By SCOTT COTTOS
OAK HARBOR — It’s certainly not optimal to give Gibsonburg’s softball team extra opportunities at the plate.
Lakota got a first-hand look at the consequences on Tuesday.
Three Lakota errors in the first inning helped the Division IV top-ranked Golden Bears jump out to a 4-0 lead, and Gibsonburg went on to post a 13-0 victory in a five-inning district semifinal game at Oak Harbor High School.
The Golden Bears upped their record to 23-0 and will return at noon Saturday to meet the winner of today’s 5 p.m. semifinal between ninth-ranked Old Fort (18-3) and New Riegel (16-8).
“If you don’t field the ball, you’re going to get beat,” Raiders coach Chris Chalfin said after his club made five miscues on the day and finished its season at 16-7.
“Against these guys, you can’t make errors. They’re going to make you pay, which they did.
“They’re a good team. I’m not taking anything away from them. But if you want to beat them, you’d better field the ball. If you don’t, you’re going to get beat.”
The Golden Bears also collected 10 hits in their four team trips to the plate.
“There are times where we hit the ball hard enough where, against some teams, it does create errors,” Gibsonburg coach Marty Brown said. “If we can get on base that way, I’ll take that as well.
“We work real hard at hitting, and when we make good contact, pretty good things happen.”
Keely Snyder and Shylee Schmeltz drove in three runs apiece for the Golden Bears, with Snyder hitting a triple and a single and Schmeltz poking a pair of singles. Fleming’s two-run homer to left-center field finished the game’s scoring in the bottom of the fourth.
Schmeltz’s bases-loaded single to left field drove in Gibsonburg’s second run in the first inning, after leadoff hitter Allie Teeple reached on third baseman Amber Eubank’s fielding error and later scored on Brianna Ray’s wild pitch.
The Bears scored their last two of the inning when Lakota shortstop Olivia Harden fielded Fleming’s one-out, bases-loaded bouncer but threw wildly to the plate.
Gibsonburg took its lead in the bottom of the first after Lakota’s bases-loaded threat in the first came up empty. Ray and Emilee Roper singled with two outs before Samarah Johnson drew a walk. Fleming got out of the inning by striking out Maddie Bowling.
“Since we were fortunate enough to get out of that inning without giving up any runs, I felt real good about our chances,” Brown said.
Snyder belted a two-run triple, Abby Cantrell had a run-scoring single and Snyder scored on Schmeltz’s two-out sacrifice fly in the second inning.
Madison Lee reached base for Gibsonburg in the third when Lakota center fielder Taylor Maynard dropped her one-out fly ball. Lee hustled to third on Teeple’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Marian Younker’s single.
Libby Henderson doubled to start the Bears’ fourth and scored on Snyder’s single. Schmeltz singled Snyder home before Fleming drove her two-run homer off Harden, who relieved Ray after the first inning. Ray returned to the circle after Fleming’s shot and got the next three batters in order.
Though disappointed in the loss, Chalfin was proud of the season his squad put together.
“If you’d have told me before the season that, with two returning starters, we’d be 16-7, I’d have said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take that,'” he said. “We had a good year, all in all. This game just got ugly in a hurry.”
Lakota 000 00 — 0 4 5
Gibsonburg 441 4x — 13 10 0
WP — Fleming. LP — Ray. top hitters: (Gib) Younker 2B, 1B, RBI; Cantrell 2B, 1B, RBI; Henderson 2B; Snyder 3B, 1B, 3 RBI; Schmeltz 2-1B, 3 RBI; Fleming HR, 2 RBI.
records: Lakota 16-7, Gibsonburg 23-0