Brad Bournival

North Canton Hoover hit everything, including its coach, Saturday afternoon at the University of Akron.

It added up to an 11-3 win over defending state champion Walsh Jesuit in the Division I regional final and pushed the Vikings to the ninth state semifinal in school history.

Eight of Hoover’s nine starters got a hit, including junior Grace Cea, who went 2-for-3 with four RBI and an attempted knockout of Hoover coach Jerry Goodpasture in the second.

Up with runners on second and third in the second, Cea lined a shot off the outside of her coach’s right knee, sending him to the ground. Goodpasture recovered. The Warriors (20-7) never did.

“I’ll take that as long as they’re hitting the ball,” Goodpasture said. “I’ve got no problem there. I think the kids came in with the idea of hitting the ball. They were aggressive. It’s kind of the approach they’ve been taking.”

Goodpasture’s setback was just a momentary pause in an incredible day for the Vikings (21-9).

“He can duck, so balls above his head, he can get down,” Cea said. “He just can’t move his legs. When he went down, I was like, ‘Oh, no, what did I just do?’?”

It was the one and only time Hoover fans held their collective breath.

Ohio University commit Katie Yun opened the scoring for Hoover by smashing a shot over the wall in right-center field off her future roommate Madi McCrady (17-4) on a 1-1 count to start the bottom of the first.

By the time Hoover was done, they got to McCrady for nine earned runs and 12 hits.

Yun, Kaitlyn O’Donnell, Laurel DeVoe and Cea made up the top four in the lineup and combined to go 7-for-12 with seven RBI and nine runs.

“Once we get going and get a nice hit, they just keep coming,” Yun said. “We’ve seen that the last couple games. It just brings our energy up.”

That energy never really left as Hoover put together multiple-hit innings in all but the sixth.

The Vikings scored early and often, jumping out to a 10-3 lead after the third inning and threatening to mercy rule Walsh on more than one occasion.

The win was the second at the regional final level over the Warriors in the past four years and was revenge for a 2016 loss in the round of eight. It’s Hoover’s first trip to the state semifinal since 2014.

The game will be at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Akron’s Firestone Stadium. The school is a combined 16-0 at the state semifinal and final level.

Facing either Lebanon (28-3) or Mason (26-3) next might sound like pressure, but it isn’t.

“We are a new team right now,” said Yun, who was part of the 2014 state championship team. “As soon as we got going in the tournament, it was like, ‘We’re not looking back.’?”

It might hurt now, but when Walsh seniors Jessica Huth, Emma Lawson, Angie Bobish, Alexandra Drake, Veronica Zack, Julia Mullins and McCrady look back, a sense of pride should come over them.

Walsh won state and made it to two regional finals and a district final under their watch.

“They turned this team around and put us back on the map,” Walsh coach Bill Davis said. “More off the field than on, believe it or not. It’s unbelievable. I’m very fortunate. I’m a better coach because of them.”