Rangers Fall in OHSAA Tournament

Ranger left fielder Saher Hamdan at bat in the first inning.

Lakewood's OHSAA softball tournament run ended on Tuesday afternoon in Parma, as Brecksville-Broadview Heights defeated the Rangers 5-0. The Bees, #1 seed in the district, held off a stubborn challenge from the young Rangers. Freshman Payton Rossen pitched well in a complete game game performance for Lakewood. However, Bees starter Addison Cave was dominant in the circle, keeping Lakewood off the scoreboard only allowing one runner to reach third base.

The game was played under sunny skies at Cuyahoga Community College's western campus. Ranger shortstop Maggie Soneson had a single in the top of the first, but Cave struck out three batters to prevent any scoring. Brecksville had a pair of baserunners in their half of the first inning, but a potential rally was thwarted when Lakewood catcher Audra Tutela threw out a baserunner trying to steal second base.

Brecksville scored its first runs in the bottom of the second inning. Three consecutive one-out singles brought home two runs. Kelsey Jakosh had the key hit for the Bees, driving in the two runs. Lakewood escaped the inning without any further damage. Ranger senior Claire Hylton had a single in the top of the third inning, but Cave again prevented any more baserunners. Brecksville widened its lead in the bottom of the third off a sacrifice grounder by Cave, making the score 3-0.

Lakewood was unable to get any baserunners in the fourth inning, and also held the Bees scoreless in the bottom of the inning. Audra Tutela threw out another runner attempting to steal second base. Ranger first baseman Chloe Soneson started the fifth inning with a single, giving the Rangers a spark. However, Hylton hit a screaming line drive that was turned into a hard-luck double play by the Bees, ending the threat.

Brecksville struck again in the bottom of the fifth, as MacKenzie Stease hit a two-out triple to drive in two more runs. That made the lead 5-0 after five innings....the Rangers had only six outs left to close the margin. Jackie Burdette and Saher Hamdan had back-to-back singles to open the sixth inning for the Rangers. Maizy Cunningham followed with a beautiful sacrifice bunt that moved the runners to second and third base. Lakewood fans were fired up, as this was their best scoring chance of the day. However, Cave struck out the next two batters, ending the inning. Cave finished the day with ten strikeouts in six innings of work.

Rossen quickly retired the Bees in the bottom of the sixth inning, holding the score at 5-0 going into the final frame. Jakosh, who had the first two RBIs for Brecksville, entered the circle to pitch the final inning. Lakewood was retired in order, ending both the game and their season.

The team made huge strides this season behind a young core of talent, improving its record and advancing to the district semifinals. Seniors Maggie Soneson and Hailey Owens, the team's starting shortstop and center fielder, will be missed. However, most of the lineup will be back. Rossen, who pitched very well in her freshman season, still has three more years to continue improving. The program is on an upswing, especially if more young talent continues to be developed at the youth level.

Mike Deneen

Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1 

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:00 AM, 05.17.2017