AKRON – Indian Lake hit the ball hard all day, but a sensational Wheelersburg defense prevented the Lakers from winning their first state title here Saturday.
The Lakers were held to just two hits despite making solid contact throughout the lineup as the Pirates leaned on their flawless defense and powerful offense for a 6-0 victory in a Division III championship game at Firestone Stadium.
“We hit the ball hard, but it was right at them, and then there were a couple times I thought we had a hit and they made a great play,” said Indian Lake first-year head coach John Stahl. “Give credit to them. They are a phenomenal team.”
Wheelersburg, which won its second straight state crown and capped a perfect season at 32-0, scored four runs in the third inning for a 4-0 lead.
It was the first time the Lakers have trailed in the postseason. Indian Lake had allowed only two runs in the tournament up until Saturday’s third inning.
IL pitcher Madison Brentlinger said she battled chest pain from before the game began, but she did her best to keep the Lakers in the game.
The Pirates finished with seven hits. Brentlinger struck out four and walked two.
Wheelersburg tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Macee Eaton, who has signed with Virginia, worked a two-out walk before shortstop Catie Boggs launched a two-run home run over the 225-foot center-field wall.
The Lakers were able to put a runner on first with one out in the bottom of the seventh after Halle Roby reached on an infield single.
However, Wheelersburg pitcher Andi Jo Howard was able to get a pair of flyouts to end the game.
“As they (announced on the field after the game) there have been a lot of firsts for us this year,” said Stahl. “Our first regional championship, the first time Indian Lake has played in a state final … and a lot of other team and individual records.
“The girls have been very accepting of me and we did some great things this year.”
For more coverage of Saturday’s game, see Monday’s edition of the Examiner.