MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been thirty-five years since Mineral Ridge captured their first (and only) softball state championship. Led by Brenda Miele, the Rams finished their historic 1985 season by posting a 17-1 record and defeating Archbold, 4-0, for the Single A crown.
During their dominating run through the Canton Region and into the state tournament, Mineral Ridge outscored their four opponents by a combined score of 39-0.
In the state semifinal against Reedsville Eastern, Ridge jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second inning. The Rams finished off the Eagles by scoring 10 runs in the sixth inning to close out their 19-0 win. Junior Julie Croft allowed just a single hit in 6 innings while striking out 12. Of Mineral Ridge’s 13 hits, 5 of them were for extra base hits. Cassie Pabin finished with 3 hits and 3 runs scored. Laurie Lykins, Tiffany Adair and Sandee Egry all had two hits apiece. Egry closed out her day with 6 RBIs.
The next day (on June 1), Croft returned with another stellar performance to secure the state title. In 7 innings, she struck out just 1 batter but held the Archbold Blue Streaks to 3 hits. Lykins collected two hits (including a triple) and drove in a pair in the sixth inning. Carla Smith also had two hits. Pabin scored twice as well.
Two years prior to their championship run to Ashland, the Lady Rams were right on the doorstep as they were turned away by Portsmouth Clay in the Class A State Final in 1983. Croft – the Rams’ starting pitcher as a freshman – allowed 6 runs (1 earned) and walked 6. Croft went onto have a Hall of Fame career at Youngstown State, where she finished by posting a 1.87 ERA, 36 wins and 68 complete games (in 69 games pitched).
Coach Brenda Miele took Ridge to the state tournament three times in four years (1982, 1983, 1985).
In 1987, the Rams returned to the state final led by Margaret Deibel but were turned away by Strasburg-Franklin (9-0).