MEDINA: Anyone who knows Bobbi Langlois will tell you she is a nice, quiet girl. From her facial expressions, the Medina senior pitcher looks as if she is just having a good time playing softball.

But like a good poker player, Langlois only shows hitters her smile. They have no clue what she is really thinking.

“My mom has said to me that I should be more aggressive on the mound,” Langlois said with a laugh. “I don’t want them to know how I am feeling.”

The development of Langlois is one of the principle keys to the Bees’ (24-4) first appearance at the Division I state championship. Langlois is 22-3 with a 0.96 ERA, 200 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 146? innings.

Bees second-year coach Jessica Toocheck, who played for Medina, Kent State and the Akron Racers, said Langlois is a “quiet competitor.”

“Bobbi is a stronger pitcher this year; she has more command of her pitches and a stronger mental approach,” Toocheck said. “I knew she had the potential and this year she stepped up her game and showed the hard work paid off.

“She is as competitive as anyone, but you wouldn’t know it from her face. She’s trained herself to be straight-faced. She is a fantastic kid and will try to pick other players up when they are down.”

Maria Vanadia, the Bees’ junior catcher, said the team and Langlois have grown together.

“We’ve been together a while. We all get along well; there are no cliques,” Vanadia said. “Bobbi is always pushing hard and if something will not work, she is motivated to fix it to the point it will work.”

Langlois said the Bees started to truly believe when they defeated Copley 3-2 in the district final.

The Bees face a daunting task in the Division I semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday at Firestone Stadium when they play defending state champion and the top-ranked team in the state in North Canton Hoover.

The Vikings (27-3) have scored 300 runs in 31 games, including their 12-0 shellacking of Grove City Central Crossing in the regional final, and have a team batting average of .425.

“I feel confident we can play a good game against them,” Vanadia said. “The other teams feel like we are the underdog, but here at Medina we do not.”

Langlois knows several of the Viking players.

“I know for the most part what I am going to do against most of their batters,” Langlois said. “Yes, they are a good team and state champs, but you have to play them like any other team.”

In addition to her pitching prowess, Langlois has contributed as the No. 5 batter in the lineup, hitting .313 with two home runs, eight doubles and 17 RBI.

Langlois, a Hampton University recruit, has a variety of superstitions.

“When our team is finished batting, Coach Toocheck has to pick up the ball and hand it to me before I warm up for the next inning. At the beginning of each inning, I kick dirt on the spot where the other pitcher has pitched from [including holes from landing areas] and cover it up,” Langlois said. “When we line up for the national anthem, I have to stand behind the coaches.

“Before each game, Vanessa [Scoarste] has to write on my hand and I have to write on Maria’s hand.”

The players write “OHKI” on their hands, an acronym which only Bees players know the meaning.

The Bees hope it stands for “state champion.”

Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps.