AKRON (WJER) (June 6, 2022) – The Strasburg softball team is the Division IV state champion after Saturday’s 3-2 win in the title game over Van Wert Lincolnview.
It is the program’s eighth state championship, the first under coach Tom Spidell, who joined WJER’s morning show Monday.
He said his players got a kick out of him celebrating by jumping around on the field and pumping his fists after the final out in a tense seventh inning.
“When it’s 3-1 and runners on and they get a hit, it’s pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “The emotion of everything, the long season, and finally myself winning the state championship; all that came out.”
The game ended with a play at home plate. Strasburg had taken a 3-0 lead into the seventh and got two outs before Lincolnview rallied. The Lancers would have tied the game if not for the Tigers’ defense on a bloop single just over the second baseman’s head.
“Maggie Richards charged the ball hard, and she made a great throw to Sydney Sibila at the plate, and she applied the tag to get the out, and ended up winning 3-2,” Spidell said. “It was very exciting to say the least.”
Coach Spidell’s daughter, Amelia, pitched a complete game for the win. He says they have talked about winning a state title since she was 9 or 10 years old.
“We got to attend state championship games with other Strasburg teams and watch them and how exciting that was,” he said. “Someday I was hoping to see that myself and see my daughter on the mound. I never really dreamt that I would be the coach of the team when she was doing that, but it’s all worked out and it has been very exciting.”
Spidell says pitching and defense help win championships, but the tigers’ hitting this year was just as crucial. Strasburg could hit from one through nine in the lineup.
“And then you’ve got Emma Gilkerson who is the all-time leading home run hitter in Strasburg history,” he said. “She did that in three seasons where everybody else had four. Because of COVID, she missed her sophomore season, so who knows what that record would look like.”
Spidell says it all came together at tournament time.
“We’ve scored double-digit runs in like six of the eight games we’ve played,” he said. “When you do that you really have a good chance to win. Fortunately (in the championship game), we didn’t quite score as many runs but we did score enough to win because pitching and defense is what won the championship for us.”
Coach Spidell says they’re back to work already in pursuit of the next state title. The team was scheduled to hit the gym Monday and play a summer league game Thursday.