(4-2-20) The first OHSAA State Softball Tournament was held in 1978. It was the year that girls sports were starting to emerge in to the local headlines. It was all thanks to Title IX that was passed in 1972 –
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
One of the sports adopted by the OHSAA, as a sanctioned sport, was softball. During that first OHSAA tournament in 1978, the smallest school in Mercer County made history, Mendon-Union would win a District Tournament Championship and advance to Regional play at New Riegel, losing to the host 15-0 in the semifinal game. Both were firsts to happen in the County and it happened in the first year of the State tourney.
1978 Miami East Softball (17-0) 1st Class A State Champions
New Riegel would lose to Hillsdale in the Regional Final. Hillsdale would advance to the State title game losing a close 1-0 to Miami East.
Linda Thomas should be considered in the future for some Hall of Fames. In 1978 she was the softball coach, she was also the cheerleader advisor, volleyball and basketball coach…plus she was the phys ed teach for all grade levels. Even Norman Dale didn’t do all of that!
Did you know….
The Midwest Athletic Conference did not sponsor a softball championship until 1997, it was won by Parkway who went 5-0. The Western Buckeye League’s first title was decided in 1983, won by Elida and Bath both with 5-1 records.
The only other school in Mercer County to have softball in 1978 was Celina…coached by Hall of Fame Coach Bill Feth.
The first Mendon-Union softball team played in 1975, Celina’s first varsity team played in 1977. The two played two games in 1977, which would be the first ever games played with two schools from the County, the Pirates won the 1st game 14-13, Celina won the 2nd game 24-8.