AKRON – The bottom of the seventh inning, which had been so kind to Minster in the semifinals of the state softball tournament, turned against the Wildcats in a 2-1 loss to Cuyahoga Heights on Saturday in the Division IV state championship game.
Cuyahoga Heights pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to claim the state championship.
On Friday afternoon, Minster was down 3-1 to Paint Valley with two outs and no one on base but rallied to tie the game and then won in extra innings.
Saturday, Cuyahoga Heights started its winning rally when Samantha Rodriguez’s bloop single fell between three Minster players.
A sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Selena Colon to second base. She went to third base on a ground out and Brittany Nero’s two-out single scored her.
Minster (27-4), which had only two hits in the game against Cuyahoga Heights pitcher Meredith Chopka, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Rachel Heckaman was hit by a pitch, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Michaela Goettemoeller.
Goettemoeller had both of Minster’s hits.
“We just didn’t hit as well as we normally do,” Minster coach Scott Robinson said. “She’s a good pitcher. They had the big hit and we didn’t.”
Goettemoeller said, “We laid it all out today but we just didn’t get it done.”
Cuyahoga Heights (23-3) tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when Dayna Denner led off with a double, moved up on a throwing error when an attempt to turn a double play went bad and Chopka hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.
Cuyahoga Heights coach Brittany Zawadzki said Nero has been a clutch hitter throughout the postseason.
“Brittany has been coming up with big hits throughout the playoffs. There was nobody better to get the winning hit for us,” she said about Nero.
Both teams were in the state softball tournament for the first time.