AKRON — Elyria got the effective pitching from Izzie St. Peter that’s gotten it out of jams all year. It got the clutch power from Maycee Godbolt late in the game. But it couldn’t find that last ingredient to help it replicate the magic of the 2017 state championship run.
After a two-run home run by Godbolt in the sixth inning tied the game, Louisville got back-to-back solo shots from Teagan Rice and Kaycee Ollis in the bottom of the inning, and the Leopards were able to hold on for a 4-2 victory in a Division I state semifinal Friday at Firestone Stadium.
“I take responsibility for their two homers because on my scouting sheet it’s got ‘don’t let her beat you’ for those two hitters,” Elyria coach Ken Fenik said. “The pitches were good, they were low where they had to be and they were outside and they just hit them where they were pitched and they drove the hell out of the ball.
“We knew coming in they were a great hitting team. They made a mistake to Maycee and we tied the game up, and then we made two mistakes. I don’t even know if we can call them mistakes.”
St. Peter was masterful to that point when it came to weaving in and out of danger. She walked six, but didn’t allow the big hit and left 10 Louisville runners stranded — including bases loaded in the third and fifth innings.
“Sometimes I get nervous and I start getting wild, but then Maycee comes and talks to me and calms me down,” St. Peter said.
“I don’t get nervous because I know she can strike them out,” Godbolt chimed in. “I just take it one pitch at a time.”
Louisville (26-4) finally broke the scoreless tie in the fifth.
Rice hit a one-out single through the left side, Ollis walked and Sarah Cantley singled to left field to drive in Rice. St. Peter surrendered back-to-back walks to Alex Fankhauser and Justina Sirohman to drive in a second run before second baseman Jessica Chapman made a nice running catch to end the inning.
“One through nine we were getting on base,” Louisville coach Andrea Arney said. “We had some great hits and they made great plays, but when you’re hitting the ball like that you’re going to find a way to score runs.”
Elyria (24-6) bounced back quickly. St. Peter singled through the right side to lead off the sixth, advanced to second on Adrian Petrisko’s sacrifice bunt and moved to third on Chapman’s groundout to the pitcher.
Godbolt sent a 2-1 pitch deep over the right-field wall to tie the game. The home run tied her for the Lorain County single-season record with 13.
“The first two at-bats were a little shaky — my second at-bat (Kaylee Nolte) caught the ball in right field and I was kind of upset — but I just went up to the plate and was like, ‘She beat me twice and she’s not going to beat me a third time,’” Godbolt said. “I just shortened up and hit it where it was pitched. That’s all you’ve gotta do.”
The blast almost didn’t happen.
“I was one second away from walking her. I kicked myself for that one,” Arney said. “But I knew they had a great hitter in the next one up (Damia Parks), so we just thought not to put the go-ahead run up to bat. We struck her out once so … but she’s a great hitter and she got the job done.”
Rice and Ollis got the job done in the following inning, with each of the solo shots coming with two outs.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I put the pitch where it was supposed to go and they were just good hitters,” St. Peter said. “I couldn’t really do anything about it.”
Fenik said he was proud of how his team used a comeback win over North Canton Hoover at the Prebis Memorial tournament to turn around its season, winning every game until the state semifinal.
He believes the momentum can extend beyond this season.
“We control what we do next year, I’m already thinking about it,” he said. “The game’s only been over a half-hour and I’m already thinking about next year. I’m proud of my girls.”
With Parks being the only senior and with all the juniors having two state tournaments and a state title under their belts, the Pioneers will have lofty goals for 2020.
“I think we can make it back here next year and I think we can even win it,” Godbolt said. “We’re coming back 10 times harder and there’s no giving up from here.”
Louisville 4, Elyria 2
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Petrisko 1 0 0 0 McKeever 4 0 0 0
Chapman 3 0 0 0 Rice 3 2 3 1
Godbolt 3 1 1 2 Ollis 3 2 1 1
Parks 3 0 1 0 Cantley 2 0 1 1
Olszewski 3 0 0 0 Zifer 0 0 0 0
Williams 3 0 1 0 Nolte 4 0 0 0
Phares 3 0 0 0 Fankhause 1 0 0 0
Howard 2 0 0 0 Sirohman 2 0 0 1
St. Peter 2 1 1 0 Bennett 3 0 0 0
Fenik 0 0 0 0 Zavarelle 3 0 1 0
Totals 23 2 4 2 Totals 25 4 6 4
Elyria 000 002 0 — 2 4 1
Louisville 000 022 X — 4 6 0
HR – Godbolt, Rice, Ollis. SAC – Phares, Petrisko. DP – Louisville 1. LOB – Elyria 2, Louisville 10.
IP H R ER BB SO
St. Peter (L) 5 2/3 6 4 4 6 3
Olszewski 1/3 0 0 0 1 1
Cantley (W) 7 4 2 2 0 6
HBP – Petrisko (by Cantley).
Umpires – Home: Timothy Klemm; 1B: David DeVelvis; 2B: Brandon Smith; 3B: LeighAnn Baer.
Time – 1:50. Attendance – 4,000.