BUCYRUS – Six feet, the approximate distance the Lady Rams were short in tying the game in the bottom of the six at 6-6.
Coach Tony Fairchild and the Lady Rams were one of just eight teams in Division III left standing as they made the long bus trip southeast to Bucyrus to take on the #10 team in the state, the Johnstown Johnnies, in the D3 Regional 10 Final.
The Lady Rams knew they would have to play nearly flawless ball in the field as they faced the Johnnies Macy Walters, who limited the Fairview Apaches on Wednesday, allowing just one hit to the 2023 GMC Champs.
Unfortunately for Tinora, the Johnnies took advantage of two first inning errors as they sent seen batters to the plate, scoring three runs. Dakota Staffan, who had an RBI single in the first, was just getting started for Johnstown as they grabbed an early 3-0 lead.
Tinora would answer with a run themselves. Senior Anna Frazer led off with a single, and would score on Paige Gamby’s double to the wall, cutting the lead to 3-1 after one inning.
Johnstown would add two more runs in the top of the third. Dakota Staffan would hit a solo homerun to right, giving the Johnnies a 4-1 lead.
Addie Tripplet would walk, steal second base, and come around to score on another Tinora infield error, putting the Johnnies up 5-1 in the top of the third.
Tinora fought back, adding two runs in the bottom of the third to trim the lead to 5-3.
Anna Frazer would single with one out. Logan McQuillin would double, putting Lady Rams runners at second and third with two outs.
Freshman Paige Gamby, who has been clutch all season, doubled to the wall, scoring Frazer and McQuillin.
Johnstown’s Dakota Staffan would hit her second straight homerun, this time in the top of the fifth, a no doubter to left, giving the Johnnies a 6-3 lead in the top of the sixth.
Tinora, who trailed to Oak Harbor 5-0 in the District Semi Finals, would make it interesting in the bottom of the sixth.
Paige Carpenter would single with one out. After a ground out, Skylea Zolman would walk, giving Tinora two runners with two out.
Up came the Lady Rams Tegan Norden with Tinora trailing 6-3. Norden would send a blast to left center field, sending Lany Zak to the wall, Zak would reach up and seemingly take a game-tying homerun away from Norden and the Lady Rams.
Johnstown’s Macy Walters, who heading to Akron, would allow a walk in the bottom of the seventh to Anna Frazer, then retire the next two Lady Rams, giving the Johnnies a 6-3 win and a trip to the Final Four next week in Akron.
The Lady Rams magical season ends at 20-8. They were just the second team in Tinora softball history to reach the Elite Eight.
Johnstown improves to 27-2 and will play on Thursday at 10 am against Lewistown Indian Lake.
Thank you to the five seniors, Anna Frazier, Paige Carpenter, Logan McQuillin, Holmes, and Maren Pittman for all the thrills and excitement during your years as a Lady Ram softball player.
Video available on YouTube after uploading (approx midnight)
Bottom 3 pics = Mrs Wells