AKRON — The state of Ohio will be represented in today’s Central Regional Little League Junior Softball championship game, but it won’t be Elyria East playing for a trip to Kirkland, Wash.
Walks, errors and missed opportunities equaled doom for Elyria East’s title hopes Tuesday as it lost to Canfield 9-2 in a semifinal game at Firestone Stadium.
Elyria East came into the game having won three of its four games in pool play but quickly fell behind Canfield, which qualified for the tournament by winning the Ohio state championship.
Canfield’s Ally Sammarco led off the game with a single and, after two walks loaded the bases, scored when Elyria East catcher Kodi Akers was unable to corral a high throw on an attempted force play at home plate.
An inning later, Canfield sent 10 batters to the plate while scoring five runs to take a 6-0 lead and complete control of the game. Seven of the first eight batters in the inning reached base on four hits and three walks — two of those walks coming with the bases loaded.
“We just didn’t have our best game today,” said an emotional Elyria East manager Mike Ellis. “Our pitchers gave up some walks, we made some mistakes and Canfield took advantage of everything. We played hard today but we were just never able to extend an inning or really make anything happen.”
Elyria East got on the board in the third inning when Macy Taylor led off with a walk, then advanced to third with the aid of an interference call against shortstop Mia Kindinis on Lauren Shaw’s one-out single to right.
Sammie Stefan continued to swing a hot bat, singling home Taylor to make the score 6-1. Stefan was 3-for-4 with three singles and scored East’s second run on a passed ball in the fifth inning.
Pitcher Elizabeth Ellis, the only veteran of Elyria East’s 2012 regional team, allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits over four innings. She also walked four. Shaw took over in relief and allowed three runs in two innings.
“All of these girls are used to playing in tournaments where they play multiple games over a period of a few days but they were asked to play different roles here,” Ellis said. “When you have to get everybody in the game and you are asking people to pitch two or three innings at a time it makes it harder. That’s what I love about Little League though.”
Elyria East outhit Canfield 10-9 and left 11 runners on base, including six in scoring position. East loaded the bases in the seventh inning on singles by Stefan, Emily Bobek and Kaylee Hummrich but a double play ended a chance at a late rally.
Canfield will face South Portage, Mich., in the championship game at 1 p.m., while Elyria East will face Zionsville, Ind., in the consolation game at 10 a.m.
“That’s the silver lining, if there is one, is that we get to come back again and play one more game as a team,” Mike Ellis said. “We still have the chance to win our final game and walk off the field as winners.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: Central Regional Little League Junior softball tournament
CONSOLATION GAME: Elyria East vs. Indiana
TIME: 10 a.m.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Canfield vs. Michigan
TIME: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Firestone Stadium, Akron