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ASHLAND, Ohio - Everybody figured that if St. Ursula were to win the Division I state softball championship yesterday it would be on the strength of Hayley Wiemer s fastball-throwing right arm. Strangely enough, it was her legs that gave the Arrows their first state softball championship.
Running from first on an infield chopper in the sixth inning, the St. Ursula junior scored all the way from first with the winning run - without an error - as the second-ranked Arrows (27-4) defeated Uniontown Lake 2-1.
“This is amazing. There is no better way to finish a senior year,” said second baseman Amy Muszynski, who started the winning rally with a single. “This season has been an absolute blast. It s just an excellent way to end the season.”
What made the victory all the more sweet was the fact that Wiemer clearly wasn t as sharp at the beginning as she had been in hurling seven consecutive playoff shutouts.
In fact, the first two Blue Streaks rapped singles, the second a bouncer up the middle that got past center fielder Annie Welch. A throwing error by right fielder Megan Repass compounded the error and allowed Meghan Allen to score from first.
But that was all the scoring that Wiemer (21-2) would allow, despite the fact that she struck out only one batter after fanning 255 batters in 150 innings entering the game.
“I know our kids were in shock after that first inning. I can t remember the last time a team had two hits in a row off Hayley,” said coach Julie Barber, who will be taking a state championship with her to Columbus, where she is moving with her husband and four children.
“But after the shock wore off a little bit, they toughed it out. They played great.”
Wiemer yielded just one more hit after the first. Lake (25-5) went down in order in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
There was the line drive that Muszynski turned into a double play in the second inning, followed by a nice charging catch in center by Welch on a low liner. In the fourth, Chelsea Jones came in well on another ball to take a hit away. Catcher Ashley Burkett made an incredible diving catch on a pop-up to the screen and down the first-base line for the second out in the fifth.
“I guess I learned a lesson to go hard the whole time,” said Wiemer. “But what kept me going was that I knew this team was going to push hard. The team wanted it so bad. When we thought we were dead from all the conditioning, we were chanting, state, state, state, and this family did it.”
The Arrows did it with the big plays and determination that got them there.
Muszynski, who had singled her previous time up only to be picked off first, flared a single to left field with one out in the sixth and Wiemer slapped a slicing liner the opposite way to put runners on first and second. Then Alyssa Frobase hit a high chopper to short and beat the throw to first.
What followed was simply incredible. Muszynski, going hard all the way, slid in safely at home when the first baseman held the ball for just a moment. When Frobase headed for second on the throw home, the catcher threw down to second and Frobase was not only safe but she knocked the shortstop momentarily off her feet as Wiemer, who also never stopped running, went right around third and came home, sliding around the tag and touching home with her hand for the winning run.
“I felt like I had wings,” Wiemer said.
Barber explained: “With two outs and a runner on second base, our runners know they re always going straight for [home]. They re going to score in case there s some sort of screw-up. When I saw that high bounce, I just started screaming, Run hard, beat it, beat it, and she legged it out. It was fantastic.”
Julie Boyes (20-3) took the loss, yielding seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
Welch also had two hits for the Arrows.
“I love this team,” said Barber. “They would give me their arms and legs if I asked them to. They pushed hard every single pitch.”
The result was the first state championship in the first year that the Arrows captured a district title.
Contact Craig Mantey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.40.86865 -82.31535