2019 Division IV State Softball Champions - Antwerp Archers Jim Bowers/Paulding County Progress
2019 Division IV State Softball Champions - Antwerp Archers Jim Bowers/Paulding County Progress
" We felt like we had some good at-bats in the fourth inning and that we were ready to put some things together there in the fifth. We told the girls it was our time to go out and get it done and they did that " Krista Ordway Lady Archers Head Coach

By KEVIN WANNEMACHER

Sports Writer

AKRON - In most high school sports, only one team ends a season with a victory as it calls itself a STATE CHAMPION.

Add the Antwerp Lady Archer softball team to that list.

The blue-and-white got another dominating performance from junior pitcher Carlie Hanes in all facets and the Lady Archers put up a five-spot in the fifth inning to post a 5-0 victory over Mechanicsburg in Division IV state championship action Sunday at Firestone Stadium in Akron.

Hanes controlled the game with a state-record tying 15 strikeouts in the contest, fanning eight of the nine Indian hitters and limiting Mechanicsburg to three hits overall. The Champaign County squad came into the game having scored 83 runs in their six tournament games.

“She did a good job of keeping us off balance and mixing pitches up,” said Mechanicsburg head coach Abbey DeLong of Hanes’ effort. “The spin on the ball made her curve and rise very effective and they did a nice job of hitting locations. I am not trying to take anything away from Antwerp, but I thought we pressed a little bit and didn’t play relaxed. She got us to start guessing at the plate.”

Offensively, Antwerp got all of its runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Lauren Schuller started the bottom of the fifth with a single to left field before Shaelin McCrea reached on a bunt attempt that was misplayed by Mechanicsburg.

Karsyn Brumett then put Antwerp on the scoreboard with a run-scoring single to center field that plated Schuller for a 1-0 advantage.

After McCrea and Brumett moved to second and third on an errant throw by Mechanicsburg, freshman Kennedy Trabel courtesy ran for Brumett before an intentional walk to Tiera Gomez loaded the bases.

Hanes then broke the game open, ripping a two-run single to right field that scored both McCrea and Trabel and widened the Antwerp advantage to 3-0.

Astianna Coppes drove in Gomez with a groundout to Ayars to push the margin to 4-0 before a run-scoring single by Samantha Rigsby plated Ali Reinhart, who had ran for Hanes, to extend Antwerp’s lead to 5-0.

When the inning was done, the Archers scored five runs on four hits, taking advantage of three Indians’ errors.

Mechanicsburg had given up five runs or more only four times all season long.

“We don’t normally have innings that get away from us like that,” stated DeLong of her squad.

In a scoreless game in the top of the third, Mechanicsburg shortstop Audrey Ayars reached when she was hit by a pitch in a 10-pitch at-bat.

A very scary moment followed as Indian center fielder Megan Alspaugh ripped a shot up the middle that hit Hanes’ left calf and caromed towards first base.

While Hanes tracked down the ball to keep Alspaugh at first and Ayars at third, more of a concern for Antwerp was the health of their junior hurler.

Hanes was checked out by the Antwerp trainer and coaching staff but stayed in the game and proceeded to fan cleanup hitter Hannah DeLong to keep the Indians off of the scoreboard.

“It was one of those plays where it hurt but I knew I had to get the ball,” stated the Archer junior pitcher, who took a few minutes and a couple of warmups before game action resumed. “But, I knew I had to be there for my team and there was no way I was coming out of the game. It is the state championship game and I was not coming off of the field.”

“I went out to check on her but I knew what the reaction was that I was going to get,” added Antwerp head coach Krista Ordway.

The Archer offense put together its first threat in the fourth but was kept off of the scoreboard.

However, the momentum started to turn in the top of the fifth.

Francys King started the frame for the Indians with a walk before Grace Forrest entered as a courtesy runner.

On the first pitch to nine-hitter Morgan Heizer, Forrest took off for second but was gunned down by Antwerp catcher Karsyn Brumett’s throw to Coppes for the first out. A Hanes strikeout of Heizer and a popup by Ayars to Hanes ended the frame as the Archers came off the field with a little more energy after the defensive stand and carried that over to the plate.

“That was a big play,” noted Ordway after the contest. “We felt like we had some good at-bats in the fourth inning and that we were ready to put some things together there in the fifth. We told the girls it was our time to go out and get it done and they did that.”

The Indians did threaten again to find the scoring column in the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of Antwerp errors to put runners on first and second with one out.

However, Hanes got Daytayviah Rodgers to pop up to second baseman Alyvia Devore before striking out Macy Reed to end the sixth.

Following a leadoff single by King in the seventh, Hanes recorded strikeouts of Heizer and Taylor Hurst before Ayars popped up to Coppes to end the contest and start the Paulding County squad’s celebration.

“These girls have worked so hard,” Ordway continued. “I am so proud of them and of the whole community. The support we have gotten all season long has been tremendous and you saw that again here today.”

Hanes picked up her 22nd win of the season, improving to 22-2 on the year, with the complete-game victory that saw her allow three hits and two walks. The junior hurler finished the season with a trio of consecutive shutouts in wins over Crestview, Peebles and Mechanicsburg.

She also led the Antwerp offense with two singles and two runs batted in while Brumett and Samantha Rigsby each added a single and drove in one run.

Lauren Schuller and Alyssa Fuller chipped in singles for Antwerp. Kennedy Trabel, Tiera Gomez, Ali Reinhart, Schuller and McCrea all scored a run. Astianna Coppes also had a run batted in.

Francys King took the loss for Mechanicsburg, tossing four innings while giving up three hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. Rodgers tossed the final two frames, allowing three hits, three earned runs and a walk while fanning three.

Audrey Ayars, Megan Alspaugh and Francys King all had singles for the Lady Indians, who wrap up their season at 21-4.