Walsh Jesuit senior softball player Cori Anter sees courage and strength every day she comes home from school.
She sees it from her parents, Edna and Jim, and especially from her mother, who is dealing with colon cancer.
Cori will take the field at approximately 7 p.m. today, when No. 8 ranked Walsh (26-5) plays No. 4 Newark Licking Valley (22-7) in a Division II state semifinal at Firestone Stadium. She will do so with her mother on her mind with the Warriors two wins from a state title.
“I have never loved a team so much,” Cori said. “I honestly can tell you this is my family. I have a mom who is battling with cancer. This team is the rock that has held me together these past few years. I absolutely love them.
“I can go to any single one of them with anything and I know they will be there for me right away to tell me the right thing to pick me up. To win and go this far with them has been an honor, but to win a state championship with them or even go there is unreal. It is amazing.”
Edna Anter said she was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2012.
“I have tried to go to as many of the games as I can this year,” Edna said. “Last year it was more difficult because I had a major surgery [in April]. I still go through chemotherapy every other week.”
She plans to watch her daughter play in person today and is hoping to watch the Warriors play in a state final Saturday.
“They have worked together for so many years and they have turned out to be an amazing group of girls,” Edna said. “They work hard, they care about each other and they love each other. This is an exciting time of the year for Cori and her friends. The beautiful thing about this team is that each and everyone of these gals has stepped up. It is a total team effort.”
Edna Anter is dealing with a much bigger challenge than just a softball game.
“I am open about my situation,” Edna said. “I am not the only one who is dealing with this. It is like an epidemic in the world. Nobody ever knows when you have something like this. The hope is to get it under control and get it into remission. … I plan on being around for a long, long, time. I am one of those people that believes I can be healed. I believe in my doctors and in my faith, that I will be OK.”
Walsh coach Bill Davis said the Anters are a “great family.”
“When you get this far the girls have a drive to win the state championship for the team and themselves, but in this situation they also want to win for Cori’s mother,” Davis said.
Seniors lead Warriors
Anter and seniors Jackie Ammar, Lexi Noonan, Lauren Cianciolo, Sophia Simone, Kayla Navratil and Kelly Wilson received their diplomas at Walsh’s graduation June 2. They hope to earn a state championship trophy Saturday.
“This is our senior year, and just to go out and play at state is a great moment,” Ammar said. “We are going to take advantage of it.”
Ammar starts at second base in an infield that includes Anter at first base, Cianciolo at third base, sophomore Lilli Piper at shortstop, sophomore Riley Ries at catcher and sophomore Taylor Rahach at pitcher.
“Lauren was a three-year starter at catcher, and then this year she moved over to start at third so Riley could start at catcher,” Davis said. “It has helped the team be better all the way around. For a senior to do that and be cool about it is great.”
Walsh’s starting outfield from left to right is Noonan, junior Taylor Stimson and Simone.
“The last time Walsh won state in softball was 2004 [in Division II],” Noonan said. “I watched when my sister [Marisa was a freshman and] won it and I remember thinking ‘Oh, this is sweet. I can’t wait until I go here. It is going to be great.’ Then, I got here and I realized it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. You get here and you see the work that you have to put into all of this. It pays off. We are 42 outs away from winning.”
Walsh has also received contributions from sophomore Leanne Casserlie and freshmen Jessica Harbaugh and McKenzie Gerry.
“This is what everyone hopes for when they go to a school to play a sport,” Cianciolo said. “You dream of winning a state championship, and now that we are here it is so surreal. This is a great group of people to be here with. I would not want it any other way.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.