, balls and umpire fees.

Elyria has already been awarded ASA’s state tournament for U10-12 teams next June at West Park.

“We’ll start planning for that in early January,” said Mason, who is an Elyria Parks and Recreation Department activities supervisor.

Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or softball@bobdaniels.info.

Click any photo to view larger: