Galion’s most successful softball season in program history came to an end in the Division III regional finals on Friday.
Competing against Cardington at Findlay High School, the Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the second inning, but were unable to build on that advantage. Cardington would tie the game in the third inning and then exploded for five runs in the fourth to take a lead they would not relinquish in claiming an 11-3 decision to conclude Galion’s season with a 23-5 record.
“They’re a great team,” said Tiger coach Doug Hunt of the Pirates. “You can’t take anything away from them. They’re well-coached and play with a lot of intensity.”
Self-inflicted wounds played a big role in Galion’s loss. Cardington scored their first two runs without recording a hit thanks to four walks, two errors and one batter hit by pitch. For the game, the Pirates finished with eight hits, while benefiting from eight walks, three hit batters and four Galion errors.
“You’ve got to hit the ball and field the ball and make outs,” said Hunt. “We’ve been pretty solid all season and been in every game. It’s a tough one, believe me. I’m really proud of the girls.”
A walk and an error staked Cardington to a 1-0 lead midway through the second inning, but Galion would strike back in the bottom of the inning. Kate Schieber opened with a single and a walk issued by Pirate starter Casey Bertke to Emly Sedmak put runners on first and second. A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third and with one out, Madelyn Thomas drove both in with a single.
That 2-1 lead didn’t last long, as Cardington’s Baylee Adams was walked to open the third and later driven in by a Bertke sacrifice fly. The Pirates then got their offense clicking in the fourth inning, recording five hits, including two-run singles by Dana Bertke and Paige Clinger, and scoring five runs to open up a 7-2 lead.
Cardington added three more in the sixth on a three-run double by Clinger to hold an eight-run advantage with Galion down to their final six outs.
They would try to rally in the bottom of that inning, getting a one-out single from Nevaeh Clark, followed by a walk to Schieber to put two runners on. Sedmak followed with a run-scoring single to cut the team’s deficit to seven, but the Pirates were able to record two quick outs to escape the inning with no further damage done.
Cardington then added a run in the top of the seventh to lead by eight again. Gabby Kaple hit a two-out double for the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh, but was stranded, as the Tigers season came to an end.
After the game, Hunt could only express how proud he was of his team for the success they’ve had over the past couple years.
“This is the farthest Galion has ever been,” he said. “I’m excited for the girls. Last year was the first time in 33 or 34 years in regionals and to get back and win this game the other night (in the regional semifinals) — I’m really proud of the girls.”