They Fall to No. 2 Ranked Danville Lady Blue Devils 7-1 - Seniors Shania Setty, Sherry Heckathorn, & Kourtnie Smith End Stellar Careers
For the fifth time in program history and the second consecutive year, the Fairfield Lady Lions advanced to play in the Regional Finals. But a record setting season ended this afternoon before a truly impressive showing of Fairfield Lady Lion fans on an absolutely beautiful day for softball at Pickerington Central High School as the Fairfield Lady Lions (20-2) finished the season as the Pickerington Regional Runner-Up to the Danville Lady Blue Devils (29-2) by a score of 7-1.
Danville the No. 2 state ranked team advances to the State Tournament to face the Lucas Lady Cubs (21-8). The Williamsburg Lady Wildcats (28-2), Fairfield’s only regular season loss, will play the Carey Lady Blue Devils (17-5) in the other Division IV State Semi-Final game.
The Fairfield Lady Lions faithful made the trip to Pickerington to watch their Lady Lions en mass. It was a sea of red down the third base line and a sea of blue down the first base line. Today’s game was a rematch of last year’s Regional Semi-Final game where the Fairfield Lady Lions upset the No. 1 state ranked Danville Lady Blue Devils 8-4.
Today the Fairfield Lady Lions were slow to get their offense started while Danville would score a single run in the bottom of the first inning. Then Danville would do what good teams do and add two runs in the bottom of the third inning, a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, and three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Fairfield Lady Lions would put runners on base in every inning, but failed to score until the seventh inning.
Kaiti White battled in the circle and managed to keep her team in the game.
The Lady Lions would look to score in the top of the first inning. With one out Carli Reiber doubled to left centerfield, but Danville’s Shanna Mickley would strikeout the next two batters to end the threat.
Danville would get on the scoreboard first, when Taylor Duncan turned on a Kaiti White fast ball and drove it over the centerfield fence for a home run. In the top of the third inning Sherry Heckathorn drew a base on balls and then steals second base. But again Mickley would get a ground ball back to the circle to end the threat.
The Lady Lions defense would commit a costly error in the bottom of the third inning that resulted in two unearned runs.
With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Emily Williams singled down the right field line and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. But would be left on base.
Lyndee Spargur led off the top of the fifth inning with a base on balls. Shania Setty laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Spargur to second base. Megan Gragg singled to the left side of the infield, but Danville shortstop McKinley Alberts made a diving catch of the ground ball to prevent the ball from going into left field. Alberts then caught Spargur in a run down between second and third base eventually tagging her out and Gragg would be left on base.
Danville added another run in the bottom of the fifth inning on bunt singles by McKinley Alberts and Shanna Mickley. Lauren Arnold doubled to the fence in centerfield to lead off the inning. One out later, Shania Setty walked and Megan Gragg ripped a single up the middle to knock in Arnold. Sherry Heckathorn singled to left field to load the bases. Carli Rebier reached base on a fielder’ choice as Setty was forced out at the plate. But again the Lady Lions would leave the bases loaded.
The Fairfield Lady Lion’s players and coaches would like to thank the many Lady Lion fans that came to Pickerington. It was truly an impressive crowd.
The Fairfield Lady Lions end a great season with many accomplishments. They are back to back undefeated Southern Hills League Champions (13-0) (19th), Sectional Champions (31th), Southeast District Champs (9th), and Regional Runner-Up (4th ). Kaiti White sets a school record being the first Lady Lions pitcher to win 20 games in back to back seasons finishing the season last year at 21-3 and this year at 20-2. Previously Lauren Larrick and Elissa Brooks had 19 win seasons.
Several post season honors were announced last week at the SHAC Awards ceremony and the Fairfield Spring Sports Award ceremony. Kaiti White, Kourtnie Smith, Emily Williams, and Lyndee Spargur were named to the All Southern Hills Athletic Conference team, a rare occurrence to have four players from one team on the squad. Kaiti White was named the first Most Valuable Player of the SHAC. The Southeast District Coaches will announce their selection to the All Southeast District team this weekend. Kaiti White and Kourtnie Smith were selected to the first team. Emily Williams and Lyndee Spargur were named Honorable mention. Kaiti White was named All Ohio First Team.
The young Fairfield Lady Lions say good bye to three special young ladies: Seniors Shania Setty, Sherry Heckathorn, and Kourtnie Smith. They will be hard to replace. The trio become the first players to win three consecutive District Championships and back to back Regional Runner up trophies. They provided leadership to the team and helped to raise the bar for Fairfield Lady Lion softball.
We often discuss with our softball teams each season what it means to be a part of a program of excellence. It not only means working hard every day to make yourself and your team better. But it means leaving your mark on the Lady Lions softball program after you leave. The three seniors of Shania Setty, Sherry Heckathorn, and Kourtnie Smith have done exactly that.
The Fairfield Lady Lion’s players and coaches have been an absolute joy to work with and all have worked hard every day to make themselves and their teammates better. I have looked forward to coming to practice every day. The future is bright for Fairfield Lady Lions softball.
Thomas E. Purtell
Fairfield Lady Lions Softball
Wilmington College Lady Quaker Softball