The final week of spring sports is here, and the southeast is still very
well represented with ultimate team and individual prizes on the line
in the next week. We start by honoring three teams – one baseball and
two softball – that have earned their way to the Final Four stage. As
for the top individual honor, we had a sprinter prove this week to be
more than capable of winning regional championships.
The final week of spring sports is here, and the southeast is still very well represented with ultimate team and individual prizes on the line in the next week. We start by honoring three teams – one baseball and two softball – that have earned their way to the Final Four stage. As for the top individual honor, we had a sprinter prove this week to be more than capable of winning regional championships.
There were also several other great teams chasing this same destiny that fell just short of a regional championship. We look at several teams that knocked on the door of the Final Four only to experience some extremely heartbreaking ways to lose. This includes walk-off winners, a 17 inning marathon, and close plays at the plate.
There was also plenty of news from track & field as the state qualifiers have all been decided. Several southeast track stars saved their best for the postseason, and now our On Tap section will tell you when they plan to run for state supremacy.
So here we go! We start with a trio of regional champions on the team side and a runner who captured a pair of regional championships himself.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Wheelersburg Baseball, John Glenn Softball, Piketon Softball: This week we honor three teams that have made the reality of a Final Four dream come true. In baseball, Wheelersburg rode incredible pitching and timely hitting to a regional championship. In softball, it was John Glenn in Division II and Piketon in Division III that both punch their tickets. Below in this week’s News, Notes, & Nuggets we honor all three teams for their great achievements.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Steven Hall, Southeastern Track & Field: In the Division II regional at Byesville, the Southeastern sophomore sprinter captured two regional championships this past week. Hall ran an 11.12 in the 100 to capture his first regional championship. Hall also crossed the finish line first in the 200 with a time of 22.1.
NEWS, NOTES, & NUGGETS
‘Burg Bound for State: Thursday’s first semifinal saw SOC champion Wheelersburg build a 5-0 lead over SVC champion Westfall, but in Westfall’s final at-bat, the Mustangs plated three runs only to have Wheelersburg pitcher Andrew Elliott tighten up from there. The Pirates won 5-3. In game two, Federal Hocking beat Sugarcreek Garaway 4-2 to set the table for the finals the next day.
In that final, Wheelersburg’s Bryce Hall tossed a four-hit shutout to punch the ticket for the Pirates to the Final Four. Offensively, Brandon Hall provided the early support with a two-run single in the first inning. Wheelersburg is now 30-1.
A 29K Marathon: In this week’s semifinals at Lancaster’s Division III softball tournament, fans were treated to some great games. Piketon’s Holly Brabson hit a homerun to lead off the home-half of the first, and Shella Zimmerman tossed a shutout to lead Piketon past Liberty Union 1-0. In game two, Adena was trying to make it an all-SVC final, but SOC champion Lucasville Valley defeated Adena 3-2.
Even a pair of one-run games failed to tell what incredible story the final had in store. Piketon and Lucasville Valley played 17 innings to decide the Final Four participant. Valley scored first, but Piketon scored once in the seventh to tie it and again in the 17th to win it. Piketon, who was led by Zimmerman’s 29 strikeout performance, is now 27-2. In an amazing effort in the loss, Valley’s Braiden Dillow struck out 20.
John Glenn Heading to Akron: Rachel Townsend starred both as a pitcher and a hitter this past week as John Glenn defeated Logan Elm 5-1 and then Dover 4-1 in the regional final to earn a spot in next week’s Final Four.
Gallia Academy was also in this bracket, but the Blue Angels fell to Dover in the semifinal 5-0. Gallia ends the season with a record of 20-8. The loss did mark the first regional game in Gallia Academy softball history.
One Step Short: After the top two SOC small schools battled during the season they met for a third time with a trip to Elite 8 on the line. Round three was won this week by Portsmouth Clay as they defeated their familiar opponent Symmes Valley 9-8 to advance. Emily Spriggs enjoyed a perfect day at the plate with her final hit capping off a four-run seventh inning that gave Clay the comeback, one-run win.
In the final, Clay fell 7-0 to Strasburg-Franklin. Kelsey Gerber recorded 15 strikeouts while allowing just one hit. Strasburg-Franklin scored five times in the sixth-inning to break things open.
Tornado Warning Expires: The Racine Southern Tornadoes returned to the Division IV regional for the fourth straight season. Southern defeated second-ranked Tuscarawas Central Catholic 6-0 in the semifinal round. In the win, Michael Manuel recorded the win while pitching the shutout.
Next up was Newark Catholic who defeated Trimble in the other semifinal. This game marked the fourth straight time Newark Catholic and Racine Southern has met in the regional rounds. Racine fell to the Green Wave 7-4. Racine tied the game at four in the fourth, but Newark Catholic scored two in the bottom half of the inning and later added an insurance run.
Heartbreak Ending: The Blue Devils of Zanesville entered Friday’s regional championship already the owners of a school-record 28 wins, but in this battle, it was Hebron Lakewood that scored late to break a 2-2 tie to beat Zanesville 3-2.
The two teams were in this game due to victories just one day earlier. Zanesville hammered Logan Elm 11-2 while Lakewood beat Richmond Edison 4-0.
Division II Track Boys: Southeastern’s Steven Hall proved to be the fastest sprinter in this year’s regional as he won both the 100 and 200. Hall’s teammate Greg Gibson qualified in the high jump as well. Waverly took the top two spots in the shot put as Dylan Dyke and Brian Evans earned their trip to next week’s state meet. Unioto’s 4 x 200 team (Adrian Ross, Shane Maier, Doug French, and Ryan Valentine) captured a regional title as well. Ross also qualified in the 1600 and the 3200 individually. Union Local is sending its 4 X 400 relay team. Chesapeake longer jumper Peter Hintz is heading to state as is Chillicothe’s 4 X 400 team. Cabbott Harmon of Philo is heading to state. Gallia Academy is sending five to state including Austin Wilson who is going in three events. A trio from Ironton is going including Jon Monnig and Ryan Sias in the pole vault. Martins Ferry’s 4 X 400 team qualified and Minford’s 4 X 100 team qualified. Hank Leslie of Portsmouth Northwest is going in the high jump. Fairland’s Chad Gibson qualified in the 800 and Alex Thornburg of St. Clairsville did the same. Eight from Steubenville will be in Columbus and they will be joined by five Tuscarawas Valley runners and six athletes from Sheridan. J.C. Murasky of Zanesville qualified in two events.
In Division I, Logan qualified three athletes and Zanesville Jordan Paul qualified as well.
Division III Track Girls: Cassie Grandstaff of Bridgeport is heading to Columbus as a qualifier in the 100, the 200, and the 400. St. John’s Lacee Dobrovich, Emily Hawthorne, Alexa Macri are all state bound as is Kayla Doty and Laura Minnich of Union Local. Belpre had a solid showing in the sprints as they are sending both their 4 X 100 and 200 to state. Chelsea Delong of Coal Grove and Tayler Carpenter of Fredericktown both qualified. Trimble is sending a pair as Taylor Savage and Rachel Six both qualified this week. Ironton’s Lorna Ceaser and Oak Hill’s Kelsey Burton and Samantha Massie are heading to Columbus, while Steubenville Central Catholic is sending a pair of relay teams. Chanda Cuckler of Federal Hocking qualified in the high jump as did Wheelersburg’s Erica Schmidt. Schmidt’s teammate Sadie Ruby also qualified in the 300 hurdles.
Division II Track Girls: Zane Trace’s Taylor Hatfield, who was the runner-up this past fall in state cross country meet, captured a regional title in the 800. Hatfield also qualified in the 1600. St. Clairsville continues to dominate the track scene as they are sending eight athletes. Meadowbrook is sending five athletes including Darien Singleton who qualified in three events. Katie Davis of Cambridge is going to state in the high jump while Coshocton’s 4 X 100 team qualified. Five Dover runners qualified including Christa D’Egidio and Rachel McKeever who both qualified in three events. The talented Gallia Academy team is sending six athletes while nearby Jackson High School is sending Karena Fulks in the 400. Fairland’s Jordan Aldridge in the 100 hurdles and Megan Brooks in the pole vault both qualified. Kayla Fletcher of South Point qualified in both the 100 and the long jump. Anna Pomento of Athens and Sheridan’s Sarah Clow both qualified as well. Kaylee Nutter of West Muskingum qualified in the 1600.
Not many southeast teams are in Division I; however, Chillicothe Megan Osborne won the regional in the 400. Osborne also qualified in the 100 and the 200. Monique Lee, Alyssa Mathis, and Audra Metzler from Chillicothe also qualified. Joining the Lady Cavaliers is Emily Suciu of Zanesville.
Division III Track Boys: In the Lancaster regional, Huntington’s Logan Chaney qualified in the pole vault while Paint Valley’s Logan Markko qualified in the 1600 and PV’s 4 X 200 (Josh Richardson, Tim Morrell, Alex Teran and Garrett Wert) qualified as well. Other qualifiers include St. John’s Luke Holubeck and Belpre’s Breydon Gates in the 3200. Caldwell’s Tyler Cordell qualified in the 800. Oak Hill’s Oakie Haynes is heading to the state in three events including the 4 X 100 where teammates Boo Woods, Jake Brown, and Alex Bare will join him. Fredericktown is sending a 4 X 800 team as well as hurdler Garrett Gatton in two hurdle events. John Wine of Nelsonville is heading to Columbus for three events while Eastern Reedsville has qualified in the 4 X 400. Shenandoah’s Cody Farmer qualified in the long jump. Steubenville Catholic Central is sending a 4 X 100 team as well as Zak Cernansky in both hurdle events. Garaway’s Grant Engstrom is state bound as is a pair of Ridgewood relay teams. Lastly, Wheelersburg’s 4 X 200 team qualified.
Wheelersburg vs. Hamilton Badin, Division III State Semifinal, Baseball, Thursday, June 3rd, Huntington Park in Columbus, 4:00 p.m. The Pirates of Wheelersburg start their quest for a state title on Thursday. The orange and black hopes to return two days later to play for a state championship.
John Glenn vs. Poland Seminary, Division II State Semifinal, Softball, Thursday, June 3rd, Firestone Stadium in Akron, 12:30 p.m. John Glenn’s first Final Four opponent is a tough one, but JG will try to beat Poland Seminary (#1 in the state at 29-1) and advance to Saturday’s final at 10:00 a.m.
Piketon vs. Jeromesville Hillsdale, Division III State Semifinal, Softball, Friday, June 4th, Firestone Stadium in Akron, 3:00 p.m. The second-ranked Lady Redstreaks of Piketon enter Friday’s semifinal led by their outstanding shortstop Holly Brabson and their incredible pitcher Shella Zimmerman looking for a win that would make them a part of Saturday’s final (7:00 p.m.).
Track & Field State Championship, Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University:
Friday, June 4th
-(4 X 800) Champion in all three divisions
Saturday, June 5th
Final day – all champions decided
Mizuno All-Ohio Series, June 11 & 12th, VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe: After the four divisions crown a state championship, the elite seniors from all over the Buckeye State will meet at the this beautiful site to showcase their individual talents for the college scouts.