CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — “All good things must come to an end,” or so the saying goes. Thursday afternoon at Unioto High School near Chillicothe, the GAHS Blue Angels record setting season of promise ended in a DII District Semi-Final loss at the hands of the Logan Elm Lady Braves 9-1.
GAHS bows out of tournament contention with an outstanding 22-2 mark, while Logan Elm (19-5) moves on to face Unioto (a 10-9 winner over Warren Local in the other semi-final) Friday afternoon for the District Championship and the right to advance to Regional competition at Pickerington North High School in Columbus next week.
The strength of the Blue Angels this season had been a solid, consistent defense supported by outstanding pitching and clutch hitting.
GA defensive lapses set the tone from the beginning. In the top of the first, LE had runners on second and third with two outs when an infield fly was dropped, which permitted one run to score, and on the overthrow to the plate a second run came home. The next batter reached on an OF miscue costing the Angels a third run and it was 3-0 before the Blue & White even came to bat.
The Pickaway Countian’s offensive strategy was revealed early and often as they laid down nine bunts in the game; five for base hits and four more for runner advancing sacrifices.
The Lady Braves SS, Taylor Saxton was 4-5on the afternoon with all four hits coming by way of successful bunt singles.
Meanwhile, the Logan Elm starting pitcher, Morgan Conrad, held the Angels hitless until the bottom of the fourth, when, with one out, Courtney Shriver drove a first pitch liner over the left field fence to break up the no-no and the shut out bid.
Hannah Cunningham had the other GAHS safety on the day with her lead off bunt single in the sixth. The Angels only had five base runners in the game with Heather Ward receiving a walk in the first, Vanessa Henson reaching the same way in the seventh, and Cunningham being hit by a pitch in the third.
Meanwhile, the Lady Braves combined nine more hits after the first inning with three more GAHS errors to score in five of the seven innings, with the 9-1 final being their largest lead of the game.
Heather Ward suffered her first loss of the year against a school record nineteen wins allowing 9 runs (5 earned) on 12 hits, but in fairness, those six errors extended four of the innings. The old axiom about not giving your opponents more than three outs in an innings certainly factored in the margin of victory.
With the season ending loss, GAHS bids a fond farewell to their ten seniors: Kari Campbell, Morgan Leslie, Hannah Cunningham, Vanessa Henson, Claudia Farney, Kayla Harrison, Amanda McGhee, Courtney Shriver, Sarah Eberhard, and Katie Jo Dunlap.
These ladies have been a big part of a four year school record 81 wins against only 21 losses (.794) including three straight SEOAL championships, three Sectional championships and one District title.
The Blue Angels, along with Blue Devil baseball, girls and boys track, and tennis will be honored at the Spring Sports Awards, Monday evening at the high school beginning at 6 p.m. in the Holzer Center for the Performing Arts.