AKRON – The curtain came down on a successful 2023 Lady Wave Softball season at Akron’s Firestone Stadium in OHSAA DII Final Four tournament action with a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to the Tallmadge Lady Blue Devils.
“We did everything but win,” said Greenville coach, Jerrod Newland. “We played a good team today in Tallmadge. A great comeback for Tallmadge and the game will be talked about for years.”
The Lady Blue Devils had a 10.8 mile drive from doorstep to doorstep; Tallmadge High School to Firestone Stadium, a 16 minute drive compared to the LWSB 3-hour and 29-minute 219.2 mile drive from Greenville High School to the stadium in Akron.
“A great softball game and unfortunately the little farm school from 3-hours and 32-minutes away came close,” Newland stated. “We left it on the field. We didn’t drop the ball, fumble the ball, do anything – we scored 5-runs and we lost 6-5 here at Akron.”
“Just so proud of the kids,” Newland added. “A great year – we went a long way.”
Greenville took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first-inning with senior right fielder Skylar Fletcher leading off the game with a solid double to the outfield fence and coming home to score on a sacrifice fly to deep center off the bat of sophomore starting pitcher, Zoey Burns.
Burns followed up her first-inning RBI sacrifice fly with a third-inning 2-RBI homerun over the centerfield fence giving the Lady Wave a 3-0 advantage.
“Burns hit the ball hard, she kept us in it,” Newland said. “Zo (Burns) jacks it out and its 5-0 going to the bottom of the third.”
Greenville took advantage of several Tallmadge errors with Addie Burke driving in seniors Ashlyn Zimmer and Alaina Baughn with the Lady Wave extending its lead to 5-0.
Tallmadge battled back with 2-runs in the bottom of the third sending the game to the fourth with Greenville holding a 5-2 lead and added 2-runs in the bottom of the fifth to trail the Lady Wave 4-5.
The Lady Blue Devis plated a run in the bottom of the sixth with two-outs and knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out single to center bringing the Lady Wave 2023 season to an end.
“Its 5-0 going to the bottom of the third, they get two, we get out of it,” Newland said. “All the sudden it’s 5-2 going to the bottom of the fifth and we get out of that but it’s 5-4 bottom of the sixth and they snuck one with two-outs. A foot here or there, a play here or there it’s a totally different game – balls find holes.”
Greenville was well represented by the 2,542 fans in the stands as they have all year from the Lady Wave faithful matching, or more the attendance of the Tallmadge fans from just a mere 10.8 miles down the road.
“We are just blessed to be here,” said Fletcher. “This is what we look for doing every year so just being here is amazing. I think the girls should be excited for next year.”
Burns went the distance on the mound for Greenville allowing 4-earned runs on 10-hits, 2-walks while striking out four. Riley Jackson pitched a complete game for Tallmadge giving up 3-earned runs on 4-hits, 3-walks while striking out six.
Burns paced the Lady Wave at the plate going 1-3 with 3-RBIs and a run scored. Addie Burke went 1-2 with a RBI; Fletcher 1-2 with a run; Hamm 1-2 and a walk; Arnett a walk and a run; Zimmer and Baughn each with a run scored.
The Lady Wave close out 2023 as Miami Valley League Champions, District Champions, Regional Champions and an overall 28-5 record.
Five Greenville seniors played their final game for the Lady Wave: No. 2 Ashlyn Zimmer, No. 8 Skylar Fletcher, No. 12 Alaina Baughn, No. 17 Caydance Davidson and No. 22 Kylie Hamm while completing their career with an 85-13 three-year record having missed their entire freshman season due to COVID.
The Lady Wave Softball (LWSB) varsity extends its 25 or more season wins to 19-consecutive seasons under the direction of veteran coach, Jerrod Newland.
123 456 7 R H E
104 000 0 5 4 1 Greenville
002 021 1 6 10 5 Tallmadge