September 17, 2014

Elyria
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NSA state championships: Elyria all-stars can’t catch up

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — For the players in the U12 Class B final at the NSA Ohio State Championships, the title game may have felt like just another Sunday at the ballpark.

After all, it was the third time in four weekends that Elyria and MC Madness were doing battle to see which team would take home the biggest trophy.

MC Madness scored in each of the first four innings to build a seven-run lead and cruised to a 13-6 win at Victory Sports Park. MC Madness has won two of the three meeting between the teams this season.

Elyria’s Faith Hamilton, who had a double, RBI and reached base in all four plate appearances, said the teams have started to build quite a rivalry.

“We always look forward to facing MC Madness because we know they’re a good team and we want to beat them again,” Hamilton said. “Some of the games against them have been easier because we were able to hit the ball. Sometimes we have a hard time hitting against them, but we always know we have to play with a high energy level.”

Hamilton and the rest of her team, which is comprised of all-stars from Elyria East Little League, might have been caught looking ahead to the Little League district tournament which begins today at Tallmadge.

“A big part of what we were doing this weekend was getting out kids ready for the Little League Tournament,” Elyria coach Len Howser said. “A big focus for these kids is to hone their skills so they have that chance, that dream, of advancing to the Little League World Series and play on ESPN.”

Although Elyria has a bigger goal, it wasn’t about to roll over against MC Madness. Elyria scored two runs in the third inning after getting its first four batters on base to begin the inning. Hamilton drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk and Morgan Phares was hit by a pitch allowing Gabby Shackelford to score.

Gabby Zerbini, Damia Parks and April Howser led off the sixth inning with consecutive singles and all come around to score, cutting the lead to 10-6. However, MC Madness answered with three more runs in the seventh to extend its lead.

Both teams were forced to play four games Sunday as the tournament directors struggled to get back on schedule after rain and wet field conditions forced the cancellation of all of Saturday’s action.

“It becomes a battle of wills and who wants it more,” Howser said of tournament play. “Our kids did a good job. We were just a few hits from turning the course of the game. We made some mental errors and had too many defensive mistakes, and we need to learn from those, but what’s most important to me was to see the kids never stopped fighting.”

There was a scary moment in the sixth inning when Elyria first baseman Becca Kubisen was knocked down while making a play. Kubisen hit her head on the ground and the game was delayed for almost a half-hour while emergency medical personnel attended to her.

The NSA State tournament included five age divisions with games played over the weekend at Victory Sports Park’s eight fields as well as at North Ridgeville’s Shady Drive sports complex.

NSA Ohio State Champions

  • U-12 A: Lady Vipers
  • U-12 B: MC Madness
  • U-14 A: Ohio Power Black
  • U-14 B: Ohio Power Red
  • U-16 A: Wolfpack
  • U-16 B: Ohio Power
  • U-18: Diamond Dawgs

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.