LEO-CEDARVILLE – The rivalry between ACAC neighbors Leo and Woodlan encompasses more than the brown patch of softball diamond the two county teams shared Thursday night in their struggle for the Class 3A sectional championship. Their history crosses every sport, ignores genders and spans generations from 18 to 80.
So when Woodlan got the 6-0 best of the Lions on the very same diamond where Leo gave the Warriors their only loss of the season, Thursdays championship naturally had a little more meaning.
Playing three sports, they usually beat us in everything, sophomore second baseman Haley Hostetler said. It means a whole lot. I cant even describe it.
Hostetlers solo home run in the third inning, a two-run double by her senior sister Madelynne in the fourth, and a shutout pitching performance by junior Hannah Robbins helped send the No. 2 Warriors (29-1) into Tuesdays regional game at either Lakeland or Wawasee.
Obviously we really wanted it, Haley Hostetler said. This is the first year in this sectional. We moved up. We were (Class 2A state) runners-up last year, so we were definitely hungry.
Woodlan didnt waste time against the Lions (26-3).
Held in check offensively in its 4-1 loss to Leo this season, the Warriors doubled their previous output in the first inning when Lauren Ehle smacked the games second pitch into right-center for a double. She scored on a Leo throwing error that enabled Haley Hostetler to reach second.
Hostetler then rushed in on a double to left by Robbins – the first of her three hits.
Its good to get on the board the first few innings, said Robbins, who limited Leo to three hits and struck out four. We also scored a run the game we lost to them, too. We knew we would have to score a few, but it was good to get ahead in the first inning.
There would be more.
Despite the stiff wind blowing directly in, Haley Hostetler banged her home run over the center field fence to put the Warriors ahead 3-0. Then in the fourth, Woodlan scored three more runs when Morgan Franklin walked on four pitches and scored on Erica Brandenburgs hit to right. Brandenburg and Ehle, who reached on a fielders choice, then scored on Madelynne Hostetlers sharp single into left field.
Leos best opportunity to break through came in the fourth inning when Hannah Field led off with an infield single and Claxton hit a two-out single to left, but the mild threat died when Woodlan third baseman Lily Keller scooped up a ground ball and stepped on the bag.
We were hitting the ball the first couple of innings, Leo coach Ben Shappell said. It was right to people.
So this time its Woodlan that can celebrate.
It is definitely a rivalry, Woodlan coach Barry Ehle said.
We know their kids. We play summer ball against them at times. We play basketball against them. Some of them play volleyball. Its one season to the next.