CHAMPION — After a gloomy start to the day on Thursday, the clouds broke apart and the sun shined down just in time for Champion to host Crestview with first place on the line in the MVAC Gray Tier.
Senior Olivia Zigarovich put Champion on top 3-0 in the bottom of the first with a double after the Flashes drew a couple of walks.
The early advantage held up the whole way behind some strong pitching from junior Abigail Meadors and Champion (7-0, 5-0) won the ballgame 6-3.
“It was great,” Meadors said. “We really needed to beat them. Crestview is a good team. Hopefully, we continue to have a great season, and keep having fun.”
The Flashes were having all kinds of fun when sophomore Bella Meyer blasted one over the left field wall at the bottom of the second. Her home run from her made it 4-0.
“It was a big league game,” Meyer said. “We’ve been looking forward to it. We’re the top two teams in the league. We wanted to put it all out there to try to beat them, and we did.
“I want to do everything I can for the team. I try not to swing early. I get as deep as I can into the count, and look for a good pitch.
Crestview is now 7-4 and 3-1 in the league. The Rebels have played more games than most area teams this season after a 4-game trip to Tennessee.
Senior Kaedyn Sutton went the entire way in the circle. Unfortunately for Crestview, they couldn’t overcome a couple of mistakes in the field.
“The girls played really hard,” Crestview coach Melvin Miller said. “A couple of errors really cost us the game. You can’t make mistakes against a good team like that. Overall, it was a well played game. Those errors just made the difference.”
Crestview put a run on the board in the top of the fourth, before scratching a little closer the following inning.
Sutton and senior Karsyn Moore each singled. Then, sophomore Brooke Brubaker knocked in Sutton with a double, making it 4-2.
Zigarovich gave the Flashes a 4-run cushion again after her bloop hit landed right on the line where no one could catch it. Champion was up 6-2 heading to the sixth.
Freshman Chloe Stoops had an RBI double for Crestview before the Rebels went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
“I’m just so excited for these girls,” Champion coach Cheryl Weaver said. “I don’t think anybody expected us to be in this position right now. We hope we can keep it going.”
The Flashes had a big blow to their season before it even got started with a knee injury to freshman pitcher Gabby Gradishar.
“I tore tendons in my knee playing basketball,” Gradishar said. “The doctors are saying I’ll be able to get back to playing sports in October. It’s been tough, but being able to help out with the team has really helped me get through it.”
Without Gradishar, there’s extra pitching duty for Meadors.
“Abigail has been doing a wonderful job pitching for us,” Weaver said. “I can’t ask anything more from her after putting her in this situation. We’re hitting the ball.
“Crestview is tough. These tight games teach the girls you have to keep fighting all the way to the end.”