A summer of diamond dreams came to an end as the Class C Wellington Lighting secured a third place finish this past weekend in the Ohio Girls Softball Organization state tournament.
After coming from behind to defeat the Amherst Lightning 9-4 to be crowned district champions July 14, Wellington was forced to forfeit its state semifinal game Saturday due to a lack of available players. However, the team managed to rebound Sunday in a 3-0 victory over Windham Lions Club at Wellington Community Park.
The Lightning finished the season 14-3, a campaign first-year coach Bob Georgevich said always had a team-first agenda.
“We haven’t counted on the same two or three girls each game,” he said. “Someone different will come up and make a good hit, pitch, or play in the field all the time. This team is always ready to pick up the slack when the time comes. They’re ready to pick each other up.”
There was no shortage of veteran leadership available, said Georgevich as he introduced a trio of contributors who’ve each played softball for more than 10 years.
“It’s all about never giving up and having faith in your team,” said Emma Oney, a pitcher, shortstop, and outfielder. “It’s hard to pick one spot where I like playing best because I just like playing where I’m needed most. We’ve tried to keep each other in a good mood during games all year and it really paid off.”
Maddie Lewis, a fellow shortstop and outfielder, also said a never-say-die attitude is crucial.
“We keep pushing no matter what’s going on in a game,” she said. “We’ve always not given up on each other. It’s something coaches have talked to us about for a long time, since I started playing softball when I was about four.”
“It hasn’t been hard for all of us to stick together,” said outfielder Hailey Georgevich. “When the game is going on, that’s what we’re focused on. Between games, we try to get rest too. It’s been really fun.”
Even though the season didn’t end in a state title, coach Georgevich said his district champions grew as a team and learned valuable lessons on teamwork and coming through when the chips were down.
“This team did a great job,” he said. “Some girls missed some games due to other commitments but someone else was always ready to step up. Whether we had nine girls or 15 girls show up, they played to win. It was very fun to coach them. It’s been a joy to watch.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.