AKRON — The Grove City High School softball team’s pursuit of a Division I state championship came to an end in a 6-1 loss to North Canton Hoover in the state title game June 7 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
It was the Vikings’ fourth consecutive state title.
Grove City finished the season 26-7 and Hoover finished 29-3.
“We knew coming into the game that we were going to have to play at the top of our game,” Grove City coach Ted Williams said. “We missed a couple opportunities – probably more than a couple – that if we get a little two-out hit maybe things would be a little different.”
Hoover has eliminated Grove City from the postseason the past three seasons. In 2012, the Vikings defeated the Greyhounds 3-1 in a regional semifinal. Last season, Hoover defeated Grove City 4-1 in a regional final.
Hoover took control early in the third meeting, jumping out a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Kathleen Shier’s three-run home run to left against Grove City senior pitcher Emma Cornell.
“I know first inning going down three is surely not what we wanted to do,” Williams said. “We would like to turn that around a little bit.”
The Vikings added a run in the third on Shier’s run-scoring double and tacked on two in the fourth on Jenna Dilley’s two-run double.
Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, they Greyhounds threatened against winning pitcher Tara Thacker, as they loaded the bases with one out but couldn’t score.
Grove City got on the scoreboard in the sixth on Kennedy Beach’s RBI double.
Cornell closed her career at Grove City by pitching 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs, six hits, striking out five and walking two. Cornell, who singled twice, finished the season 17-4.
Senior Jordan Kennaw relieved Cornell in the fourth and allowed no runs on three hits and walked one in 2 1/3 innings.
Thacker, who improved to 26-3, went the distance, allowing eight hits, striking out eight and walking two.
Shier homered, doubled, singled and drove in four runs.