The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

April 8, 2014

A Don McCormack column: County 9’s have same goal in mind

(Continued)

Softball

2000 — Led by three future Division I college athletes — freshman pitcher Adrian Tuttle, junior shortstop Char Kudlock and junior second baseman Jessica Olmstead — coach Clyde Laughlin’s Conneaut Spartans win the Division II state championship.

The Spartans edged Springfield Northwestern, 1-0, in the semifinals behind Tuttle’s brilliant, 1-hit shutout, 13-strikeout effort, then knocked off Lima Bath in the state title game, 3-1.

With the win, the Spartans became the first — and only — Ashtabula County or Northeastern Conference girls team to win a state championship.

2006 — Coach Shelley Monas, led by freshman phenom hurler Megan Dragon and the future Division I college double-play duo of Trisha Dreslinski (Hofstra) and Katie McMellen (Saint Francis) and speed-demon outfielder Lauren Childs, reach the Division II state semifinals in Ashland, only to be knocked off by eventual state champion LaGrange Keystone, 5-0.

Prologue

State baseball tournaments have been staged in Ohio since 1928.

From that spring through 1970, the tournament was divided into two classifications, based on enrollment.

From 1928 through 1956, it was Class A for the larger school and Class B for the smaller ones. For some reason, though the categories remained the same, the names were changed to Class AA (bigger) and Class A (smaller) in 1957 and they remained that way through the 1970 season.

In 1971, another division was added, making it three classes — Class AAA, Class AA and Class A.

Two decades later, a fourth classification was added and the names were changed to Division I (big-school schools), Division II, Division III and Division IV, the system that is still in use.

A side note, from 1928 through 1931, the state championship games were nine-inning contests.

In 1932, the year Rock Creek became the first county team to reach the state tournament, the championship games were shortened to its present-day 7 innings.

As mentioned previous, softball faced a 50-year deficit in terms of being permitted to stage a state tournament, the first one taking place in the spring of 1978.

From that season through 2000, a three-category system was in place. From ‘’78 through 1989, the divisions were classified as Class AAA (big-school squads), Class AA and Class A. In 1990, the same system was utilized, but the names were changed to Division I (large school), Division II and Division III.

In 2001, a fourth division was added, where it still stands today.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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