BARBERTON: Medina pitcher Megan Paradise kept Barberton hitters off balance Tuesday in a Barberton Division I district semifinal, holding the Magics to six hits in a 5-2 victory.
Paradise often used a slow change-up that the Magics (19-6) had trouble with all afternoon.
“She definitely had command of her change-up today,” Medina coach Jessica Toocheck said. “It was nice that she was able to use that. Sometimes she can’t use it as often depending on the type of hitters they have and how well she’s throwing it. Today she had good control of it.”
The Bees (21-7) played stellar defense behind Paradise, helping her out when the ball was put in play.
At least one run was saved in the first inning on a diving play by third basemen Jen Sansonette. Barberton had runners on first and second base with two out with junior third basemen Courtney James up to bat. James roped a first-pitch fastball toward the left-field line but a quick reaction by Sansonette put an end to the inning.
In the sixth inning, Barberton batters Kayla Rorrer and Morgan Kadilak each hit deep line drives that Medina center fielder Lauren Peak went back on to make nice running catches.
“The defense really stepped up behind her,” Toocheck said. “We had some great plays defensively and I was proud of the infield and outfield.”
The Magics struck first, but their only two runs came in the second inning.
Kadilak reached on a fielder’s choice while trying to sacrifice a runner and then Ashlee Ford lined a double to left field. Ford finished with a single, double and a run scored.
After a fly out, leadoff hitter Kloee Cuckler hit a two-out single up the middle that scored both runners. She finished with two singles and two RBI.
Barberton’s lead didn’t last long. The Bees battled back to get all five of their runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Sansonette led off with a single before the next two batters reached on errors to load the bases.
Abby Knechtel then drew a walk to force in a run, Sami Holzman knocked one in with a single and Vanessa Scoarste brought one in with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Holzman led the Bees at the plate with two singles, an RBI and a run scored.
After a foulout, junior first basemen Madison Tata put the finishing touch on the rally with a two-out, two-run single to put the Bees ahead 5-2.
“I think we were just putting the ball in play and letting things happen,” Toocheck said. “They stayed aggressive on the bases and the girls in the dugout were supporting each other. I think that’s where a lot of the momentum comes from.”
Once Paradise got some run support, she went into cruise control, retiring 11 consecutive Magics from the third to sixth inning.
“Megan came out here and did what she needed to do on the mound,” Toocheck said. “And [catcher Maria Vanadia] called a great game.”
Medina will play Brunswick at 4:30 p.m. today in a district final at Barberton High School.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.