AKRON – Bradford entered Friday’s state semifinal game against Strasburg-Franklin as the defending state champions with a 23-5 record and riding a 17-game winning streak.
The Lady Railroaders were looking to advance to Saturday’s state championship game with an opportunity to repeat as the Division IV State Champions.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as Strasburg-Franklin handed Bradford a 10-1 defeat in a game where things didn’t go the Railroaders’ way.
Bradford hit the ball hard throughout the contest, but unfortunately every hit seemed to go directly to a Strasburg defender. All the while, Strasburg was able to find the gaps en route to 12 hits in the contest against a Bradford defense that was the strength of the team through a great tournament run.
After as scoreless first inning, Strasburg-Franklin plated four runs in the second with the big hit coming on a three-run home run by Hayley Rieger
Strasburg followed with three runs in the third inning by taking advantage of two errors committed by Bradford to push the lead to 7-0.
Bradford was able to get on the board in the bottom of the fifth as Alani Canan got things going with a two-out single. Izzy Hamilton followed with a base hit and Austy Miller drove a base hit to center that scored Canan. Zoe Brewer then drew a walk to load the bases, but unfortunately Bradford couldn’t do more damage as Strasburg was able to get the third out with the bases full.
Strasburg then put the game pretty much out of reach in the top of the seventh with three more runs.
The loss ends Bradford’s season at 23-6, but doesn’t diminish what this team accomplished in 2022 and what the six seniors have accomplished in their four years at the high school level.
The seniors – Austy Miller, Alexis Barhorst, Nylanie Beireis, Abby Fike, Rylee Canan and Zoe Brewer – walked off the field as the most decorated athletes in the history of Bradford athletics. They were key contributors to three state appearances and helped win the first team state championship in school history. This all happened with their sophomore years taken from them due to the Covid-19 pandemic.