September 16, 2014

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Grafton Nancy’s Diner downs South Amherst Firelands to win OGSO Class B state title

Grafton Nancy's Diner players celebrate with their state trophy after downing South Amherst Firelands to win the Class B state title Saturday at Wellington Community Park. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Grafton Nancy’s Diner players celebrate with their state trophy after downing South Amherst Firelands to win the Class B state title Saturday at Wellington Community Park. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

WELLINGTON — Somebody snuck the Gatorade container to Marcella McMahon, the Grafton Nancy’s Diner pitcher, under threatening gray clouds at Community Park on Saturday.

Without need for instruction, McMahon dumped the icy contents on coach Chris West, continuing the old and accepted sports prank that says, “We just won a championship.”

Actually, the Nancy’s Diner girls did more than merely defeat South Amherst Firelands 9-2 for OGSO’s 12U Class B state title. They also completed an undefeated 20-win season in which they fell behind an opponent only twice.

Not since coach Mike Ives’ Grafton Pharmacy teams went a combined 47-0 with undefeated state championship seasons in 2003 and ’05, has a Grafton OGSO squad gone unbeaten. Ives, who watched Saturday’s game from the Grafton cheering section, is now the Midview softball coach.

“They soaked me (with Gatorade) there at the end,” the delighted West said. “But you know, I just told the girls to go out and have fun, do what they do. Because I told them that at the end of this game, there isn’t another game and to give it their all again. You have to leave it all on the field and give it all you’ve got.”

It was the second time in four days that Nancy’s pinned a one-sided loss on South Amherst Firelands. The Grafton girls defeated South Amherst 11-1 on Wednesday to win the OGSO Lorain County title.

It was also the second time this week that McMahon earned the pitching win. She hurled a four-hitter and stuck out 10 Saturday.

McMahon said she started to feel tired as the game wore on.

“But I pushed myself and told myself, ‘I’ll get there,’” she said. “This means a lot because everyone on this team enjoys the game and they all came to play today.”

Her batterymate, catcher Keirstyn Yates, was hit by a foul ball late in the game, but she stayed in.

“It’s fine now,” Yates said after the game. “I just shook it off.”

In the victory, Nancy’s got a single, triple and two RBIs from Lenae West, two singles and an RBI from Emilee Cruz, an RBI double from Yates and an RBI single from Meghan Newton.

“It was very exciting because I had struck out a couple times before that,” said Lenae West, the coach’s daughter. “I got up there and remembered how my dad always says, ‘Have confidence in yourself.’ I walked up there and said, ‘Confidence, have confidence.’ So I swung hard, pulled my elbow through and did my magic.”

Grafton’s victory margin could have been greater. But the team went scoreless after loading the bases with no outs in the first and fifth innings, and stranding three runners again in the sixth.

Nancy’s put the game out of reach in the second inning when it scored seven runs and sent 10 batters to the plate. Grafton added two insurance runs in the sixth.

South Amherst’s Ashley Strauss had three of her team’s hits, including two singles and a solo home run leading off the third inning. Emily Stewart had the team’s other hit in the second inning.

Lenae West said she and her Nancy’s teammates worked hard to win the title.

“We had confidence in ourselves the whole way,” she said. “After every game we felt better as a team. We came together, but I didn’t know we would come this far. To win the whole thing and be undefeated is just really cool.”

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

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