Last updated: August 23. 2013 7:21PM - 67 Views

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BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath’s Shelby Snyder lined a sinking liner to right.When the ball nestled safely in the green outfield grass, the Wildkittens had the victory.And Bath coach Laura Ford had win No. 500.Snyder’s two-out RBI single to right in the home seventh inning gave Bath a 5-4 walk-off softball victory over Sylvania Southview on Saturday at Bath.Ford, who began coaching at Bath in 1984, pushed her Bath softball record to 500-110 in 25 seasons. According to Ohio High School Athletic Association records, she is the first softball coach to reach 500 wins.“It’s special to see all the kids come back and how dramatic the game was. What a way to get this one,” Ford said after a special post-game ceremony.Snyder’s hit easily scored Amanda Ricker from third. When the ball got past Southview right fielder Dom Taylor, Snyder pulled into second.Ford left the third-base coaching box and gave Snyder a big hug around the shortstop area.With the crowd cheering, dozens of blue and yellow balloons were released into the blue sky.“We were a little nervous because we wanted to get it for her,” Snyder said. “She really deserves it. ※ When I hit it, first you’re happy, then your stomach just drops, and it was, ‘Oh my gosh, we just won.’ ”Bath led 2-1 after the first inning. Southview posted a three-run fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead.The Wildkittens got within 4-3 with an RBI single to short by Caitlin Burden in the fifth. Heather Piper’s RBI groundout to second in the sixth tied the game at 4.In the home seventh, Ricker led off with a slap single and later came home on Snyder’s RBI single.“We came back and we never quit,” Bath third baseman Stephanie Sanders said. “It’s just awesome to be a part of the 500 wins. It’s just amazing.”Snyder went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. She also picked up the complete-game victory. Snyder gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits. She struck out nine and walked none. Ricker and Burden both were 2-for-3.Bath is 3-0, while Southview is 1-1.The victory was special for Julie Jordan (formerly Nixon), who played for Ford on her first team in 1984. Jordan’s freshman daughter, Emily, was the designated hitter Saturday.“She was a great coach 25 years ago and she’s still a great coach,” Jordan said. “And she just loves the kids.”Bath assistant coach Missy Mitchell played for Ford and graduated from Bath in 1996.“She demands the best every day,” Mitchell said. “She wants you to play hard every day and leave it all on the field. She understands the things you go through every day, but she also demands you to work hard. She’s a great person all the way around.”Ford has never had a losing season and has had 15 seasons with at least 20 wins. She’s won 14 Western Buckeye League titles, 14 district titles and made seven trips to the state tournament. The 2001 team won the Division II state championship.“You enjoy playing for her and she’s the type of coach who would do anything for you,” Leslie Jones (formerly Arnold), who played on the state title team, said. “I remember when I was a little girl coming and watching them play and wanted to play for coach Ford. I got the chance and it’s definitely nice saying that I was a part of some of those 500 wins.”Ford played softball at Bath before going on to play basketball at Defiance College. She then returned to Bath as a coach.“We always stressed fundamentals and winning and losing with class,” Ford said. “We want to be great sports on and off the field, and if that carries over, then my job’s well done.”

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