Edison has returned to the state softball tournament after a 2-1 win over Archbold in the Division III regional final at Bellefontaine High School Saturday.
With the win, the Lady Chargers (24-3) — ranked No. 6 in the final state coaches poll — advances to state semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against No. 7 Canfield South Range (28-3) at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
“Most of the time the further you go the better the team is you will face,’’ Edison coach Troy Keegan said. “We play great competition around our area, but we have an idea or strong familiarity of what we are facing. When you play teams from further away, you don't have hardly any information on them. We try to gather data off the Internet just to find out who they've played or get some players statistics.
“Usually not much data is obtained so my philosophy is to attack them like we have these other teams and try to do the things we do best and hope that's good enough. We can't really change who we are this late in the game,’’ the coach added.
South Range advanced to the state for first time after a 1-0 win over Northwestern in the Massillon regional. Taylor Ross tallied the lone run in the bottom of the 12th inning.
In the 2012 state run, the Lady Chargers had a dominant pitcher in Susan Knight.
This season, it’s been senior Erica Reber.
“I think Erica has pitched the way she has for a few of reasons,’’ Keegan said. “First, she is fundamentally sound. She has good velocity and with great control. Second, she is motivated and determined to finish her senior season on top. Lastly, I believe she is such a leader that when her team isn't producing lots of runs she feels it's her responsibility to step it up and shut opponents down’’.
In a traditional unstoppable force versus an immoveable object storyline Saturday, Archbold represented the offensive juggernaut role. They scored 26 runs in their four tournament games en route to Saturday’s showdown with the Chargers — including 13 runs on 15 hits in their regional semifinal win.
On the season, the Blue Streaks had scored 174 runs in their 24 games.
However, Edison countered with Reber, who extended her tournament shutout streak to 33 innings before allowing Archbold's lone run in the sixth.
In four tournament games prior to Saturday, she had allowed two unearned runs with 41 strikeouts and two walks in 28 innings — including three consecutive shutouts. She went the distance again Saturday, allowing one earned run on four hits with nine strikeouts and a walk.
The Lady Chargers scored two runs in the first inning. As usual that turned out to be all Reber needed.
Edison loaded the bases before Jessica Stoll popped out to Archbold's Cassi Wyse at first, who then alertly tagged out Lindsey Fortuna on the play.
But Edison's Peyton Michel then hit a liner to right that scored both Hailey Stoll and Lauren Wolf.
From the second inning to the bottom of the sixth, the game was dominated by pitching. Archbold's Payton Robinson was able to keep up with Reber throughout after working through the first inning jam.
“We are the true version of a team,’’ Keegan said. “It might not always be the same players stepping up to contribute to the win. Hailey Stoll has been our true offensive catalyst. She has had 2 hits in 4-5 post season games.
“With her speed we were able to steal bases and produce a run in each of our 1-0 games,’’ the coach added. “She definitely is our best offensive weapon right now. Peyton Michel really known for her defense had a 2-out 2 RBI single that gave us enough runs to beat Archbold. She has been swinging a good bat the second half of the season. Lindsey Fortuna gave us a base hit which scored Stoll in our win against Colonel Crawford. So you never know who will be that player who produces at the right time.’’
A win in the state semifinal would put Edison into the championship game against either No. 1 Wheelersburg (25-2) or Johnstown-Monroe (24-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Edison 200 000 0 — 2 5 1
Archbold 000 001 0 — 1 4 1
WP: Reber (22-1); LP: Robinson
2B: (A) Robinson