The Fairfield Lady Lions advanced to the regional final, set for Saturday June 27 at 12pm at Pickerington High School Central, by defeating the Clay Lady Panthers on Wednesday evening by a score of 7-2. The Lady Lions advance to the elite eight for the second straight year. The Lady Lions, ranked number eight in the state by their peers, advance to take on the Danville Lady Blue Devils, ranked number two, who advanced earlier in the day by defeating Strasburg-Franklin by a score of 3-0.
The Lady Lions playing as the guests started the game in the batters box. Sherry Heckathorn got things started when she was hit by a pitch and awarded first base, Carli Reiber reached on an error by the short-stop, and Kaiti White drew a walk to load the bases early, White was replaced with courtesy runner Molly Thackston throughout the game on the base-paths. Kourtnie Smith singled to drive in Heckathorn and Reiber for the first two runs of the night. Emily Williams reached base on a dropped strike three that saw Thackston out at the plate and Williams safe at first. Lauren Arnold finisheded up with a two RBI single giving Fairfield a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the second. White, the starting pitcher for the Lady Lions only faced five batters in the inning giving up a single before ending the inning by getting the batter to popout to short-stop.
The top of the second inning saw number nine hitter Megan Gragg start things off with a single, and Gragg went on to steal two bases in the inning. Heckathorn reached next on a walk, Reiber then drove both runners in with a monster double and White singled before seeing the next three batters go down in order. In the bottom of the inning White continued to pitch to contact getting all three batters to pop up for outs.
The Lady Lions would add their final run of the night in the top of the fifth inning courtesy of a Gragg RBI single that scored Lyndee Spargur who doubled earlier in the inning.
The Lady Panthers showed some life in the bottom of the sixth inning when White, who had been pitching to contact all night, gave up a 200 foot two-run homerun. But it Was not to be as White finished off her dominant night forcing a pop up to end the sixth and closing the game in the bottom of the seventh by striking out the last two batters.
White was dominant despite allowing a homerun, she preceded that slip by striking out six straight batters across three innings. White also went three for three at the plate and drew a walk in her other at bat.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.