AKRON — Every time the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team began to creep back into it, Elyria had an answer in a Division I state semifinal June 1 at Firestone Stadium.
The Lions had the tying run at the plate with no outs in the seventh inning but weren’t able to take advantage and lost 6-4.
Gahanna finished 25-6, while Elyria improved to 21-4 and advanced to the championship game June 3 against North Canton Hoover or Lebanon.
“I thought we came in a little nervous and made a few mistakes early, but as far as preparation, we were definitely ready for it,” Lions coach Jim Campolo said.
Elyria used an error and a passed ball to create its first run in the bottom of the first inning.
Then in the third, the Pioneers’ Riley Zana singled, Maycee Godbolt had an RBI double and Dierra Hammons had an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0.
Lions third baseman Addie Kittel hit a solo home run to right field in the top of the fourth, but Elyria answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, as Zana and Madison Cruzado both had an RBI double to make it 5-1.
In the sixth, Gahanna’s Lauren Ringhiser singled and Kittel smashed a two-run home run to left field to make it 5-3.
In the bottom of the inning, the Pioneers scored their final run on a bases-loaded walk.
In the top of the seventh, Gahanna’s Mackenzie Soma led off with a walk and scored on a triple to left field by Kristen Zink.
Lauren Woodward then flied out to left and Zink tried to score but was thrown out at the plate by the Pioneers’ Mallory Phares.
“It was totally my fault because I said ‘no,’ but (Zink) thought I said ‘go’ and it was hard to hear with the crowd,” Campolo said. “Her run didn’t mean anything because we were still down by two.”