By From staff reports
It turned out to be positives on both sides as the Indians scored twice in the fourth to get the lead for good, then used a big hit from Renee Evers in the sixth to preserve a 7-3 win over the Tigers in Versailles to earn at least a share of the MAC title.
The celebration grew bigger after the Indians found out that Coldwater beat Parkway to eliminate the Panthers from a chance at the title.
The Indians, who won a share of the MAC last season, earn their first outright title in softball with a 6-1 record and improve to 13-7 overall. Versailles, which lost three straight league games to end the regular season, end the MAC season at 4-3 and drop to 14-9 overall.
"It feels great," said Fort Recovery coach Marie Osterholt, who called in to the Daily Standard to check the final score of the Coldwater-Parkway game. "The kids worked so hard for this."
The Indians led 2-1 through three innings, but scored twice in the top of the fourth to solidfy the win. Tribe starter Tiff Gaerke was cruising before leaving with one out in the fifth after getting struck by a batted ball. Osterholt, who planned to bring in senior Alyssa Tobe in the top of the inning but allowed Gaerke to keep going, decided not to take any chances and brought Tobe in.
In the sixth, Renee Evers stepped up with two runners on and hit a shot over the fence at the Versailles diamond for a three-run homer to put the lead to 7-1.
Tobe did allow two runs in the seventh, but struck out six and walked one in just 2 2/3 innings for the save. Gaerke picked up the win for her fifth win of the season.
"They were up for every inning," Osterholt said of her team. "They were ready to play. They kept their heads in the game and never were shook."
While the Indians are celebrating the outright title, they know that there's more to come. Fort Recovery faces New Bremen on Tuesday at New Bremen for the a berth in the Division IV district finals.
"We have a long way to go. We have some things we want to do," said Osterholt. "The girls are all focused and have some goals they want to reach.
"We said we had more work to do, and they agreed."
Evers and Megan Wenning each had two hits for the Indians. Amber Voisard and Chelsea Mayer added two hits for the Tigers.
Versailles returns to action on Saturday at noon in the Division III sectional at Northmont. The Tigers play Dixie after beating Anna 4-1 on Wednesday.
Fort Recovery 200 203 0 -- 7 6 2
Versailles 001 000 2 -- 3 6 3
WP -- Gaerke; Sv -- Tobe; LP -- Mayer.
HR -- FR: Evers.
Records: Fort Recovery 13-7 (6-1 MAC), Versailles 14-9 (4-3 MAC).