The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


May 25, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Eagles join elite

How special is the magic-carpet ride the Geneva Eagles are on this spring on softball fields across the region?

Consider, this season marks the 36th campaign the Ohio High School Athletic Association has conducted a state tournament and what coach Eleshia Pitcher and her Eagles have accomplished in winning the Jefferson Division II district championship has happened only once before in the history of the Geneva program.

In 1993, the late Bob Herpy led Geneva, paced by the likes of Tiffany Leonard, Kara Anderson, Shawn Novak and Tara Leonard, to a Division I district crown and it hadn’t happened since... until now, that is.

All of which makes Geneva one of 16 Division II teams still standing in the Buckeye State.

And the 21 wins ties the school record for conquests in a single season, matching the mark set by, you guessed it, Herpy’s aforementioned 1993 squad.

Friday’s 5-3 planting of top-seeded Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (22-8) makes Geneva the 12th Ashtabula County team to win a district championship, the first since coach Andy Gray’s Pymatuning Valley Lakers won a Division III district title in 2008.

Here’s a list of Ashtabula County’s district-championship softball squads:

  • 1979 — Grand Valley.
  • 1982 — Grand Valley.
  • 1988 — Grand Valley.
  • 1989 — Grand Valley.
  • 1991 — Jefferson.
  • 1993 — Geneva.
  • 1997 — Grand Valley.
  • 2000 — Conneaut.
  • 2003 — Edgewood.
  • 2006 — Edgewood.
  • 2008 — Pymatuning Valley.
  • 2013 — Geneva.

A closer look at that dozen makes what Geneva has done this spring even more impressive.

Consider, half of the above-mentioned teams reached the Sweet 16 in smaller-school divisions — the five GV teams and the one PV squad.

From the first year the OHSAA began holding state tournaments (1978) through the 1989 season, there were three divsions for softball — Class A, Class AA and Class AAA.

The four GV teams, all coached by Cyndy Thomas, reached the regional tournament in Class A.

Before the 1990 season, the OHSAA went to its still-in-use four-classification setup — Division I, Division II, Division III and Division IV — and GV made it in Division III in 1997, as did PV in 2008.

By virtue of their tremendous performance this season, the 2013 Eagles make Geneva one of only three Ashtabula County teams to fly to a district title more than once, joining GV (5 times) and Edgewood (2 times).

This spring, led by senior southpaw hurler Amy Pitcher and the run and gun offensive attack paced by twins Becky and Sarah Depp, Alyssa Donato, Amy Pitcher and Kylie Hansen, the Eagles have proven to be the best team in the Premier Athletic Conference, the best team in Ashtabula County and now, the best team in the district.

And now, one of the best softball teams in the history of this county.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at

Text Only
  • Jefferson flying high

    Jefferson boys track coach T.J. Furman didn’t know what to expect from his young team coming into the 2014 season.

    April 20, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Jefferson 130, Pymatuning Valley 88, Springfield 75, Southeast 73.50, LaBrae 67, Liberty 56.50, Conneaut 44, Maplewood 39, Chalker 32, Windham 18
    at LaBrae

    April 20, 2014

  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

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    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

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