MADISON TOWNSHIP — Sandusky Perkins pitcher Addi Obermeyer steered the ship through treacherous waters Friday afternoon.
A junior right-hander, Obermeyer expertly navigated her way through one of the most prolific offenses in north central Ohio as the fifth-seeded Pirates upset top-seeded Madison 6-5 in the Division II sectional championship game Friday at Madison.
Obermeyer scattered 10 hits and allowed four earned runs against the state-ranked Rams, who averaged more than 10 runs per game en route to the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship. She threw 54 of her 84 pitches for strikes in the complete-game victory.
“That is a heck of a team. I had another coach tell me that Madison is the best-hitting high school team he has ever seen,” Perkins coach Scott Dickman said. “For my pitcher to do what she did, it’s just unbelievable. She never lost her composure.”
Madison (18-6) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Hope Barrett had a run-scoring single while Kyleigh Reiter delivered a two-out, two-run single.
Perkins cut the deficit to 3-1 in the top of the fourth when Bowling Green-bound senior shortstop led Cam Kaufman led off with a triple and came home on Kendall Zeiher’s RBI-single.
Madison answered in the home half of the fourth, but Perkins avoided a disastrous inning by turning an unorthodox 8-6-2-5 double-play to end the inning. The Rams loaded the bases with one out when Barrett singled to center. Zeiher, Perkins center fielder, fielded the ball and relayed to Kaufman, who fired a strike to catcher Avery Baker to cut down a runner at the plate for the second out. Baker then threw to third baseman Tayler Hawkins, who tagged a Madison runner trying to advance for the third out of the inning.
“Our defense has been very important to our success this year,” Kaufman said. “I have to give credit to our outfielders for getting the ball in fast to give us a chance to get those outs.”
Trailing 4-1, Perkins (15-10) erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth. Kaufman was intentionally waked with one out and scored on Zeiher’s double to make it 4-2.
A Hawkins single and a Madison error plated Zeiher to make it 4-3 and allowed Hawkins to reach third. A single by Caden McClellan tied the game at 4-4 before another Madison error allowed pinch runner Sicily Brownell to score the go-ahead run and a run-scoring groundout by Natalie Martin made it 6-4.
The Rams cut the Perkins lead to 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh when Liv Schultz lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right, plating Emily Nolan. But with runners at first and second and two out, Obermeyer induced a game-ending flyout to left field.
“We made way too many mistakes all across the board and they outplayed us. That’s the bottom line,” Madison coach Tim Niswander said. “They just kept hitting it and hitting it in the (sixth) and we made some mistakes on top of it.
"They put it all together in that one inning and did enough to win.”
Barrett led Madison with three hits and a pair of RBIs. Reiter had two hits and two RBIs, while Nolan had two hits and scored two runs.
Kaufman and Zeiher each had two hits for Perkins. Kaufman scored a pair of runs, while Zeiher knocked in two.
Perkins advances to next week’s district tournament at Willard. The Pirates will play fourth-seeded Clyde, which beat Shelby 2-0 on Friday.
Perkins will make its first district appearance since 2015.
“We haven’t had a winning record since 2015,” said Dickman, who was 101-53 in eight seasons at Margaretta before taking over at Perkins before the 2022 season. “It feels amazing. I’m so happy for these girls.”