Firestone senior Kevon Louis won the 300 hurdles with a time of 38.50 and placed fourth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.72 to qualify for the state track tournament next weekend in Columbus.
McKinley’s Clayton Tabler finished third in the 300 hurdles and third in the 100 hurdles, and McKinley’s Charles Hall won the 400 and finished second in the long jump to lead the Tigers and advance to the state meet.
Hudson’s Evan Manley won the boys 1,600 meters and teammate Eric Halford placed fourth in the event to advance. Also qualifying for the Explorer girls were Tori Shriver (300 hurdles) and the 3,200 relay team of Cameron Bujaucius, Kalli Barrett, Brenna Beucler and Emily Akin.
GlenOak’s Michael Contrucci placed third in the 200 and was also a part of the 400 and 800 relay teams that advanced to state. Nucci Smith, Tate Rhoads, Andrew White and Dean Sarris were also members of those relay teams.
Firestone’s Jordan Baith won the girls discus with a toss of 140-09, with Brecksville’s Krista Okeafor in second and GlenOak’s Renee Walton in fourth. Baith also finished fourth in the girls shot put.
The Highland girls 800 relay team of Amanda Orban, Alexa Sposit, Emily Lyon and Jhoni Ervin placed first to advance to state. The same four runners placed second in the 800 relay, and the 3,200 relay team of Annamarie Digiacobbe, Madelynn Madison, Marley Wylie and Kaylie Kenne finished second to advance.
Highland’s Kenne was third in the 1,600 and the 3,200, Highland’s Kaelin Stahl finished third in the pole vault and Wadsworth’s Hailey Montgomery was second in the shot put.
Wadsworth’s 3,200 relay team of Josiah Sovine, Nick Miller, Kai Wagner and Gabe Szalay placed first to advance, along with the 800 relay team of Andrew Robinson, Szalay, Miller and Sovine. Szalay also was second in the 1,600.
Rootstown’s Logan Carpenter placed first in the discus with a throw of 156-0 to advance.
Jackson’s Danny Thomas and Brecksville’s Aaron Yeh each lost in the quarterfinals of the Division I state boys tennis tournament on Friday in Mason.
Thomas lost 6-2, 6-3 to Canfield’s Tim Cianciola and Yeh lost to Mason’s Niraj Komatineni 6-2, 6-2.
Cianciola will play New Albany’s Robert Cash in a semifinal match on Saturday.
Brunswick’s Adam Slomski lost to Perrysburg’s Ben Wieder in first-round action.
The Walsh Jesuit doubles team of David Kendrick and Ben Cors lost 6-0, 6-0 in a first-round match to New Albany’s Devin Boyer and Nathan Jose.
When: Friday and Saturday.
Where: Lindner Family Tennis Stadium in Mason. If it rains, the event will move to Cincinnati and compete indoors at two facilities: Five Seasons Family Sports Club and The Club at Harper’s Point.
Schedule: Competition begins both days at 9 a.m. with Division I and Division II singles matches. Double teams in both divisions will follow.
AREA DIVISION I QUALIFIERS
Singles: Aaron Yeh, Brecksville, Sr.; Danny Thomas, Jackson, Sr.; Adam Slomski, Brunswick, Sr.
Doubles: David Kendrick, Sr., and Ben Cors, Fr., of Walsh Jesuit.
Coaches: Dan Reynolds of Brecksville, Michael Canterbury of Brunswick, Louis Thomas of Jackson and Rocco Cona of Walsh Jesuit.
Notebook: No area player advanced to the Division II state tournament. Yeh, Thomas and Slomski finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the Division I singles district tournament last week at Springside Racquet & Fitness Club in Akron to punch their ticket to Mason. Kendrick and Cors received a nod to the state tournament after finishing fourth in the Division I doubles district tournament. Tim Cianciola of Canfield won the singles district title, and Chas Norman and Charlie Joranko of University School won the doubles district crown. Two weeks ago, Yeh and Slomski went 1-2 in the singles sectional at Medina, Kendrick and Cors teamed up to win a doubles sectional title at Medina, and Thomas finished second to Cianciola in the singles sectional at Canton.
— Michael Beaven
The big inning was very good for Woodridge once again Wednesday.
Just as in their district title victory last Friday, the Bulldogs jumped all over an opponent early and kept the pressure on thereafter.
And now they find themselves one win from their first state tournament berth with an 8-3 win over Northwest in an Akron Division II regional semifinal at Firestone Stadium.
A six-run third inning did the trick this time. That erased a 1-0 deficit and enabled Woodridge (15-10) to withstand a spirited comeback by the Indians.
Five runs in the first inning carried the Bulldogs to a 6-3 district title win over Crestwood.
Woodridge will face West Branch, a 3-1 winner over Lake County Perry earlier Wednesday, for the regional title at noon Saturday.
“The good part today is we actually got a couple insurance [runs] on the end to make it a little easier on Cait,” said Woodridge coach Dan Schneider.
Junior right-hander Caitlin Raid (15-7) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. She allowed two runs in the fifth, trimming the lead to 6-3, but limited the damage. And she ended with two scoreless innings, allowing only a single in the sixth.
“It helps when you have a good team to back you up,” said Raid. “We’ve come together as a team. I’m not nervous to throw the ball anywhere because I know I’ve got a good team behind me.”
And she took her coach’s words of advice to heart when things got tough.
“I wish she wouldn’t get into that,” Schneider said. “She hurts herself occasionally. She comes to the dugout, I said ‘Did you hear me?’ ‘Yeah, I heard you. I know, throw it, don’t steer it.’ That’s our way of telling her she’s overthinking.”
Raid allowed eight hits, walking two and striking out two and enjoyed the early run support.
“It definitely helps relieve the pressure,” she said.
The Bulldogs had two hits and took advantage of four walks in the third. Hayley Roenigk and Megan Stanfield both walked and Brayden Wigal singled to center to load the bases with no outs.
Emily Mally smacked a two-run single to right center and Sydney Shaheen followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1, though Northwest center fielder Lauren Michel raced in to make a sparkling diving catch.
“My coach always says just get a line drive, find a hole,” said Mally, one of five seniors on the roster. “Just get a base hit, don’t think anything big.”
Sage Jenkins drilled a long drive that curled barely foul past the left-field foul pole before drawing a walk, and Raid’s squeeze bunt scored Mally. The Bulldogs scored two more on an infield error and it was 6-1.
“I think the bottom of the order really came through,” said Jenkins, who went 2-for-3 with the walk. “Starting us off being really patient and walking and the top of the order was able to move them over. Once we start hitting we’re very hard to stop.”
In the fifth, Woodridge loaded the bases with three consecutive one-out singles by Jenkins, Raid and Bella McBride. With two outs, Roenigk beat out a swinging bunt to third for a 7-3 lead. Wigal led off the sixth with a single, scoring on Shaheen’s single to right for the final run.
Northwest (17-5) enjoyed a brief lead when Jordan Miller — one of only two seniors for the Indians — led off the second with a triple and scored on Maddie Kurz’ squeeze bunt.
Miller’s single, the third of the fifth inning, drove in one run and Kurz’ second squeeze bunt made it 6-3. Northwest junior right-hander Jensen Miller (12-4) started and pitched into the sixth.
“Give Woodridge all the credit in the world,” Northwest coach Megan Levengood said. “We had a bad inning. When we had a momentary mental breakdown they capitalized. In the same position, the balls weren’t falling for us today. We couldn’t drive the runs in.
“I”m proud of these girls. I’m proud of the heart that they’ve played with all year long.”
The Perry softball team has heard about the state championship that assistant coach Jayla Saibene won as a player for the Panthers in 2010.
After Wednesday’s win over Brunswick, Perry is just three victories away from giving the school its second title.
Payton Gottshall threw a one-hitter and the Panthers knocked around three Blue Devils pitchers to win 11-0 in five innings in a Division I Akron regional semifinal.
Their prize is Willoughby South (24-7), which beat Canfield 4-2. The regional final will be played Saturday at noon.
“We always look up to that 2010 team,” Gottshall said. “We want our own banner out back on our fence. We want that experience to say we were state champs.”
The way Perry (22-5) is headed, it might not be a bad idea to jump on the bandwagon.
“I’ve watched that state final game multiple times,” Panthers third baseman Alycia Cunningham said. “They have it recorded. It was a good game [Perry beat Grove City 10-0]. I want to do the same thing to live up to that legacy.”
The Panthers got out early to help Gottshall settle in.
A top of the first inning that included a swinging bunt single and two Blue Devils errors added up to a 6-0 lead to put Brunswick on its collective heels early.
Gottshall sent the Blue Devils down in order and Cunningham hit a home run in the second in a game that had a black and gold hue to it.
“Our goal is to put a lot of pressure on the other team,” Perry coach Scott Daugherty said. “Being able to do that early, I felt like we were able to set the tone and now Brunswick was forced to play a kind of game they hadn’t had to play all year.
“To put up six runs and have a pitcher like Payton Gottshall, I mean, with Payton on the mound, we’ve never given up more than four runs in a game.”
Gottshall (14-2) was incredible against Brunswick, which came in batting a collective .399. The junior was perfect through the first 4⅔ innings before allowing a single that shortstop Rylee Pireu just missed.
She finished with eight strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter.
“She’s incredible,” Brunswick shortstop Gabbi Campbell said of Gottshall. “She deserves to go to the state championship and get a ‘W.’ I mean, she’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all year.
“Our conference is good, but the pitching is not. It’s nothing compared to that. It was hard for us to time her up and it showed.”
Gotshall’s performance is just more of the same as she hasn’t allowed a run yet in postseason wins over Massillon, Hoover, Louisville and Brunswick.
In that stretch she has two one-hitters and two two-hitters.
“I definitely want to keep pushing, keep going,” Gottshall said. “I know they have my back. I have their back. That motivates me more.”
The Panthers shift their attention to South, which won its first regional game in school history.
“We have to come with the same energy we did today,” Cunningham said. “We have to have high energy and focus on hitting that first pitch. We have to have each other’s back.”
MASSILLON: The Manchester softball team gave defending state champion Warren Champion quite a battle through five innings Wednesday.
Then came the sixth inning, when the Flashes scored four runs to separate from the Panthers and earn a 5-1 win in a Division III regional semifinal at Massillon High School.
The abrupt ending was disappointing for Manchester, but several Panthers spectators could be overheard saying, ‘Great season, girls’ as players prepared to head home.
Coach Jim Morehart agreed as he reflected on how seniors Alex Craig, Erika Bell, Trudie Christy, Josie Michel and Olivia Carder led the Panthers to an 18-8 season.
“These girls battled,” Morehart said. “We had good senior leadership all year. They averaged over 10 runs a game for the season. Champion is good. They shut us down.”
Champion (28-0) will meet Independence in a regional final at noon Saturday at Massillon. Independence topped Waterloo 9-3 in Wednesday’s opening game.
Senior Megan Turner gave Champion a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run to left field.
Manchester’s Craig tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run to left-center field.
Champion took control with the aforementioned four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Cassidy Shaffer smacked a solo home run to right-center field to lead off the inning and make it 2-1. Four batters later, sophomore Sophie Howell hit a single that scored junior Abby White and then sophomore Allison Smith followed with a two-run home to left-center. Smith’s homer also scored sophomore Savannah Dodrill, who entered the game to run for Howell.
Craig nearly hit another home run with a runner on base in the top of the seventh, but Champion freshman center fielder Emma Gumont jumped up in the air and made a leaping catch at the fence for the second out of the inning.
Howell then struck out the final batter of the inning to end the game. Howell, a right-hander, pitched a complete game and limited Manchester to two hits — one each by Craig and Christy. Howell struck out 13, and went 3-for-3 with three singles.
“She threw high heat,” Morehart said of Howell. “We were not laying off of it early in the game and towards the end we were laying off of it a little better, but it is tough when you don’t see that heat all year and then you see it here.
“They are good. There is a reason they are undefeated.”
Champion coach Cheryl Weaver said Howell and Smith are co-aces with 14-0 records.
“My girls fought and they wanted this game bad,” Weaver said.
“We knew once the game started and we were putting the ball in play that we were going to find the gaps. … Manchester was battling up there at bat, but they were swinging at a lot of Sophie’s rise balls and that helps. You have to give them credit because they had a great season too.”
Manchester is set to return five starters next season — current juniors Hailey Doll, Maddie McVaney and Megan Toth, sophomore Emily Rucker and freshman Maggie Kusmits.
“We have a nice nucleus coming back, but this was a special bunch,” Morehart said.
“This senior class — they just scored runs in bunches and hit the ball well. You know, this is a rough way for it to end for them.”
Track & field
Orrville Division II District
Senior Alex Eby led the host Red Riders to a girls district title just 13 points ahead of second-place Norwayne. Eby won the 100-meter hurdles and the pole vault. Teammate Karlie Lax advanced to the Lexington Regional by finishing second in the pole vault at 11 feet to Eby’s 12-foot final height.
In the girls distance events, Maya Hamsher of Orrville won the 800-meter run, Mackenzie McCarty from Manchester took the 1,600 and Ashley Kish of Chippewa won the 3,200.
Lakeview Division II District
Ravenna was fourth overall in the boys meet in the Cortland Lakeview Division II district meet. Denoah Wright won the 110 hurdles to advance to next week’s Austintown Fitch regional. Wright also took the 200 crown. His teammate Gianni Giarrano also qualified for two regional events, the 1,600 and the 3,200 runs.
Azsah Bradley won the girls 100 and 200 runs for the Ravens. Ravenna’s Jasmine Pooler was third in the 100 to advance.
Streetsboro’s Bre Davis, Erika Richards, Victoria Wagner and Taylor Ivory won the 800 relay. Ivory, a freshman, went on to win the 400-meter dash and was second in the 200. The Rockets were fourth overall in the girls team standings.
Salem Division II District
The host Quakers took both the boys and girls team titles. Northwest was second in the boys standings.
The Indians’ Dion Morris won the 300 hurdles and Austin Bilinovich moves on to the Austintown Regional, qualifying in the 100 and 200 dashes.
Northwest 11, Norton 5
After giving up a run in the sixth inning that tied the score at 4-4, Northwest answered with seven runs of its own to capture the Division II Canton district title going away on Friday.
Madison Kurz sparked the offensive explosion for Northwest (17-4), going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI.
Jessica Smith also went 3-for-4, and Anna Welsh doubled and had two RBI for the Indians, who will play Woodridge at 5 p.m. Wednesday in a regional semifinal at Firestone Stadium.
Three errors did not help Norton (16-5), which was led by Lauren Lucas with a double and a home run.
Firestone 10, Kenmore-Garfield 5
The Falcons put up crooked numbers in three different innings to win a City Series postseason semifinal matchup and clinch a spot in the championship game.
Firestone (10-12) collected 12 hits, including three each by Kelsey Vonstein, Beatrice Moxon and Madison Morrow.
Vonstein tripled, scored three times and stole a base and Moxon doubled, scored twice, had three RBI and swiped one base. Morrow tripled and had three RBI.
Amber Roebuck drilled a two-run homer for Firestone, and Lexi Peachock launched a solo bomb.
Camryn Woodley nailed a two-run homer for Kenmore-Garfield. Alyssa Snyder scored after she hit a triple.
Firestone will face Ellet in the title game at 5 p.m. Monday at Firestone Stadium.
Three Kent State pitchers kept Miami at bay as the Golden Flashes earned a 7-1 road win and clinched their third consecutive Mid-American Conference regular-season title.
Jared Skolnicki, Connor Wollersheim and John Matthews each pitched three innings and combined for 10 strikeouts.
Wollersheim (5-2) got the win in relief and Matthews earned a tough three-inning save, his third of the season.
Leading 2-1 after seven innings, Kent State (36-15, 19-7) pushed across five runs in the final two innings with some clutch hitting and four errors by the RedHawks (32-18, 16-10).
Kent State has won a regular season or MAC tournament title in 11 of the last 12 seasons.
Kent State finished the first day of the NCAA National Championship in fourth place with an 8-over 296 on Friday in Stillwater, Okla.
No team finished under par with USC in front of the pack with a 3-over 291.
Perry 9, Louisville 0
Sunny Armstrong hit two home runs and Gia Durieux hit a two-run home run for the Panthers in a Massillon Division I district final win over the Leopards on Thursday.
Payton Gottshall hit a solo home run and also tossed a complete-game shutout for the Panthers.
Copley 11, Firestone 5
Kendall Schaffner singled three times, doubled and drove in two runs to lead the visiting Indians (7-16) over the Falcons (9-12).
Lake 9, GlenOak 4
Sydney Baker doubled, homered and drove in four runs and Lauren McMillan singled three times, tripled and drove in a run for the visiting Blue Streaks in a Federal League win over the Golden Eagles. Riley Grimm hit a solo home run for the Golden Eagles.
Streetsboro 9, Cuyahoga Falls 2
Maddie Rice singled twice, homered and drove in three runs and Chelsy Konik went 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI for the host Rockets. Kaelyn Staples led the Black Tigers with a single, double and RBI.
Ellet 17, East 0
Mackenzie McLeod doubled twice and singled twice and Mary Murray tripled and singled three times for the host Orangemen in a City Series win over the Dragons.
Walsh Jesuit 9, Lake Catholic 8
Nolan Quinn had the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the host Warriors (23-4, 9-1) a North Coast League win over the Cougars.
Quinn singled, doubled and had three RBI and Nick Vaccaro drove in a run for the Warriors.
Mason Mamarella had an RBI double and Pavin Parks had an RBI single to lead the Kent State baseball team in a 10-3 loss to host Miami on Thursday.
Mamarella doubled to score Reilly Hawkins and Parks scored on a wild pitch in the first inning to give the Golden Flashes (35-15, 18-7 Mid-American Conference) a 2-0 lead.
The RedHawks (32-17, 16-9) scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take a one-run lead, but the lead was short-lived as Parks singled to score Nick Kanavas in the third inning to tie the score 3-3.
The game was all RedHawks from there, as the home team scored three runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and three more in the sixth to pull away for the decisive victory.
Golden Flashes starter Joey Murray allowed three runs on one hit in three innings in a no-decision.
The Flashes will play at Miami at 4 p.m. Friday and then on Saturday in their regular-season finale.
NORTON: When it gets to be this late in the season, great starts can lead to fantastic finishes. The Brunswick softball team opened strong and closed even stronger Thursday to beat fourth-seeded Stow 11-5.
The win gave the second-seeded Blue Devils (24-5) their first Barberton Division I district title since 2010 and a regional semifinal berth against Massillon District winner Perry (21-4) on Wednesday at the University of Akron.
The Bulldogs (16-7) made things interesting in the middle innings, but the seven runs Brunswick scored in the first two innings were enough to move the Blue Devils forward.
“These guys are hungry and they keep fighting,” Brunswick coach Julie Salzman said. “I didn’t see them do anything different at the start.”
The start came with an RBI single by Veronica Molnar that scored two with an error involved on the play. The second was highlighted by RBI singles from Gabbi Campbell and Delani Sopko as well as a sacrifice fly from Molnar and, just like that, Stow found itself in a monster hole.
The Bulldogs climbed within two by the middle of the fifth thanks to big days from Brittany Hoopingarner (two doubles, triple, two runs), Hanna Ingram (single, double, RBI) and Gillian Holcomb (double, RBI), but the Blue Devils tacked on four unearned runs in their final two innings to put Stow away.
“That hurt us a little bit,” said Stow coach Allison Lewandowski of the start. “We just had to fight back. I told them it wasn’t over until it was over. They gave a lot of heart. We just couldn’t find a hole.”
The fifth inning was the turning point.
The Bulldogs appeared ready to blow things wide open after a one-out RBI single to close things to 7-5. Holcomb reached on an error and Ellie Arlequeeuw singled to second to load the bases, but a heads-up play by Sopko forced Ingram at the plate before Macie Bell grounded to third to end the threat.
That’s all Rebecca Zemanek (8-1) needed to pick up her second consecutive win in as many nights for Brunswick.
“That was huge for us and huge for her,” Salzman said. “She has to be the calmest kid I’ve ever coached in my life. She might be feeling these nerves, but she doesn’t show it. She might be feeling these nerves in the circle. I’ve said it all season. She knows she has a defense behind her.”
The Blue Devils aren’t too shabby at the plate either. Brunswick exited the district final batting a collective .406.
Against Stow, it was Campbell (two singles, double, three RBI) and Becky Hurosky (two doubles, two RBI) setting the table for the 13-hit Blue Devils.
They’ll need all of that Wednesday against Perry, which didn’t allow a run to win its district. Payton Gottshall (13-2) pitched all three for the Panthers, throwing a one-hitter against Massillon and two-hitters against North Canton Hoover and Louisville.
“She’s going to be the best pitcher we’ll see all year, hands down,” Campbell said. “She brings the heat. When you go in there, you have to relax. If we do what we do, we should be OK.”
The season isn’t over for Stow, which is slated to play a doubleheader at Wadsworth on Friday. If the Bulldogs win one of those games, they’ll win the Suburban League National Conference.
“Obviously, winning our league would be great,” Hoopingarner said. “It would be a great comeback after this. It stinks coming up short, but we can still do something great.”
Kent State qualified for the 2018 NCAA National Championship with a fifth-place finish at the Kissimmee Regional on Wednesday, finishing at 20-under 844 (280-280-284).
The 29th-ranked Golden Flashes were among the leaders throughout the weekend on the par-72 Watson Course. Chase Johnson (Walsh Jesuit) led the way Wednesday with a 4-under 68. The Flashes posted four scores of par or better in the final round to claim the final qualifying spot.
Kent State was just 2 strokes out of a tie for third place and will be joined by winner No. 8 Florida, Central Florida, No. 5 Vanderbilt and No. 17 North Carolina at the national championship, to be held May 25-30 at Rich Harvest Farms Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
Revere 2, CVCA 1
Junior Nathan Klonowski won his sixth game, scattering two hits and striking out four in Revere’s Euclid Division II district semifinal win Wednesday.
Revere (11-15) will play Woodridge in a district title game at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Bulldogs (21-7) eliminated Aurora (9-12) 4-1 in the other district semifinal game.
Revere beat Woodridge 16-15 last week in a regular-season game.
Solon 9, Walsh Jesuit 5
Casey Maniglia and J.T. Caver combined to hold the Warriors (22-4-1) to five hits and eliminated Walsh from the Hudson Division I district. The Warriors hurt themselves by committing five errors.
Solon (17-5) will play Jackson in the Canton Division I regional semifinal May 24.
Mogadore 3, Columbiana 2 (9)
The Wildcats won a Struthers Division III district semifinal at Cene Park when Marcus Dillon scored on a wild pitch in extra innings. Mogadore advanced to face South Range on Thursday for the district crown.
Mitchel Markusic (6-2) pitched a four-hitter, allowing two runs in the third inning.
Louisville 5, Lake 2
Alex Fankhauser’s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Leopards, ranked No. 2 in the state, to a Massillon Division I district win.
Brunswick 5, Highland 0
Gabbi Campbell’s three-run homer and Rebecca Zemanek’s pitching led the Blue Devils to a Barberton Division I district win. Zemanek allowed just two hits in the shutout.
BARBERTON: Stow has extra motivation in this year’s postseason, and thus far the performance has backed it up.
“Win it for Doug” is the mantra and the Bulldogs find themselves playing for a Division I district softball title at 4:30 p.m. Thursday after Wednesday’s 8-3 semifinal victory over two-time defending district champion Walsh Jesuit at the Barberton Sports Complex.
Doug Hawkins, Stow’s coach from 2006-17, died May 4 from amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And the current players said they feel his spirit has helped propel them this far.
“It means everything for us,” said Stow junior right-hander Macie Bell, who pitched a complete-game victory. “We couldn’t do it for him. We tried and tried and now we all pulled together in a rough time and were able to pull through for him.
“We want to win it all.”
Trailing 1-0, the Bulldogs scored five runs after two were out in the fifth. And after top-seeded Walsh (17-10) scored twice in the bottom of the sixth, Stow added three more in the seventh.
The fourth-seeded Bulldogs (15-6) will face second-seeded Brunswick (23-5), which shut out Highland 5-0 on a two-hitter by freshman Rebecca Zemenak (7-1) on the adjacent sports complex field played at the same time as the Stow-Walsh game.
Either Bell (7-1) or sophomore Katie Kelly (7-5) will start in the circle against Zemenak on Thursday for the district crown.
Bell scattered eight hits, working out of jams in the fourth, when Walsh scored its first run, and in the sixth, when she stranded two runners after the Warriors scored twice to draw within 5-3.
“I was starting to guide the ball,” Bell said. “I was getting a little shaken up. I wanted to win it for Doug and I got my crap together and started throwing strikes.”
Bell was equally adept swinging the bat. She went 2-for-3 with a double, a two-run single and a sacrifice fly for three RBI.
The other hitting standout was junior second-baseman Jenna Stout, who went 3-for-4 with a two-run single to put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at 3-1 in the fifth. Bell’s two-run single followed and made it 5-1.
And Stout’s two-run triple was the big blow in the seventh. She scored on Bell’s sacrifice fly to center.
“I just waited for a pitch right down the middle,” Stout said.
“I did not want to take anything outside. I’ve been in a hitting slump the last three games, Macie and I both. Just wait on it and take it.”
And she spoke of the determination to “win it for Hawkins” she and her teammates feel.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been this close,” she said. “Just playing on the field. This is my best season so far. We’ve all come together. We’ve seen huge difference in our fielding and everything.”
Infield hit and walk
The Stow fifth started with Clare O’Verko’s infield hit. With two outs, Hanna Ingram drew her second intentional walk.
Gillian Holcomb reached on an infield error, scoring O’Verko, and Ellie Ariequeeuw walked to load the bases before Stout and Bell came through with their big hits.
Julia Bentley’s RBI single put Walsh up 1-0 in the fourth. In the sixth, Alyssa Lavdis’ second hit — a two-run single — drove in two runs, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
But Bell retired the Warriors in order in the seventh.
Lavdis, one of seven freshmen on the Walsh roster, pitched the distance and allowed nine hits.
“We’re playing for Doug every day,” said Stow’s Allison Lewandowski, who is in her first year as Bulldogs coach, succeeding Hawkins. “These kids are showing it and their character and their drive, their buy-in has been incredible. I couldn’t ask for more, obviously, from these girls. They’re so driven.
“You could see it today, you could see the heart, you could see the belief in themselves. Even though [Walsh] was No. 1, we just went out there like it was a new team, like we never knew about them. Just play our game.”
Ellet 1, Firestone 0
Senior Griffin Malick scored senior Stephen Zampelli on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Orangemen the City Series title on Tuesday at Canal Park.
Zampelli reached base on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a passed ball to set up Malick’s game-winning sacrifice fly.
The Falcons had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after Ben Neusser reached third. Max Erisey flied out to left field, but Ellet’s Josh Jaeger threw home to catcher Trey Payne, who tagged out Neusser at the plate to prevent the game-tying sacrifice fly.
Tallmadge 6, Marlington 1
Sam Seeker hit a two-run triple and scored a run for the Blue Devils in an Akron Division II district semifinal win over the Dukes.
Zach Boyd tossed a complete game and scattered three hits and also had an RBI for the Blue Devils.
Tallmadge will play Louisville on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in a district final at Canal Park.
Louisville 4, Norton 3
Bryce Zuppe singled to score Max Hartline in the bottom of the ninth inning for the walk-off win in an Akron Division II district semifinal.
Jackson 4, Massillon 3
The Polar Bears defeated the Tigers at Thurman Munson Stadium to clinch the Canton Division I district title, their fifth consecutive district championship. Trent Jones had an RBI single for the Polar Bears.
Strongsville 3, Brecksville 0
Mitch Midea threw a complete-game two-hitter and had 12 strikeouts for the Mustangs in a Strongsville Division I district semifinal win.
NORTON: Bryce Budzinski knew if he did his job Tuesday, the Highland baseball team would do whatever it took to return to the Barberton District final for the second time in the past three seasons.
It equated to a 6-2 win by the seventh-seeded Hornets over the sixth-seeded Knights and earned them a trip to face the reigning district champion.
That will happen Wednesday when Highland (16-9) and top-seeded Medina (16-11) face off at the Barberton Sports Complex in a Medina County fight for supremacy.
Budzinski (4-1) threw a three-hitter and struck out five with two walks to win his second postseason game this season.
“He worked fast,” Knights coach Patrick Swain said. “We had a hard time with the low curveball. All year we’ve struggled right below our knees. Unfortunately, that’s where the umpire was liking his curveball today, but no excuses, they played very well. [Jay] Grissom puts together a good program. It’s just a matter of battling and they came out on top.”
Budzinski was on a mission from the first pitch until the last against Hoban (14-10).
The right-hander didn’t give up an earned run and buckled down every time it looked like the Knights were going to put something together.
“Everything was on for him,” Highland catcher Sam Zeleznik said. “His fastball wasn’t as perfect as he wanted it, but the curveball broke well and kept hitters off balance.”
When Budzinski wasn’t getting outs, a locked-in defense was helping. Hoban tested arms twice and twice the Knights were thrown out at the plate.
The first put a kink in what looked like a big inning for Hoban, which scored two unearned runs in the third.
With Isaiah Jackson on third and no outs, the Knights appeared as if they were about to tie things up on a grounder to short. Jonathan Ambro recorded the out at first and then threw a dart to Zeleznik for the 6-3-2 double play.
Two innings later, Mack Timbrook sent a one-out double to center and it looked like Hoban would once again tie things at three, but Jimmy Salamone was out at the plate with yet another perfect throw home.
“I just want to say thank you to my teammates for that,” Budzinski said. “[Hoban] had three hits. The one in the gap was a good hit [by Timbrook], but we just have a better arm out there in the field. My teammates have my back. That’s what I want.”
Highland made Budzinski’s load a little lighter in the top of the seventh on one-out, run-scoring doubles from Gavin Noble and Jackson Miller and a sacrifice fly by J.J. Kocevar.
That allowed Budzinski to throw a perfect final inning for the complete-game victory.
“It makes it so much easier,” Budzinski said. “I can go in there and be at ease. If there’s somebody on base, I know I have three runs in front of me. It just helps me pitch. I’m not as nervous out there.”
Medina 4, Green 2
The Bees broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth when Breydan Cavey sent a two-out double to center to score Aaron Masek, Sam Herman and Joe Freeman. Garrett McLeod (5-1) made it stick. He went 5⅓ innings of four-hit ball and gave up two runs, one earned. McLeod struck out four and walked four to send the fifth-seeded Bulldogs (16-10) home.
The Kent State University men’s golf team finished the first day of the NCAA Kissimmee Regional in third place with a score of 8-under 280.
Leading the way for the Golden Flashes was Chase Johnson, who fired a 5-under 67 for a tie for the individual lead.
Ian Holt followed closely behind with a 4-under 68.
Kent State, ranked No. 29 in the country entering the regional, currently holds the lead over three teams ranked higher, including No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 17 North Carolina and No. 20 South Florida.
However, the Golden Flashes trail co-leaders Florida and UCF by four shots, as the Gators and Knights each shot a 12-under 276.
Baseball Jackson 2, Lake 0
Yianni Skeriotis pitched a shutout on Monday to lead the Polar Bears to a victory over the Blue Streaks in a Canton Division I district semifinal at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium.
Skeriotis struck out 10 and allowed just two hits as Jackson advanced to play the Massillon in a district final at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Jackson, the defending Division I state champion, scored both of its runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Grant Miller worked a walk with the bases loaded to give Jackson a 1-0 lead and Matt Hicks delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Massillon 7, Austintown Fitch 2
Aidan Longwell pitched a complete game as the Tigers beat the Falcons in Monday’s second game in Canton.
Nate Welton delivered an RBI bunt single with the bases loaded to give Massillon a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Massillon followed with six runs in the third.
St. Vincent-St. Mary 10, Lisbon David Anderson 0
Sophomore Jake Pentasuglio fired a six-inning no-hitter to help the Fighting Irish earn a split at the Tiger Tailgate at Lake Center Christian High School.
After losing in the first game to Rootstown, Pentasuglio stepped up and delivered a masterful performance, striking out six and allowing just one walk to improve his record to 3-1.
It appeared Lisbon was going to hang around as the Irish (11-9-1) only pushed across one run through four innings, but a four-run explosion in the fifth pushed the lead to 5-0 before a five-run sixth ended the game prematurely.
Rootstown 8, St. Vincent-St. Mary 1
Before Pentasuglio’s gem, the Fighting Irish were stymied, falling victim to the arm of sophomore Colton Freedson.
Freedson struck out seven batters in six innings, allowed just four hits and one run to push his record to 2-1 and move Rootstown to 17-3.
Walsh Jesuit 9, Woodridge 2
Two Warriors hit home runs and Brock Belsole cruised on the mound as Walsh earned a win at the Tiger Tailgate.
Easton Kindall and Nate Stahl each launched two-run homers to give the Warriors an early lead.
Stahl also doubled and scored and Evan Swan cracked three singles, scored twice and drove in one for Walsh (21-3-1).
The game was called after five innings because of rainy weather.
Norton 10, CVCA 0
Four-run innings in the fifth and sixth propelled the Panthers to a mercy-rule victory at the Tiger Tailgate.
Senior Morgan Sullivan singled twice and homered and classmate Paige Howe went 4-for-4 with two singles, two doubles and two RBI to spark the outburst.