WILLARD — Lexington coach Todd Galownia expected nothing less than a street fight and got even more than he bargained for.
Top-seeded Lexington and fellow Richland County heavyweight Clear Fork traded blows for 12 innings before Lady Lex landed the knockout punch in a 6-5 win over the No. 6 Colts in the Division II district championship game Friday in Willard.
Lexington (21-4) won its first district title since 2011 and will play either Bryan or Lima Bath in the regional semifinals on Wednesday in New Riegel. Bryan and Bath play for the Lima district crown at noon Saturday at the University of Northwest Ohio.
“It feels awesome,” Galownia said. “The girls don’t want to be done and I don’t want them to be done. It’s too much fun to watch them and be a part of.”
Lady Lex plated the winning run on Kaylie Eichorn’s sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the 12th. Kylie Galownia drew a walk to lead off the inning and moved to second on Jillian Bammann’s single to center. Jillian Morr laid down a sacrifice bunt, but legged it out for a single to load the bases. Eyan Underwood lined out to Clear Fork pitcher Ashtynn Roberts for the first out of the inning, bringing Eichorn to the plate. The sophomore shortstop popped a ball up along the first base line that Clear Fork first baseman Macy Ousley appeared to have a play on. Eichorn and Ousley collided, however, and the ball landed in foul territory. After a short conference, the three-man umpiring crew ruled there was no interference.
“They told me it wasn’t a playable ball, that (Ousley) wasn’t going to make the catch,” Clear Fork coach Chris Clapper said of the explanation he received from the umpires. “So it’s not interference.”
Given new life, Eichorn hit a hard liner to deep center. Clear Fork center fielder Trinity Cook made the catch and fired home, but Galownia scored standing up.
“There’s a lot of stress on that and my previous at bats had not been the best,” Eichorn said. “There’s a lot of pressure, but I just looked over at my team and I realized that they earned this. All those seniors that have worked so hard, I needed to work for them.”
Lexington scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Cameron Campbell reached on a two-base error and came home on Morr’s single to center.
The Colts (18-10) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. Ousley belted a one-out double and scored on Pacey Chrastina’s double. Chrastina would eventually come home on an RBI-single by Katrina Rogers.
Lexington reclaimed the lead in the home half of the fifth, scoring four unearned runs as the Colts committed two errors in the inning. Bammann, Morr and Underwood all drove in runs in the inning.
Clear Fork tied it in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs on five hits. Renee Anders tripled and scored, while Morgan Shafer, Cook and Roberts knocked in runs.
Chrastina and Anders had three hits apiece for the Colts. Cook, Roberts, Ousley and Tatum Swihart each had a pair.
Morr had three hits for Lady Lex, including a triple. Bammann had two singles.
Roberts pitched all 12 innings for Clear Fork, scattering nine hits and striking out four.
Bammann worked the first six innings for Lexington, allowing five runs on 11 hits. Galownia worked the final six innings, scattering five hits.