PREP PREVIEW \ State softball
Where: All state softball games are played at Ashland's Brookside Park. To get there, follow I-76 west of Akron to I-71 south, proceed 20 miles to the Ashland exit and follow state Route 250 through Ashland. About a mile past the downtown, watch for a sign on the right for Brookside Park.
Who: Maplewood (20-3) vs. Willow Wood Symmes Valley (27-4)When: 5:30 p.m. ThursdayMaplewood coach: Dave Flickinger, fourth seasonMaplewood's probable starters: Senior shortstop Brittney Spencer, sophomore pitcher Markie Pozzuto, junior third baseman Amber Sypert, junior center fielder Megan Rowbottom, freshman catcher Tori Spencer, senior designated player Brandy Fleming, sophomore right fielder Brandi Deckerson, freshman left fielder Stacy Sypert or sophomore left fielder Jamie Rumple, freshman second baseman Leah Dean, senior first baseman Melissa ShipmanOther pairing: Convoy Crestview (27-0) vs. New Bremen (20-7), 3 p.m. ThursdayFinal: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
Who: LaBrae (15-6) vs. Sycamore Mohawk (29-2)When: 10 a.m. FridayLaBrae coach: Chad Kiser, fourth seasonLaBrae's probable starters: Freshman shortstop Anjelica Pugh, junior center fielder Morgan Briscoe, junior right fielder Kim Calderwood, junior second baseman Lia Gordon, sophomore catcher Stepfanie Higgins, sophomore pitcher Lindsey Higgins, senior left fielder Chandra Needles, junior designated player Amanda Hall, senior first baseman Stephanie Davis, junior third baseman Stacy HowardOther pairing: Chillicothe Zane Trace (28-1) vs. Blanchester (23-3), 12:30 p.m. FridayFinal: 3 p.m. SaturdayLaBrae notes: Although the Vikings are participating in their first state tournament, many of their starters are very familiar with state competition. Many, including the Higgins twins play on a summer traveling team -- Denman Tires -- that has won four state titles in the last six years. They have advanced to state six straight years. The coach is Ed Anthony and their record in the past six years is 204-6. ... Stepfanie Higgins said, "I love playing with Lindsey. We've always pitched and caught each other since we were little in the backyard." ... Kiser says this is best defensive team in his four years -- just 10 errors.