Northeast Ohio Huddle: Steele, Claymont softball stealing headlines


Northeast Ohio Huddle

A first-time sectional title for Claymont sets the stage for an exciting Northeast Ohio weekly roundup. Nicole Pachol of Warren Howland amazed at the Trumbull County Meet and Amherst Steele’s softball team continues to roll unblemished after 22 games.

For many teams steeped in tradition, a sectional championship is a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

For Uhrichsville Claymont’s softball team, it is a bigger and better thing.

The Mustangs (18-6) won their first-ever sectional title this week, topping rival Dover 3-2 in nine innings at Carrollton’s Field of Dreams in a Division II game. The Mustangs now only have three tournament wins in its short decade of history, head coach Mike Smith estimated.

The Mustangs tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Gina Walker to drive in senior teammate Mackenzie Jeffers. They won the game in the bottom of the ninth when Jordan Smith stroked an RBI single to right field to score Macy Kopp.

“This is just amazing,” Jeffers said. “Last year we weren’t even close and the year before we weren’t close so this makes all the hard work worth it.”

Much of the team played on the school’s first-ever regional-qualifying volleyball team in the Fall, including Jordan Smith, whose father is the head coach. Smith was the setter on the volleyball team.

“I think that in volleyball, the confidence we gained from that carried over into this season and it was an amazing experience that we all learned from,” said Jordan.


Nicole Pachol, Warren Howland Girls’ Track: Pachol has been a standout in the 100 and 300 hurdles this year but with several key girls out for the Trumbull County Meet, she was needed as a replacement runner in the sprints to help her team.

Pachol responded by running not only both hurdle races but the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She then responded by winning all four events as she helped her team to the Trumbull County title with 112 points over Cortland Lakeview’s 78.

Pachol won the 100 in 12.59 and the 100 hurdles in 14.98 seconds. She took the 300 hurdles in 44.11 ticks and the 200-meter dash in 25.81 seconds.


Amherst Softball: The Comets continue to streak through the season for legendary coach Bill Matthews, who surpassed the 400-win mark this year. The Comets are now 22-0 overall and 12-0 in the Southwest Conference. They clinched the league title and are continuing to re-set the school record for wins in a season that they broke with their 20th victory over Westlake (10-2).

The Comets beat Magnificat 2-0 in its tournament opener as freshman Jennifer Sutton struck out 15 while allowing just two hits at Division I in North Ridgeville.

In the win over Westlake, Amanda Arendt went 4 for 4 with  a triple and Sutton tallied three hits while earning the win on the mound.

In winning their own invitational with  a 2-0 championship victory over Holy Name, the Comets were led by Sutton’s 2-hit, 14-strikeout, 1-walk shutout win and Aleecia Sunagel’s game-winning RBI single.

In the tournament opening win over Bay 10-0, Jennifer Sand got the win. She and Sutton combined for 26 strikeouts and allowed just five total hits in the two games.

In a recent 3-2 win over Brecksville, the team won in the seventh inning with two outs as a throwing error plated the winning run.


Central Continuing Streak: Canton Central Catholic’s baseball team advanced to its 16th straight district tournament with a 10-0 win in six innings over Smithville. The Crusaders, the defending Division III state champions, are 13-7-1 on the season and face Triway in the district next week. In the win over Smithville, Greg Myers, Ryan Pack and Nick Keller all had two hits while John Lindesmith drove in three runs.

Unbelievable Umbright:
In a 3-1 Division II sectional championship win over Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Field pitcher Cody Umbright struck out 17 batters. The Toledo signee is 5-2 on the year.

Toppling Thomay:
Lutheran West’s Cal Thomay smacked a homer and triple and had eight RBIs in his team’s 20-8 victory over Oberlin. West is 18-3 on the season.

Growling Gabriel:
In an 8-4 win over Howland, Poland pitcher Erin Gabriel not only had 14 strikeouts on the mound but also belted a huge grand slam.

Hitting the Courts:
Westlake is now 14-0 on the season in boys’ tennis after winning the Southwest Conference Tournament 32-31 over second-place Brecksville, and also beating Green 4-1 in a dual.

In the Southwest Conference Tournament, Colton Buffington won at first singles and Dave Fleischer and Billy Barnes took first doubles. Against Green, Westlake swept through singles action with Buffington, Jason Wissman and Brent Anstead taking the wins.

At the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division Tennis Tournament at Brush, Solon edged Hudson 51-48. Jason Schrode won Player of the Year with a title at first singles and twin brother Evan won at second singles. The first doubles tandem of Liam O’Brien and Zach Singerman also won.

Rocky River won the West Shore Conference Tournament with  32 points at Tri-City Park as James Meyer repeated at first singles with a championship and Daniel Owens won at second singles. At first doubles, Jon Plachta and Will Seablom earned the victory.

Triple the No-No:
Warren Harding had three pitchers combine to no-hit Crestview in a 7-0 victory. Zach McGhee went the first three innings, Mike McClung followed with three no-hit innings and Damion Shearer closed out the seventh inning.

Nasty Norton:
At 7-10, Norton’s baseball team is not imposing but they did have enough to beat top-seed Revere 7-4 recently in a Division II sectional game.

Nate Testa and Tim Cool each drove in runs for Norton.

Undefeated Ursuline:
The Youngstown Ursuline softball team won the Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin Invitational by beating Warren JFK in the finals 3-1. Casey Lower earned the win on the mound with eight strikeouts and the team won with  a key 2-run single by Krista Byers.

In a first-round 3-2 win over Chardon, Lower had 13 more strikeouts and Byers scored the decisive run on a single by Rebecca Hartz.

Winning Wellington:
Wellington softball, ranked No. 9 in the Division III coach’s poll, upset top-ranked LaGrange Keystone 7-0 as Cassie Gleissner tossed a 2-hit shutout. Melissa Rennie tallied four RBIs for Wellington, which improves to 16-5. Keystone falls to 20-3 overall. They both play in the Patriot Athletic Conference with  Keystone leading at 8-1 and Wellington sitting at 7-2.

Magnificent Meredith:
Hudson’s Mindy Meredith improved to 14-1 with a 1-hit shutout of Lodi Cloverleaf in a 7-0 victory. She had two homers at the plate as Hudson improved to 22-2 with the Akron sectional final win.

Crashin’ Clark:
Strasburg junior pitcher/hitter extraordinaire dazzled those in attendance as her team shut out Caldwell 10-0 in a Division IV sectional final at their own Franklin Park.

Clark threw a perfect game in the 5-inning rout, facing the minimum of 15 batters. She also smashed her 11th and 12th homers of the season. Strasburg is now 22-4 on the season.

Perfect Puntel:
In a 5-inning mercy win (14-1) over Lordstown, McDonald’s Zach Puntel tossed a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts and no walks.

Battling Beachy:
Uniontown Lake pitcher Bradley Beachy tossed a 5-inning no-hitter in his tean’s 12-0 Division I sectional semifinal win over Akron Kenmore. Beachy struck out six and walked five while also collecting two singles with an RBI at the plate.


Hiland vs. Malvern baseball, Division IV District Semifinals at Cambridge City Park, May 18, 6 p.m.: In a battle of Inter-Valley Conference rivals in both basketball and baseball, this should be a dandy. Hiland was state runner-up a year ago but graduated nine key seniors. They have continued to roll though. Malvern won the first matchup of the year 3-2 and Hiland answered with a 2-1 victory in the second game.

Division I Track Districts:
Amherst, Youngstown, Lakewood and Mentor District meets will take place May 20 and 22 at 4 p.m. both days. The North Canton District will take place may 20 and 22 at 3:30 and 4, respectively while the Ravenna District has boys at 3:30 on May 19, girls on may 20 and finals for both girls and boys on May 22 at 5 p.m.

District Tennis:
The Division I district tennis tournament will take place at Oberlin College throughout the week with  Division II taking place at Weis Park in Canton.

Division II Track Districts:
Midview and Painesville will run its meets at 4 p.m. on May 21 and at 10 a.m. on May 23. Andover’s meet will be at 3:30 p.m. on May 21 and 10:30 a.m. on May 23 while Orrville will run at 2 on May 21 and 11 on May 23. Salem’s District runs May 21 at 4:30 and at 11:30 on May 23.

Claymont vs. Meadowbrook softball, Division II District Final at River View High, May 19, 5 p.m.:
These East Central Ohio League rivals feature dominating pitching and solid defense and it was a rollercoaster ride through the league this year that was won by Dover with three losses. Meadowbrook pitcher Kinsi Tellep is a strikeout machine while Claymont won its first-ever sectional championship with solid  pitching of Shelly Dunn and Jordan Smith.

Division III Track Districts:
Independence breaks its district up like Ravenna in Division I. Girls run preliminaries and field events at 2:30 on May 19 while boys are at 2:30 on the 20th. Both run finals on May 22 at 2 p.m. At Norwayne, the first day is May 20 at 2 p.m. and the second day is May 22 at 5:30 p.m. Springfield hosts teams at 4 and 4:30, respectively on May 20 and 22.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *