After a rainy Saturday afternoon that cancelled games, the Fairfield Lady Lions made their seventh appearance in the last eight years in the Southeast District Championship Game on Sunday afternoon at Unioto High School on an absolutely beautiful day for softball before a standing room only crowd. After competing for 17 years at the Division IV level, this was Fairfield’s first year to compete at the Division III level. The competition may have been different, but the results were the same as the Fairfield Lady Lions (20-6, 10-3 SHAC) defeated the Chesapeake Lady Panthers 3-0 to win their fourth consecutive District Championship, a truly amazing accomplishment. It was the Lady Lions tenth District title in program history.
The Fairfield Lady Lions played an outstanding game this afternoon against a very good Chesapeake softball team. Kaiti White was brilliant in the circle today, throwing her fourth consecutive shutout in tournament play. White scattered five hits and struck out 13 Lady Panther batters while the Lady Lion defense played well behind her. It was White’s 19th victory of the season including 12 shutouts. Kaiti White also led the Lady Lion offense this afternoon with a single in the third inning that drove in two runs to break a scoreless tie. White also singled in the fifth inning to drive in the third run of the game.
The game started as expected as Fairfield’s Kaiti White and Chesapeake’s Erica Bowman were locked in a scoreless tie through the first two innings.
Madi Fox drew a base on balls to lead off the top of the third inning. Lyndee Spargur drove a line drive over the centerfielder’s head for a double to advance Fox to third base. One out later, Kaiti White singled up the middle to drive home Fox and Spargur. White took second on the throw to the plate and went clear to third base when the throw home sailed over the catcher’s head. Chesapeake’s Erica Bowman would get the next two Lady Lion hitters out stranding Lowe running for White at third base.
Fairfield would add to their lead with a run in the fifth inning. With one out, Lyndee Spargur singled up the middle then stole second base. Carli Reiber walked. Kaiti White then singled to centerfield scoring Spargur. But again Erica Bowman would retire the next two hitters to end the inning.
The Chesapeake Lady Panthers would threat to score in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jordan Storms led off the inning with a single to right field and advanced to second base when the ball got through the right fielder. Kaiti White then struck out the next Lady Panther batter. Erica Bowman then singled to the left side of the infield, but Storms was unable to move to third base. Storms and Bowman advanced to second and third base on a very un-characteristic wild pitch by White. But Kaiti White would strike out the next two batters to end the threat.
Chesapeake would threaten to score in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out Brooke Webb drew a base on balls. Rylee Swann singled to left field as Webb moved to second base. Lyric Blair flied out to right field as Webb tagged up and moved to third base. Kaiti White then did what great pitchers do and reached back for a little extra to strike out the next batter on three pitches.
Fairfield would go out in order in their half of the seventh inning. Smelling victory, Kaiti White and the Lady Lions defense made an impressive statement in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kaiti White struck out the first two batters and enticed the third batter to hit a harmless pop fly back to the circle to end the game and send the Fairfield Lady Lions to the Sweet Sixteen yet again.
Leading hitters for the Lady Lions: Lyndee Spargur (2 for 3, double, 2 runs), Carli Reiber (0 for 3, walkd), Kaiti White (2 for 4, 3 rbi), Taylor Lawson ( 2 for 3), Madison Fox (0 for 2, walk, 1 run).
Kaiti White (19-5) was the winning pitcher for Fairfield. Kaiti’s pitching line: 7 innings, 5 hits, no runs, no earned runs, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts. Erica Bowman suffered the loss for Chesapeake: 7 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts.
The Fairfield Lady Lions advance to the Lancaster Division III Regional Tournament for the sixth time in eight years (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018) and their tenth time in program history (1981, 1982, 1986, 2006). It is the first time in program history they have made four consecutive appearances. The Fairfield Lady Lions will play the Meadowbrook Lady Colts (18-7) at Lancaster High School on Wednesday, May 23rd at 3:00 PM.
Tom Purtell is the Assistant Coach of the Fairfield Lady Lions softball team.