Lady Lions win 33rd Sectional Championship

Submitted story

The Fairfield Lady Lions’ journey to their 33rd Sectional Championship and their 18th consecutive was not an easy one, but in the end the Lady Lions showed why they are one of the top Division III teams in the Southeast District and deserving of their No. 4 State ranking.

The Fairfield Lady Lions were slated to host the Sectional Championship vs the Portsmouth Lady Trojans Friday afternoon, but heavy rains the night before and lingering into morning dictated that a change in venue was necessary. The venue was changed to the opponent’s home field in Portsmouth with a starting time of 7:30 PM. Forty minutes into the bus ride, the Fairfield bus blew a tire and was forced to park. The Fairfield Transportation Department acted quickly to dispatch another bus to pick up the team and continue the almost two hour trip. During the 45 minute delay, the Lady Lions played games in the parking lot of Paint Valley High School until the second bus arrived. The Fairfield Lady Lions arriving late to the Portsmouth High School field quickly warmed up and the game started at 7:50 PM only twenty minutes after the scheduled time. The Lady Lions showed their flexibility, ability to stay focused and mental toughness to play one of their most dominating games of the season.

The Fairfield Lady Lions (21-1, 13-0 SHAC) defeated the Portsmouth Lady Trojans this evening under the lights 11-1 with speed, great defense, outstanding hitting, and another dominating pitching performance by Kaiti White. Kaiti would scatter three hits; allow only one unearned run, while striking out ten Trojan batters. Meanwhile the Lady Lions would pound out 15 hits including 3 doubles to score 11 runs. The Lady Lions were led offensively by Lyndee Spargur with 3 hits and 4 rbis, Layla Hattan with 2 hits including 2 doubles and 2 rbis, Megan Gragg with 3 hits and 2 runs, Lauren Arnold with 3 hits, a double, and 2 rbis, and Kaiti White with 2 hits.

Even though the venue changed, the Lady Lions were still the home team on the score board. Kaiti White would shut out the Lady Trojans in the top of the first inning on one hit. The Lady Lions would take an early lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the first inning. Lyndee Spargur led off the inning with a single up the middle but was forced out on a ground ball off the bat of Megan Gragg. Kaiti White followed with a frozen rope, but right at the shortstop for the second out. Layla Hattan knocked in Gragg with a double off the fence in centerfield. Lauren Arnold followed with a base hit to centerfield to score Hattan, but was thrown out trying to take second on the throw home and then back to second base.

Both White and Lady Trojan pitcher Kylee Montgomery shut out their opponents in the second inning. The Lady Lions would add a run in the third inning. With two outs and no one on base, Megan Gragg singled up the middle and Kaiti White walked. Gragg then scored as Hattan was safe on a throwing error.

Doing what good teams do, Fairfield added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Taylor Lawson was safe on an error, Molly Thackston laced a single to centerfield. Halle Hamilton laid down the perfect sacrifice bunt advancing Harley Flint running for Taylor Lawson to third base and Molly Thackston to second base. With two outs, senior first baseman Lyndee Spargur stepped to the plate and singled both runners home and took second on an error. Megan Gragg then drove home Spargur with a line drive single to right centerfield.

Fairfield would increase the lead to 9-0 with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Lauren Arnold doubled off the top of the fence in centerfield, Lawson was safe on an error, Hayleigh Lowe singled up the middle to score Arnold. Two outs later Lyndee Spargur again would single to centerfield to drive in Lawson and Lowe.

The Lady Lion defense would give up an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning on a single by Olivia Ramey, and error off the bat of Jacqueline Bautista, and a single to centerfield by Faith Phillips.

The Fairfield Lady Lions would rebound to end the game by mercy rule with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Megan Gragg had an infield single to lead off the inning. Kaiti White was credited with a single as Gragg was ruled out for interference. Layla Hattan doubled to left field to score White and Lauren Arnold would end the game with a single to centerfield to score Hattan.

Leading hitters for Fairfield: Lyndee Spargur (3 for 4, 1 runs, 4 rbi), Megan Gragg (3 for 4, 2 run, 1 rbi), Kaiti White (2 for 3, 1), Layla Hattan (2 for 4, 2 doubles, 2 runs, 2 rbi), Lauren Arnold (3 for 4, double, 1 run, 2 rbi), Taylor Lawson (0 for 3, , 1 run), Hayleigh Lowe (1 for 3, 1 run), Molly Thacktson (1 for 3, 1 run), Halle Hamilton (0 for 2, sac bunt).

Kaiti White (21-1) was the winning pitcher for Fairfield. Kaiti’s pitching line: 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, no earned runs, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts. Kylee Montgomery suffered the loss for Portsmouth. Montgomery’s pitching line: 6 innings, 15 hits, 11 runs, 4 earned runs, 1 walks, and 3 strikeouts.

With the victory the Fairfield Lady Lions advance to the Southeast District Tournament at Unioto to play the Wellston Gold Rockets who defeated Oak Hill 3-0. The game will be played on Thursday, May 16th at 6:00 PM at Unioto High School in Chillicothe.

Fairfield Lady Lions Assistant Coach Tom Purtell submitted this story.

Submitted story