Lima Bath's Jenna Hollar (14) steals second base against Maumee's Emily Young (34) during the second inning of the Division I regional softball final. THE BLADE
Three area softball teams reached the elite eight of the state tournament only to fall short of advancing to final four.
Maumee, Elmwood, and Lakota made deep runs in the postseason by reaching regional championships.
Maumee (19-11) reached a regional final for the first time since 2001. The Panthers upset Eastwood, Sandusky Perkins, and No. 2-ranked Keystone during the run. But Maumee lost to the eventual state champions, Lima Bath, 12-3 in the Division II regional final.
Senior pitcher Sam Fowls hit .412 with 18 RBIs for the Panther.
Maumee hit 29 home runs, the seventh most in a season in state history. Freshman catcher Kayla Wulf and junior third baseman Salwa Al-Hajabed each hit eight homers.
“It’s been a great year,” Maumee coach Shawn Watson said. “I can't say enough about my team. They are quality kids. We have an incredible future too.”
Elmwood (24-5) saw its season end with a 19-3 loss to eventual D-III state runner-up Bloom-Carroll. Junior shortstop Rebecca Harvey, who batted .483 with 47 RBIs, earned All-Ohio first-team honors.
Lakota (20-8) fell 2-1 to Wayne Trace in the D-IV regional final. The Raiders had baserunners on in each inning but stranded seven during the game.
In Division I, Clay (28-3) and Springfield (24-5) appeared to be on a collision course to meet in the regional title game. But each suffered surprising setbacks in the semifinals.
Clay — the Three Rivers Athletic Conference champion with a No. 5 ranking in Ohio — was eliminated in a controversial 8-6 loss to Elyria. Senior ace Brooke Gallaher was called for five illegal pitches, and the last two were pivotal in the game’s outcome.
Gallaher (16-2), who had a 2.23 ERA and struck out 107 in 103 2/3 innings, was named to the All-Ohio second team. Senior outfielder Honnah Susor, who led the TRAC with a .592 average while also driving in 46 runs, earned All-Ohio first team.
Springfield, ranked sixth in the state poll, won a third straight Northern Lakes League title at 13-1. The Blue Devils have won six of the last 10 NLL crowns.
Springfield appeared to be headed to the regional final with a 11-run lead over Brecksville-Broadview Heights in the semifinals and just two outs away from ending it by the mercy rule. But the No. 2-ranked Bees astonishingly rallied to score nine in the fifth inning and four in the sixth to stun the Blue Devils 13-12.
“Heart-breakers come with having a good program,” Springfield coach Rob Gwozdz said. “There are a lot of teams that would like to be in our shoes.”
Sophomore catcher Kierra Hague (.455) earned All-Ohio first team, while junior shortstop Hannah Girlie (.463) earned all-state second team honors. Kiley Aller, a junior center fielder, led the NLL in hitting a .565.
Bowsher (10-15) captured the the City League title with a 7-3 win over Rogers in the championship game. Pitcher Alexa Boisselle, who led the CL with a 3.21 ERA and struck out 70 in 61 innings, threw a complete game in the final.
Eastwood (27-2) won a Northern Buckeye Conference title with a 13-1 record. The Eagles were led by senior pitcher Sam Shirling (21-2), who had 158 strikeouts in 148 innings and a 1.70 ERA.
Senior third baseman Cassidy Rolf, who batted .485 with 38 RBIs, was All-Ohio first team.
Woodmore senior pitcher Madeline Phillips, who had a 1.18 ERA and struck out 212 batters in 154 2/3 innings, earned All-Ohio first team.
Archbold (26-2) won the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title outright with a 8-0 record after the Blue Streaks had shared the title last season.
Senior catcher Cassidy Wyse, who had a .528 average with 43 RBIs, was All-Ohio first team.
Patrick Henry (20-4) reached the D-IV regional semifinals. Patriots senior catcher Kristin Bostelman and senior outfielder Rachel Nye both were All-Ohio first team.
Gibsonburg (19-6) went 12-0 in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference to win the title.