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Lady Falcons clinch conference then take sectional title

May 14, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

For the first time in 19 years the Fitch softball team has won a conference championship.

Consecutive wins over conference rival Canfield at the beginning of May sealed the All American Conference's Red Tier title for the Lady Falcons. It was an achievement a long time in the making for this dedicated flock of Falcons.

"Nineteen years is a long time without a conference championship," said Fitch head coach Steve Ward, who is enjoying his first title at the helm. "I couldn't be happier for my girls."

Of course, Ward made that statement a couple days before the start of the Division I state tournament. Last Wednesday afternoon, he actually did become happier. The Falcons faced off with Kent Roosevelt in the sectional finals of the Solon District and dismantled the Lady Rough Riders 10-0. Ward's ladies will now advance to the district round of the tournament with a sectional championship trophy in tow.

Fitch eliminated all doubt in this contest in the bottom of the first inning. That's when it scored five times to take what would end up being an insurmountable lead. The reason the five run hill was such a daunting one for the Rough Riders to climb was because of the mastery of Fitch's starting pitcher Lydia Spalding. The sophomore stifled the Kent kids from start to finish in a beautifully-spun no-hitter. The only thing separating Spalding from a perfect game was a walk in the fourth inning. Spalding accentuated her dominance with 11 strikeouts. She also flexed her muscle at the plate hitting a triple and a single.

The home team would tack on four more tallies in the second stanza and one more in the fifth to impeach Roosevelt. Senior outfielder Ashely Fuller and junior shortstop Ashley Mickey both collected two hits and knocked in two runs. Freshman Maddy Taylor took home a double and a single and two RBIs. Sophomore Elyssa Molody had an RBI hit. It was Molody's run scoring safety in the bottom of the fifth inning that pushed home Fitch's tenth run making this sectional final a Mercy Rule affair. The overall performance of his club had Ward feeling as good as he has this entire campaign.

"For us to come out and throw a no-hitter, attack at the plate properly, be aggressive on the bases and play error free ball means we are peaking at the right time," said Ward. "We are ready for the districts."

Fitch's veteran coach thinks his team is well prepared to face the rest of the field in Solon because they learned so much in the nine setbacks they've suffered since the start of the season.

"In our losses this year we kept our vision on where we want to be, not just in one game," he said. "Our team has done an amazing job of allowing the process to work. Our dedication is shown in the result which is AAC champions and sectional title winners."

If the Falcons want to become district champions, they'll need to elude Solon in the semifinals then either top seeded Hudson or number four Boardman in the championship. The showdown with Solon was scheduled for this past Monday. A couple days before that matchup, Ward explained that his bunch will not only be battling the host school, but their own destiny as well.

"No matter who we play it's all about us," said Ward. "Solon is very well coached and has disciplined players. If we're an aggressive team, we will find success."



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