CLICK HERE for slideshow of Champion’s 2018 championship and semifinal game photos.
These photos taken by Tribune Chronicle photographer R. Michael Semple showcase Champion girls softball team clinching and winning the semifinal and final Division III state Championship June 1 and 2, 2018, at Akron Firestone Stadium.
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AKRON — On a beautiful night for softball on Saturday, the Champion Golden Flashes had the chance to win back-to-back Division III state championships and three in the last four years. The Flashes did just that, beating Cardington-Lincoln, 9-4.
In the final game for four-year seniors Megan Turner and Alayna Fell, it was a moment that comes without words.
“There are really no words to describe it. I’m not upset, I’m just sad that the season has ended because I love my teammates. I’m glad we got to come here three out of four years,” Turner, the Flashes’ senior shortstop, said. “It’s just an amazing feeling that we were able to come back and finish this one more time.”
For Champion softball as a program, that makes eight state championships in 41 years of the tournament. For coach Cheryl Weaver, that now makes five rings in the last eight years.
“I’m excited and I’m without words at what has happened in these past couple years. Also, how great these Champion teams have been. I just have to compliment the girls, their parents and the community for staying behind us,” Weaver said about the game and the season.
Weaver also thanked the parents for what they are willing to do to make the team so good.
“When I get them, they are already good ball players. I think my job becomes more about staying a team and be a little psychiatrist here and there,” Weaver said.
For Fell and Turner, they get to say something no other softball player in Champion softball history can say; they have three championships now.
“I think that for the community they expect this every year. This is Champion softball and we go to state a lot. We wanted to do this for the community and coach Weaver,” Fell said. “It’s also about the underclassmen getting to experience the moment of being at state and what exactly it means to all of us.”
With just two four-year seniors and three seniors leaving the program, the Flashes will be greatly positioned to get as far as they want to next season. Two spots, left field (Fell) and shortstop (Turner), will be tough to fill quickly.
“Our motto the past two games was ‘losing is not an option’. So, we kind of knew that we needed to stay loose. We are close with each other,” Turner said. “Coach Weaver asked us, “What are we going to do if we are done?’ We told her that we are going to fight. We fought in both games and came out on top.”