ELM GROVE - Bellaire took undefeated Fort Frye to the limit Saturday afternoon, but the Cadets scored the lone run of the game to remain perfect in 18 decisions.
Victoria Mimken struck out 16 and singled in the only run she would need with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as the top-seeded Cadets blanked the No. 2 Lady Reds (17-3) by a 1-0 count to capture the OVAC Class 3A Championship on sun-splashed Lisa's Field at the I-470 J.B. Chambers Complex.
"Our bats let us down today," Bellaire head coach Melissa Lahna said. "That was our one fault today, but I'll tell you what, these girls played hard. They have nothing to be disappointed in. It was a hard-fought battle here. It wasn't an easy game for either side.
T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY
BELLAIRE shortstop Taylar Canter throws to first during the fifth inning of the Class 3A title game. Bellaire fell, 1-0.
"They (Fort Frye) came to play and hit the ball better than we did today," Lahna added.
Mimken was nearly untouchable as she only permitted a 2-out bloop single to Mary Garloch in the first inning and an infield single to Megan Ging in the sixth, also with two outs. She fanned 10 in a row from the last out of the first through the fourth.
The hard-throwing senior needed just 76 pitches - 61 strikes - and threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of the 24 batters she faced.
"Victoria has been this for us for four years now," Fort Frye head coach Barb Sleek praised. "She won an OVAC championship as a freshman, and now she's won one as a senior."
It appeared as though Fort Frye had scored a run in the second when Hali Lemasters was ruled out for leaving third base early on a fly ball to Garloch in left.
The Cadets finally broke through against Ging when Natalie Smith ripped a double to deep center. Courtesy runner Tori Hendershot scored on Mimken's single to right one pitch later.
"This doesn't define us," Lahna admitted. "There's a lot of season left for us. This game should show some people that we are legit. There are a lot of people out there that don't think we're legit, and we are.
"They (Fort Frye) are one of the best teams in the state, and we held them to one run," Lahna continued. "I thought (Megan) Ging pitched well today, our bats just let us down a little bit."
Ging fanned two and scattered five hits. She didn't walk a batter, but hit one.
"I thought we were a little dead at the plate today, but, fortunately, that's not our bread and butter," Sleek said. "We make sure that we don't give up a lot of runs, so we don't have to score a lot.
"Pitching and defense won this championship for us."
Bellaire is back in action Tuesday when it travels to Martins Ferry in Buckeye 8 action.