AKRON, Ohio — What a weekend in Akron!
The OHSAA state softball championships were held at Firestone Stadium, and two Northeast Ohio teams took home titles. Tallmadge crushed No. 3 Canfield 9-0 in Division II, while top-ranked Strasburg-Franklin earned its second straight D-IV crown with an 8-2 victory over Hopewell-Loudon.
It's been a long time coming for the Blue Devils (26-8), who were one of Ohio's top programs in the 1980s and '90s but had not won a state championship in 25 years. The girls blasted through their district and region before upsetting No. 4 Greenville 6-5 in Thursday's semifinals, overcoming a 5-2 deficit and winning on Ashlyn Severns' walk-off single in the seventh inning.
Comparatively, the weekend matchup with the Cardinals (24-3) seemed anticlimactic, with Sydney Becks hitting a three-run, inside-the-park home run and Riley Jackson tossing a complete game shutout. Canfield mustered just two hits and committed three errors.
Later Saturday evening, it was Strasburg Franklin's (29-2) turn to defend their title against the third-ranked Chieftains, who entered the game undefeated at 31-0. However, this one belonged to Tigers junior Amelia Spidell, who struck out 18 of 21 batters in a complete game of her own and even helped her own cause with a triple and two RBIs. Maggie Richards added a three-run homer and Hayley Reiger tallied three hits.
It's the ninth state championship for Strasburg-Franklin, tying Champion and Springfield for the most in OHSAA history across all divisions. Tallmadge is not far behind, now with eight titles under their belt.