The recent success the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team has had at the district level continued May 23 when it won its fifth Division I district championship in seven seasons.
The third-seeded Lions scored two runs in the third and fifth innings and beat seventh-seeded Westerville Central 4-1 in a district final at Pickerington Central to move into a regional semifinal against DeSales or Big Walnut on May 29 at Ohio State.
Gahanna set a program record for wins in a season as it improved to 26-2.
In the third inning, Sarah Greulich singled, moved to second on an error and advanced to third when Central pitcher Paige McMenemy was called for an illegal pitch. Lauren Woodward then doubled down the right-field line to drive in Greulich and Becca Gavin singled to right field as Woodward scored to give Gahanna a 2-0 lead.
Central, which finished 18-8, also lost to Gahanna in a district final a year ago.
“It was all about the momentum,” Gavin said. “We knew we wanted to have high energy, so when (the illegal pitch) happened, we jumped on it.”
Central cut it to 2-1 in the fourth when Megan McMenemy singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Ciehanski, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Paige McMenemy.
With one out in the fifth, Gavin homered over the left-field fence to make it 3-1. Gahanna’s Brittany Oldaker followed with a walk and pinch-runner Jessica Darst stole second. Aly Harrell doubled down the left-field line to drive in Darst for the final run.
Alex Jander gave up just four hits while picking up the pitching victory.
Olentangy Liberty 2, Delaware 1
The Olentangy Liberty High School softball team upset Delaware 2-1 in a Division I district final on May 23 at Pickerington Central to win its first district title.
The eighth-seeded Patriots improved to 19-7 overall and the second-seeded Pacers finished 23-2 overall, as Liberty coach Bob Lee won the first district title of his 41-year coaching career.
Kristen Adkins pitched a five hitter and hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game at 1. She also scored the game-winning run in the seventh after drawing an intentional walk and later coming home on a throwing error.
Mikayla Cooper hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to put Delaware ahead 1-0.
Liberty will face Grove City or Teays Valley in a regional semifinal on Wednesday, May 28, at Ohio State.