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'Words can't describe it': Lebanon softball team wins a Division I regional title

Lebanon making its fifth trip to the state Final Four
Posted at 9:48 PM, May 26, 2023

MASON, Ohio — The Lebanon High School softball team will make a trip to the state Final Four in Akron next week.

And the team will have one goal in mind: To bring home a state championship trophy for the first time in program history.

Lebanon took that next step toward Akron Friday night as it defeated Fairfield 7-0 in the Division I, Region 4 final in Mason.

They (29-3) advance to play Austintown-Fitch (20-0-2) in a state semifinal at 12:30 p.m. June 2 at Firestone Stadium in Akron. The state final is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 3 in Akron.

Next week marks Lebanon's fifth trip to the state Final Four and its first appearance since 2017.

"I have had the opportunity to go up there; the entire coaching staff has had the opportunity to go up there before," Lebanon coach Brian Kindell said. "No one on this team has had that opportunity. And selfishly we wanted it for them. Not for us. I want it for them because it's a great group of kids. They work their butts off every day. They've earned and they deserve it. I couldn't be happier of any team."

Lebanon, winners of 25 consecutive games, took advantage of scoring opportunities with two out in the fourth inning Friday night after the game was scoreless.

Junior Teagan Ouhl scored Lebanon's first run after freshman Sophia Sheidler reached on a two-out error. Sheidler scored two batters later on an RBI single by junior Juliana Gonzalez.

Sophomore Ella Teubner's RBI single scored senior Reagan Vunak to make it 3-0.

In the sixth, Teubner's two-run double made it 5-0. Junior Kendal Allen's two-run double made it 7-0.

Lebanon senior pitcher Aubrey Smith had eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings to earn the win (17-2 record). Sheidler pitched very effectively in relief.

It was Lebanon's fourth shutout during this postseason. After starting the season with a 4-3 record in early April, Lebanon corrected its mistakes and made the proper adjustments, Kindell said.

Kindell said after the game that it's been a joy and an honor to coach this team. Now, Lebanon will start another journey in Northeast Ohio.

"Words can't describe it," Kindell said. "Total honor. They come to work every day. They wear their uniform with pride. And that's all you can ask from any team."

Meanwhile, Fairfield (20-6) concluded a memorable season. Fairfield won eight shutouts this season including three in the postseason. Fairfield won six of seven games in May entering Friday night. Also, Fairfield coach Brenda Stieger won her 500th career game in April.

Lebanon represents Southwest Ohio as the only local softball team in Akron next week. It is the 24th consecutive season a Greater Cincinnati softball team will play in the state Final Four.

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