LEVITTSBURG OH- The last time Champion lost a OHSAA tournament game was 4 seasons ago in 2016, to South Range. At that time South Range knocked off Champion in the regional semifinals en route to a state runner up. Fast forward 5 years, 4 seasons South Range and Champion met up again. This time a district title on the line. The Raiders scored last in a back and forth tug of war to win the district championship 6-5.
Champion got on the board first in the top of the third. With 2 outs, the nine whole hitter in the Flashes lineup Holley Moore got herself on base to set the table for the ever dangerous Cassidy Shaffer. Shaffer made the Raiders pay for letting her come to the plate with runners on. She hit a monster 2 run shot to give the Flashes a 2-0 lead. It was Shaffer’s 11th HR of the year.
South Range got right back into the game. They responded to Champion’s 2 run top of the third with a 4 run bottom of the frame. Juli Stachowicz got the Raiders on the board with a RBI single to score Reagan Irons. After a wild pitch scored Bree Kohler, and tied the game Samantha Susany then came up with a huge 2 run double to put the Raiders up 4-2.
Champion would not go down without a fight though, they answered with another run in the top of the 4th. Brooke Whitt came up with the RBI single to score Bella Meyer and cut into the Raider lead. She made it 4-3.
The Raiders got a great at bat from the bottom of their order in the next half inning, as Gretchen Bartels executed a perfect bunt to score Madison Dado and push South Range’s lead back to 2. 5-3.
Champion tied the game back up in the top of the 5th though. With two outs the Flashes pieced together three consecutive hits. A 2 RBI double from Meyer tied the game at 5.
With the game now tied Kohler led off the 5th with a no doubt solo shot to left field to give the Raiders the lead right back at 6-5. Kohler then went on to shut down Champion in the next two innings.
With one out in the 7th, the Raiders needed to try and find a way to retire Shaffer. On a full count pitch Shaffer put a charge into a ball to deep center. It seemed destined for at least a 1 out double. However, Dado had other plans in center field. The freshman made a tremendous catch at the wall to rob the Flashes off a one out baserunner. Kohler would then induce a ground out to end it and give South Range their 7th district championship in 11 seasons.
Kohler got the win inside the circle for South Range. Her final line looked like this. 7.0 IP 9 H 5 ER 0 BB 8 K.
Emma Gumont took the loss for Champion. Her final line was 6.0 IP 9 H 6 ER 2 BB 4 K.
South Range advances to the Region 9 semifinals. They will play Massillon Tuslaw on Wednesday at 5:00 at YSU Softball Complex.