Northeast Ohio Huddle: Eight regional teams hoping to round the bases and head home with state titles


Northeast Ohio Huddle

Strasburg’s softball team is off to its 11th state tournament in
Division IV and will be looking for its sixth state title and second in a
row when it faces New Riegel today at noon. The Tigers are far from alone. Seven other Northeast Ohio teams are vying for state titles on the diamond this weekend. Even more are hoping to find success on the track oval as well.

Strasburg’s softball team is off to its 11th state tournament in Division IV and will be looking for its sixth state title and second in a row when it faces New Riegel today at noon.

Head coach Bud Weisgarber is unofficially the winningest coach in Ohio history after his 26 years at the helm of the program that he started. He is 575-113.

The Tigers shut out Portsmouth-Clay 7-0 in its regional final as junior Kasey Gerber, the winning pitcher in last year’s state title win, struck out 16 and allowed just one hit.

On the year, senior Carly Clark has 12 homers with 43 RBIs and is hitting .506. On the mound, she has struck out 134 batters in 109 innings. Gerber has 123 K’s in 78 innings with just five earned runs and seven walks.


Bekka Simko, Gilmour Academy Girls’ Track: With star sprinter Candace Longino-Thomas tearing her hamstring in the preliminaries earlier in the week, Gilmour Academy needed other athletes to step up in the finals last Friday at the Division III Fairless regional.

Simko was that athlete.

All she did was win the mile and 800 and help the 4-by-800 and 4-by-400 teams to victory. The 4-by-800 team set a new regional standard in 9:28.81. She was joined on both relays by Alexis Anton, Meghan Pryatel and Grace Brennan.


Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Girls’ Track: Moving up from Division III, CVCA cruised to the regional title at the Lexington meet. The Royals had 105.75 points.

Leading the way was Taylor James in first in the 100 while leading the 4-by-100 and 4-by-200 to wins. The 4-by-100 team set a new regional record in 48.86 seconds. She was also second with the 4-by-400 team.

Christina Blair also won the 1,600 and was second in the 3,200 while Irene Frangos was third in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600. They joined together on the third-place 3,200 relay team.

Sarah Rasnick also won the pole vault.


Super Stetson: North Carolina recruit Stetson Allie of Lakewood St. Edward’s tossed and hit his way to a 7-6 victory over Mayfield in a Division I baseball regional final.

Allie threw 143 pitches and still found a way to hit 92 miles per hour on his final pitch. He had nine strikeouts at the plate and still found time to go 5 for 5 at the plate with a double and two RBIs.

Teammate Ross Kivett went 4 for 5 with two doubles, two stolen bases and three runs.

Lovely Letitia:
East Canton won its Division III regional final 3-0 over Mogadore thanks, in part, to pitcher/hitter Letitia Bittinger. She struck out nine, walked one and gave up just two hits in improving to 26-3 on the year. She also hit a 2-run homer and had a fielder’s choice RBI. On the year, she has 353 strikeouts (only 17 off of the Stark County record for single-season K’s held by North Canton Hoover’s Katie Chain (370). As a team, East Canton is 27-3 after going 7-16 last year.

Bad Bad Barber:
Midpark’s super sprinter Kaila Barber dominated action at her Division I regional, setting a new record in winning the 300 hurdles in 40.88 seconds while taking the long jump and taking second in the 100 and 4-by-400 relay.

Gun-Slinging Gabriel:
Poland’s Erin Gabriel, last week’s Athlete of the Week, no-hit Fairless in a 5-0 Division II regional final win. She struck out 17 and allowed just two hit batsmen to reach base. She has 17 of 20 starts ending in shutouts and has given up just three earned runs.

Poland is 29-1 on the year after Jenna Modic and Adriana Sikora had two RBIs each against Fairless.

Awesome Lipp:
In her team’s 9-8 lacrosse win over Hawken, Chagrin Falls player Kat Lipp scored five goals to give her an amazing 73 on the year.

Krafty Kyle:
Known more for his legendary football coaching history at St. Ignatius, Chuck Kyle was given a regional track title by his boys’ team last week as they scored 62 points to edge out Medina.

The Wildcats only won one event but had 10 athletes in four events advance to the state meet. The 400 relay team of Kevin Johnson, Anthony Miscia, Bob Grebenc and Tim McVey won.

Super Skulina:
Virginia recruit Tyler Skulina led Walsh Jesuit past Mentor Lake Catholic in a Division II regional semifinal, striking out seven, walking one and allowing three hits. He tossed 95 pitches with 65 of them acting as strikes. He is 26-0 for his career and has never been beaten.

In the regional semifinals, Johnny Fasola went 2 for 3 with his ninth homer of the year.

Terrific Thomas:
Canton GlenOak’s Kandace Thomas won the 100, 200 and 400 relay and took second with the 800 relay at the Division I track regional last weekend.

Vick In at Hoover:
Tim Vick, who led Navarre Fairless to a 58-14 record in his final three years as head girls’ basketball coach, was recently tabbed to lead the North Canton Hoover girls’ program. He replaces Paul Wackerly, who left to coach the boys’ program at Massillon Perry.

Lasting Lentz:
Despite her team losing 15-11 to Hudson in lacrosse tourney action, Meg Lentz of Cleveland Heights had six goals and an assist in the loss.

Tramplin’ Trefny: Cam Trefny of Olmsted Falls was solid for his team in its Division I regional, besting both Strongsville (6-5 in the semifinals) and Perysburg (7-6) in the finals. Both wins were in relief. Against Strongsville, he came into the contest in the second inning and faced 22 batters, only allowing three past first base. He also hit the game-winning double.

Against Perrysburg, he went 2 for 3 with a 3-run double to win the game. He also pitched the final two frames for the win.

Wonderful Woodridge:
The Peninsula Woodridge boys’ track team cruised to a 65-43 Division II regional track title over Sandusky Perkins. It was Woodridge’s first regional victory as Kyle Cochrun won the mile and was second in the 2-mile. Jimmy Charles won the 3,200 and he and Cochrun joined Drake Sulzer and Vibushan Sivakumaran in winning the 3,200 relay.

Triple Run Tilton:
Shelbi Tilton drove in three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with a double to lead Massillon Perry over Boardman, which led 2-0 heading into the final frame of a Division I regional final.

Happy Harris:
Nathaniel Harris of Akron Buchtel won the 100, 200 and 800 relay at the Lexington Division II track regional.

Mashing Marlington:
Alliance Marlington run-ruled Beloit West Branch 10-0 in a Division II regional baseball semifinal. Austin Webb and Justin Summers tripled while Tyler Royer, Harrison Dickerhoof and Dakota Hoffman all doubled.

Trumpin’ Taylore:
In Canton Central Catholic’s 4-1 regional semifinal win in Division III over Waterloo, Taylore Baker tossed a 5-hitter with no hits in the sixth or seventh innings. He only walked one and struck out eight. Thirty-six of his first 41 pitches were for strikes.

Intimidating Independence:
Independence won its first regional title since 1935 as it beat Canton Central Catholic 5-2 in Division III. The 28-3 team was led by undefeated pitcher Travis Teare, who struck out three with eight hits allowed. Its his eighth complete game in nine starts.

Nick Kraus went 3 for 4 for the winners.


New Riegel vs. Strasburg Softball, Division IV State Semifinal at Firestone Stadium, Akron, 12:30 p.m., Today: Strasburg is defending Division IV champions and return the outstanding pitching duo of Kasey Gerber and Carly Clark, as well as the unofficial winningest coach in softball history in Bud Weisgarber.

East Canton vs. Pleasant Hill Newton Local Softball, Division IV State Semifinal at Firestone Park, Akron, 3 p.m., Today:
Watch out for East Canton pitcher/slugger Letitia Bittinger, who has helped the Wizards to a 25-3 record after a losing season a year ago.

Jeromesville Hillsdale vs. Piketon Softball, Division III State Semifinal, Firestone Park, Akron, 5:30 p.m., Tonight:
Hillsdale, out of Wayne County, near Wooster, is 26-5 while Piketon is 25-2.

Poland Seminary vs. Hebron Lakewood Softball, Division II State Championship, Firestone Park, Akron, 10 a.m. Saturday:
Erin Gabriel pitches Seminary against a Lakewood team that beat Greenville 5-4. Poland won 5-4 over John Glenn in its semifinal as Jenna Modic homered and doubled with a single and two runs scored. Adriana Sikora had two hits and two RBIs.

Massillon Perry vs. Lakota East/Grove City Softball, Division I State Championship, Firestone Park, Akron, 1 p.m., Saturday:
Perry beat Holland Springfield 5-0 in its semifinal while Grove City and Lakota East faced off this morning in a game delayed Friday night by rain.

Perry was led in its win by Shelbi Tilton and Morgan McLaughlin with two hits each and Jayla Saibene with two RBIs. Pitcher Casi Rohr struck out nine, walked one and allowed just three hits in seven innings. She is 23-2 on the year.

Olmsted Falls vs. Lakewood St. Edward Baseball, Division I State Semifinal, Huntington Park, Columbus, Today, 1 p.m.:
These Cleveland-area teams compete in Columbus for the chance at a state title on Saturday at 4 p.m. Olmsted Falls is the improbable state qualifier at 16-17 while St. Ed’s is 26-3.

Hebron Lakewood vs. Walsh Jesuit Baseball, Division II State Semifinal, Huntington Park, Columbus, Tonight, 7 p.m.:
Walsh Jesuit sports no fewer than eight Division I signees and is 28-1 on the year. Finals are at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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