The Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning on its way to a 9-1 win over Westerville Central in a Division I district final May 24 at Pickerington Central.
It marks the second district championship in three seasons for the sixth-seeded Lions, who improved to 24-6 and advanced to play North Canton Hoover in a regional semifinal May 30 at Ohio State.
The 11th-seeded Warhawks finished 20-7.
In 2011, Gahanna defeated Delaware 7-5 in a district final and went on to reach the state final, where it lost to Hoover 4-2.
The Lions took advantage of two Westerville Central errors in their first at-bat, getting a two-run single by first baseman Destiney Darst. In the second inning, center fielder T’awnna Morris doubled and scored on a double by third baseman Brittany Oldaker to extend Gahanna's lead to 5-0.
“This is extraordinary. It’s crazy,” Morris said of winning a district title. “We have a lot of chemistry. I love (my teammates). They’re all special to me. I’ve been good friends with them for years.”
Westerville Central scored its lone run in the top of the third to make it 5-1, as right fielder Morgan Ciehanski singled to drive in shortstop Perry Wallinger, who had led off the inning with a double.
Gahanna added two runs in the fifth and two in the sixth to pull away. Oldaker, who hit two home runs in a 9-2 win over third-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal May 21, homered in the sixth.
Emmalee Harding pitched a complete game for the Lions, allowing five hits and no walks while recording six strikeouts. Warhawks pitcher Paige McMenemy allowed eight hits and five walks and had four strikeouts.