Creekview storms back to finish as Class AAAAAA runner-up
Carlton D. White
COLUMBUS — Creekview began its journey through the Class AAAAAA state championships with a 3-1 loss to Cambridge.
It ended it, however, hoisting the state runner-up trophy.
After their opening-round loss to the Lady Bears, the Lady Grizzlies tore through the losers’ bracket before ending their march similar to the way they started, falling 4-0 to Cambridge in the championship round Saturday at the South Commons Softball Complex.
As Cambridge (34-1) won its first state title in team history, Creekview (31-8) claimed its highest finish in Columbus. It also marked the Lady Grizzlies’ top-four finish.
“Cambridge is a very good and balanced team all the way around,” Creekview coach Chance Cain said. “We lost to them right from the start, but battled all the way through the losers’ bracket to make the state final. That’s a testament to the kids. They dug in and stayed strong, played as a team and everybody contributed.
“We’re young. This won’t be the last time for us. We’ll be back to Columbus, and I feel blessed to have been a part of this team and this journey.”
Cambridge only totaled seven hits in the final, but the blasts came in spurts.
Lindsey Smith’s RBI double followed consecutive singles from Leslie Carroll and Abigail Wilson in the top of the second. Courtesy runner Gabby Givens scored on Smith’s double, and Wilson scored on Becca Cleypool’s fielder’s choice for a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Bears challenged again in the third, but Creekview pitcher Erin Griffin induced a double play to end the threat.
Keara Napoli led off the sixth with a home run to extend Cambridge’s lead to 3-0.
One batter later, Carroll reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on Wilson’s groundout. Smith, who was 2-for-3, collected her second RBI with a two-out single that plated courtesy Givens and put the Lady Bears ahead 4-0 in the top of the sixth.
Creekview rarely threatened offensively as Emily Wilkie was the lone player to reach second base, in the fourth. Brianna Stubbs batted 2-for-3 for the Lady Grizzlies, senior Briana Purves came off the bench to post a pinch-hit in the seventh and Josie Johnson singled in the third.
Griffin allowed four earned runs on seven hits and struck out two for Creekview. Ashton Maloney struck out a batter in a seventh-inning relief appearance.
Napoli gave up four hits and struck out four for the complete-game victory.
“This was the first time in the final four for Creekview, and it was exciting,” Cain said. “We were two games away from a state championship, so getting runner-up is pretty good. You have to tip your cap to Cambridge.
“We had three goals this season — win a region championship, keep getting better and win a state title. Two out of three ain’t bad. We came up short, but it was a great year for us — a pretty good year.”
Creekview beat Pope 8-5 and Alexander 6-2 earlier Saturday to advance to the championship final.