AKRON — For just the second time in history, Danville’s varsity softball team reached the OHSAA state championship game.
But this time, the team has to settle for runner-up.
The Blue Devils lost Saturday’s Division IV title game to Williamsburg, 3-2, in front of a packed house at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
“This is what we worked for all year,” said Danville head coach Jill Lyons.
Danville filled about two-thirds of the stadium for the game. The community cheered on its team so loudly it almost gave the Blue Devils a sense that it was a home game.
Danville gives up run in 7th to lose title game
AKRON — It all came down to the final inning of the season.
The Danville Blue Devils found out that the last hurdle can sometimes be the tallest — and the most painful.
The Blue Devils made few mistakes in Saturday’s Division IV softball championship against Williamsburg. They built a 2-0 lead, then watched as it trickled away and eventually gave way to a winning run in the seventh inning. Williamsburg left Firestone Stadium in Akron with the championship trophy and a 3-2 victory. Danville was left with a silver trophy — and a feeling of what might have been.
“This game is exactly what we worked for all year,” Danville coach Jill Lyons said. “We knew we could get here.”
Firestone Stadium was nearly filled to capacity on the hot Saturday afternoon with fans wearing blue. Williamsburg also wears blue, but most of the crowd was clearly from Danville.
’08 state champs cheer on ’17 team
AKRON — Nine years ago, a group of talented young ladies were the toast of Danville. The members of that 2008 softball team won a state title and became heroes in the eyes of the younger girls who sat in the stands and watched them play.
This year, that group became the fans, excitedly watching every play as the younger girls took their turn on the big stage.
“It’s seriously amazing. My heart is going … wow,” said Hannah (Matheny) Smith, the centerfielder on that 2008 state championship team. “I’m so excited inside, bursting with pride. … I’m reliving everything again and it’s a great feeling.”