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Play at the plate in OHSAA softball Division 4 state championship game brings home state title for Strasburg

Strasburg wins eighth state title with a 3-2 win over Lincolnview in thrilling defensive fashion.
Strasburg softball Ryan Isley

AKRON, Ohio – It all came down to one play for the OHSAA softball Division IV state championship Saturday, and Strasburg made the play to come away with a 3-2 win over Lincolnview.

With Strasburg leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Lincolnview had runners on second and third with two outs and had just scored its first run of the game.

Ashlyn Price hit a single to center that was fielded by Maggie Richards. One runner scored and Richards cocked her arm and let the ball fly toward home. Catcher Sydney Sibila caught the ball, turned around and tagged the runner out to clinch the state championship.

“I wanted to stop the ball first and then make the tag,” Sibila said. “Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself and I try to make the tag first so I just wanted to catch the ball.”

The play came one hitter after Lincolnview had scored on a similar play, but Richards couldn’t get the runner at the plate the first time.

“The first throw I didn’t think I got the ball all the way there,” Richards said. “So my second time I set my feet and threw the ball as hard as I could to the plate.”

All of the drama came after pitcher Amelia Spidell retired the first two hitters of the inning and looked primed to end the game without sweating. But then the Lancers made the Tigers work for the 21st and final out.

“We get those first two outs and we are cruising right along,” Strasburg coach Tom Spidell said. “Then a walk and a couple bloop hits and all of a sudden the pressure is on. Everybody was starting to get a little nervous. Maggie kept her head and made a great throw home.”

Strasburg was in the position to win the game because Amelia Spidell had been spectacular in the circle all game long. The sophomore gave up just two hits through the first six innings and struck out nine of the first 13 hitters she faced.

Strasburg didn’t get a lot of offense, but did just enough. Richards doubled to score Emma Gilkerson in the fourth, and then Richards scored on a groundout by Audrey Allensworth to make it 2-0. 

They added what looked like an insurance run on an RBI single by Gilkerson in the bottom of the sixth.

But that run was the one they needed when the dust settled at home plate.

In the end, it was the Strasburg defense that won out.

“What can I say?” Tom Spidell said. “We talk all along that defense wins championships.”