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Jonathan Alder relies on speed and pitching to defeat Oak Harbor 5-0 in OHSAA softball Division 2 state semifinals

Marlee Jacobs threw a shutout and Danielle Robbins never stopped running to help Jonathan Alder reach the state championship game.
Jonathan Alder softball Marlee Jacobs Ryan Isley

AKRON, Ohio – Jonathan Alder will be playing for the OHSAA Division II state softball title after the 2019 state champions defeated Oak Harbor 5-0 in the Division II semifinals on Thursday.

The Pioneers used pitching and speed to get past Oak Harbor and earn their spot in the state title game on Saturday at 10 a.m. against Triway.

In the first inning, Danielle Robbins led off with a single and stole second base. Evan Platfoot bunted her to third, and then she scored on a wild pitch. Scoring first was a big boost for the Pioneers.

“Words can’t explain it,” Alder coach Dave McGrew said. “That’s just true to form 101 baseball or softball or whatever you’re playing. We are playing for that first run and then we go from there.”

Robbins wasn’t done showcasing her speed.

The senior singled in the third and never stopped running as Oak Harbor made two errors. The play ended with her crossing home plate. And then in the fifth inning, Robbins hit a ball to the gap in right-center that got to the fence. She kept running and turned it into an inside-the-park homer.

“I always think I am not stopping until I get stopped,” Robbins said. “I am going until somebody tells me to stop. That’s what we practice.”

And her coach had no intentions of stopping her on the homer. He was calling for her to keep running from the moment she left the batter’s box.

“Our kids are coached to run,” McGrew said. “They are not to stop until we stop them. Once you give the speed away, you can’t get it back.”

In the circle, senior Marlee Jacobs had more than enough run support.

The Ohio Dominican commit got Alder to the state championship game with a shutout and allowed just four hits and struck out seven on only 82 pitches.

“We knew that they were a solid team,” Jacobs said. “I just think that they couldn’t really get along with what I was throwing, so I just kept throwing it until they hit it.”

Jacobs was a freshman on that 2019 team and pitched the Pioneers to the state title that season. Now as a senior, she is trying to do it again. After playing on a team that trusted one another from the start of her freshman year, it was a little different this season.

“My freshman year was a different scenario,” Jacobs said. “Our team my freshman year was very mature and was just 'I trust you, we got it.' This year, we started off slow, but as the tournament has gone on, I feel like we have built a lot of trust.”