The 2023 Tinora Lady Rams softball team had a remarkable season that recently ended a few Saturday’s ago in Bucyrus. The team’s bus rides and meals may have concluded, the seniors have graduated, but their fans were left with a multitude of cherished memories. This season will be remembered as one of Tinora softball’s finest.
Entering the ’23 season, the Tinora Lady Rams softball team had a few team goals this season, defend their GMC title, and get to the OHSAA softball Championships in Akron.
The ’23 Tinora softball team was preparing to move forward despite the loss of their sole senior, Quinn Horn, who graduated from the Regional Semi-Finalist team of the previous season. This team boasted an impressive record of 19-4 and a 7-0 GMC championship.
The 2022 Lady Rams received numerous post-season awards. Scylea Zolman was named Player of the Year in the Crescent News, while Coach Fairchild received Coach of the Year. Zolman also earned the title of GMC Player of the Year, and Horn was recognized as first-team GMC.
The team faced a tough start when senior slugger De’Vona Holmes was ruled out for the season due to injury. Holmes had been a very valuable player the previous season, batting .468, hitting 8 HR, and driving in 31 runs as a junior, earning a spot on the 2nd team all GMC selection.
The Lady Rams started the season with two wins against Division 1 opponents, Bowling Green & Findlay.
Game 3 saw the neighboring Bulldogs of Defiance come to Tinora and come away with a 6-4 win over Tinora.
In game 4, a very good Elmwood team came in and destroyed the Lady Rams, 21-3, dropping Tinora to 2-2 to start the 2023 season. Looking back, this loss may have been an eye-opener for the Lady Rams as the season would progress.
Tinora would get four straight wins in the next four games, wins over Paulding, Wauseon, Continental, and Wayne Trace, bringing their record to 6-2 through the first third of the season.
A few rough waves were in store for the Lady Rams as they would face two of the better teams in NWO, Fairview, and Springfield, both of whom would make it to the Elite Eight by the season’s end.
The Lady Rams saw their defense of the GMC title suffer a hit with a heartbreaking 1-0, 9-inning loss at Fairview, dropping their record to 6-3.
Up next was the #1 team in the state in DIV 1 at the time, the Springfield Blue Devils, who also have been one of the better teams in the nation the past few seasons, peaking at #5
The Lady Rams played a very good game, despite losing 5-0, it gave the team a bit of confidence moving forward they could play with the best of the best.
Even with dropping two straight games and falling to 6-4 overall, the Lady Rams did pick up a bit of self-assurance and satisfaction knowing they just played two of the best teams in the state and had a chance of winning one, if not both games.
Tinora would rip off a mid-season seven-game winning streak. During the streak, the Lady Rams defeated four GMC opponents, including an 11-2 road win over another Elite Eight-bound opponent, the Edgerton Bulldogs.
The Lady Rams would stand at 13-4 two-thirds through the 2023 campaign.
Amid the streak came a Saturday in Leipsic where Scylea Zolman would hurl a no-hitter against the Vikings.
A road trip to Hilltop would cause a bit of heartburn. Leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Rams would learn the hard way, committing three errors in the inning, falling to a very good Lady Cadets team, 4-3.
Tinora would rebound with a 15-5 win over Swanton before traveling into Indiana to take on the 2022 Indiana State Champions, the Eastside Blazers. Again, despite losing to the Blazers 4-1, the Lady Rams proved they belonged on the same field as Eastside. Eastside would go on to a record of 30-3, losing in the Indiana State Semifinals.
Two straight wins over Napoleon and Swanton would put the Lady Rams at 16-6. The regular season meeting with Swanton on May 6 was Senior Day at Tinora. In a moment that saw very few dry eyes, Senior De’Vona Holmes would suit up and get a chance at the plate, smashing a liner to right field for a hit. Holmes exited with hugs from Coach Fairchild and her teammates as she returned to the Tinora dugout.
A late-season meeting with another powerhouse, Bryan, who came in at 20-1, resulted in a 7-2 loss. But again, the Lady Rams proved they can play with the big dogs, despite the loss.
The Tinora Lady Rams postseason run began as the #3 seed and a second meeting with Swanton, Tinora, and Scylea Zolman got the Lady Rams off to a good start with the Sectional Title with a 6-0 win over the Bulldogs. The Lady Rams would score 5 runs in the first inning, and Zolman would help her own cause with a three-run home run.
The Lady Rams would head to the District Semis and to their home away from home in Holland, to the Springfield softball complex to take on the #1 seeded Oak Harbor Rockets. After falling behind 5-0 after four innings, Tinora exploded for seven runs to grab a 7-5 lead. The Rockets would come back to tie the game at 7-7 before the Lady Rams Scylea Zolman would hit her second home run of the game, giving Tinora a 9-8 win over the top seed in the district.
Oak Harbor would have the winning runs on base in the final inning with just one out. Zolman got the Rockets to ground into a game-ending double play in the thrilling win.
Tinora would advance to the District Finals for the second straight season, this time playing Eastwood, the #2 seed. The Lady Rams left little in the tank as they scored 14 runs in the first three innings on their way to a 5-inning 14-4 win. Paige Gamby would explode with two home runs and 5 RBI in the win.
The Lady Rams would play Edgerton again in a regular season game, a playoff tune-up. Tinora, in 58 minutes, would defeat the Bulldogs 2-0 in a fantastic game by both Elite Eight teams.
The Lady Rams would advance to the Regionals for the third time in the last seven years, and Tinora would be heading to Bucyrus to take on the Huron Chiefs.
Scylea Zolman would pitch a one-hitter in a dominating performance and the Lady Rams would head to the Regional Finals with a 3-0 win over Huron. Anna Frazer would score a run in the first, and Paige Carpenter and Zolman would add RBIs in the seventh on the way to the shutout win.
Tinora would face the powerful Johnstown Johnnies for a trip to State and the Final Four.
The Johnnies would jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, Tinora would answer, cutting the lead to 3-1 before Johnston’s Dakota Staffan would hit two home runs, putting the Johnnies up 5-1.
The Lady Rams would not go away, cutting the lead to 5-3 midway through the game.
With Johnstown leading 6-3, the Lady Rams would threaten in the top of the sixth. With two Lady Rams on base, Tegan Norden would put a change into a Macy Walters pitch, sending it to deep left-center field. Unfortunately for Tinora, Johnstown center fielder Addy Zak appeared to steal a three-run homerun away from Norden and the Lady Rams.
Walters and the Johnnies would end the Lady Rams season with a 6-3 win, advancing to Akron and the Final Four before losing 3-0 to Indian Lake, 3-0.
Tinora saw their season end at 20-8, 6-1 in the GMC.
Coach Fairchild and the Tinora softball program proved they would play anyone at any time. Scheduling games against D1 teams and proven winners, Tinora and Coach Fairchild want to play the best to be the best.
Atop the Tinora lineup was senior center fielder Anna Frazer, Frazer was the key that started the Lady Rams motor. Frazer, always playing with a smile, led the Lady Rams in steals with 32, hits with 50, runs with 38, and average with .510. Anna was selected as a first-team All-GMC as well as first-team All-District to cap her fantastic season.
Tinora second baseman Logan McQuillin never saw a play she didn’t think she couldn’t make. Willing to run through a wall at the drop of a hat, McQuillin led the Lady Rams in doubles at 13, RBI with 36, and was selected to the GMC’s first team as well as an All-District 2nd team selection.
After a solid junior season in ’22, Paige Carpenter was back at first base. Carpenter came through with a solid season for Tinora. Carpenter hit a solid .395 in the middle of the Lady Rams lineup and was third in RBIs with 28 and was a GMC Honorable Mention selection.
The versatile Maren Pittman anchored down the right field position, as well as spelling Scylea Zolman in the circle throughout the season. Pittman came through with a 3-1 record, including a great late-season performance at Napoleon. At the plate, Pittman moved into the #2 spot in the batting order midway through the season and put up solid numbers, including being in the middle of the thrilling comeback win vs Oak Harbor.
Even though she missed the entire season, De’Vona Holmes did get a chance to swing the bat on Senior Day and, in her ’22 form, laced a laser to the right field wall for a single.
Without a doubt, Holmes’s bat was missed during the season, but De’Vona provided much-needed inspiration and leadership throughout the season, despite the injury.
The underclassman was led by junior Skylea Zolman. Zolman continued her dominance in the circle with a 17-6 record with an amazing 239 strikeouts in 161 1/3 innings thrown. Zolman has accumulated 624 strikeouts in the past three seasons, collecting three 1st Team All-GMC honors, a GMC Player of the Year, as well as a 2nd Team All-Ohio selection. At the plate, Scylea had another great postseason, her homerun in the District Semi-Finals against Oak Harbor seemed to be the ignition of the fire that started the Lady Rams postseason run.
Junior shortstop Tegan Norden may have seen her numbers at the plate slightly decline, but defensively, Norden is becoming one of the better shortstops in the GMC.
Tegan certainly gave all Ram fans a bit of a jolt when her game-tying deep drive was caught at the wall in the Regional Finals. Norden has the ability to become a 1st team GMC player entering her senior season in ’24.
Tanae Smith will be someone Coach Fairchild will count upon in ’24. As a junior, Smith was asked to split duty behind the plate and at the hot corner at third base. At third, Smith showed a great glove for the Lady Rams in the field.
Fellow juniors Mickey Starkey, who added some pop at the plate late in the season, as well as Kayleigh Lucas will also be counted upon heavily in the 2024 season. At the junior varsity level, Lucas batted .400 and Koerber .524.
Sophomore left fielder Zoe Roesti saw a bit of action in the ’22 season as a freshman. Roesti had a fantastic second season as she hit .300 with 4 home runs and 15 RBIs.
Roesti also played a solid left field and has one of the stronger outfield arms in the GMC, she has a bright future as a Lady Ram.
The remaining Varsity sophomore class of Trinity Koerber and Malorie Zachrich saw minimal action but gained much-needed experience at the varsity level, both should be contributors in the 2024 season. Both hit over .500 at the JV level.
Freshman Paige Gamby had one of the biggest impacts at the varsity level since the arrival of Scylea. Gamby showed from the start she was going to be a threat all season. Gamby would hit .435, hit 7 home runs, drive in 32, along with 12 doubles, and three triples.
Her two home runs and 5 RBIs in the District Finals vs Eastwood were the cap on the District Championship. What a season for the freshman Gamby who was named to the NWO All-District Honorable Mention Team.
The remaining underclassman, Christina Meyer, Amelia Coy, Riley Buenger, Irelyn Mueller, Courtney & Chelsea Garrett all have a shot at contributing at the varsity level for years to come. Meyer and Koeber can take a few innings off the arm of Zolman if needed.
A few of the notable team-related items the ladies accomplished in ’23:
*The most wins in a season in Tinora softball history (20)
*Pitching leader: Scylea – 17 wins, 239 K’s
*Average leader: Anna .510
*RBI leader – Logan 36
*Home Runs – Paige Gamby 7
*Steals – Anna Frazier – 30
In two seasons, Coach Fairchild and the Lady Rams have an overall record of 39-12. Two District Championships, a trip to the Sweet 16, a trip to the Elite Eight, and a GMC Championship in 2022.
The five seniors, Anna Frazier, Paige Carpenter, Logan McQuillin, Holmes, and Maren Pittman left their hearts on the field. Thank you for a fantastic last few years!
It was an honor to cover you girls this season, for the underclassman, keep getting better this summer and come back stronger in 2024.
Thanks to all our sponsors, and a special thanks to Kayleigh & AJ for all the great help.
Kayleigh had never done a play-by-play game before this season and did a great job!
Listen back to the games, click below:
Link to the coverage of the 2023 season:
Overall GMC standings ’23 & results:
PICS: Mrs Wells – Lady Rams Facebook page: