No late drama was required this time for Archbishop Hoban.
The Knights took care of business quickly and emphatically, cruising to a 10-0 victory in five innings over Jefferson Area in the Akron Division II regional final Saturday, earning a berth in next week’s state tournament.
“I am a little shocked,” said senior catcher Colleen Cain, who capped a six-run third inning with a two-run double. “But I also know how good our team is and how we are a great hitting team and a great fielding team, so I had faith in us. And I’m just so grateful for how it happened.”
Hoban (24-5) needed a reversed call on a play at the plate to score the only run in a walk-off 1-0 semifinal win over Cortland Lakeview on Thursday. Jefferson Area also scored a late run to defeat Revere 1-0 on Wednesday in the other semifinal.
Thus, few could have foreseen the way Hoban dismantled the previously unbeaten Falcons (20-1), on a warm, sunny afternoon at Firestone Stadium behind a 10-hit attack. A six-run third inning, three in the fourth and one more in the fifth, resulted in the 10-run mercy rule taking effect.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said center fielder Haylee Fisher, one of only three seniors on the team along with Cain and Dani Carlson. “I knew it was going to happen this year. It’s a great feeling.”
Hoban will face Hebron Lakewood (26-0) at 12:30 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal at Firestone Stadium.
It will be Hoban’s first state tournament appearance since 2007. The Knights have won six state titles, the last one in 1992.
Jefferson Area senior right-hander Alyssa Irons (19-1) allowed just one hit in shutting out Revere, and retired the Knights in order the first two innings Saturday.
But Hoban scored six runs on five hits before she recorded an out in the third. A bases-loaded walk to junior Maddie Terzola, run-scoring infield hit by sophomore Emma Terzola and two-run single by sophomore Alexandria Whitmore made it 4-0. Cain’s double down the left field line upped it to 6-0.
“They adjusted their swings,” Hoban coach Frank Voss said. “We’ve done it before this year. There’s a few teams we have hit pretty hard. [Irons] is a good pitcher, a solid pitcher but our hitting was just on today.”
Voss’ pregame speech focused on taking a relaxed approach.
“Just being comfortable, just being loose,” Voss said. “This team plays the best when they’re a little bit loose. We try not to get them too tight in practice during the week. They’re just stronger that way.”
With two outs in the fourth, Maddie Terzola singled and stole second and Emma Terzola walked. Whitmore, a left-handed hitter, drilled a single to the opposite field which eluded the left fielder, scoring one run. And a wild throw to third wound up in the Falcons’ dugout, scoring two more for a 9-0 lead.
“We thought it was going to be a close game,” Whitmore said. “But we know how strong our team is and how much trust we have in each other and how much we work hard.”
In the fifth, sophomore Ashley Matousek and junior Katie Clark both singled. Matousek beat the throw home on Fisher’s fielder’s choice grounder and it was 10-0.
Hoban junior right-hander Laney Jones retired Jefferson Area in the bottom of the fifth, ending the game.
Jones (15-4), who hasn’t been scored upon during the tournament run, gave up two hits, struck out four and walked three. Her tantalizing slow change-up continues to keep hitters off balance.
“I think it’s the off-speed and the way that I can mix up what pitches to throw to which batter,” Jones said. “I’m never consistent with what I’m throwing.
“This is amazing. I’ve never been this far before. I’m ecstatic. I’m speechless.”
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