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CANFIELD OH- To win a state championship, you have to go through two other brackets. On Thursday night, South Range achieved the first step to a bigger goal. They won their 9th district championship in 12 seasons with a 5-1 win over Gilmour Academy. The celebration was calm and mellow, the Raiders know they still have a lot of business to attend too before their journey is up.

For two teams that hit the ball extremely well, this game started out as a pitcher’s duel. Both teams spent the first several innings getting runners aboard and not being able to move them home. That changed in the 3rd inning when Gilmour Academy scored first on an RBI hit by pitch. In that inning the Lancers loaded the bases with an error, infield single, and intentional walk before scoring a run.


The Raiders quickly answered in the bottom of the frame when Jamie Feren tripled, and then was hit in by Kelly Szolek to tie the game. After holding the Lancers scoreless in the fourth, the Raiders opened up the bottom of the frame with back to back singles. Enter Gretchen Bartels.  Bartels fell behind 0-2, worked there count full, and then blasted a home run to center field. The three run shot would be the turning point of the game for the Raiders.

Juli Stachowicz entered the game in the circle in the fifth. She kept the Lancers quiet the rest of the way. In her three innings pitched she gave up 1 hit and struck out 5.  Sam Susany started the game. She also only gave up a hit in 4 IP and struck out a pair. The run she gave up was unearned.

Bartels wasn’t done yet, she came back up in the 6th inning and hit her second home run of the game to extend the Raiders lead to 5-1. It was a dramatic finish to the game as Gilmour tried to make some 2 out noise. After a walk, and a steal, Megan Mlinaric singled up the middle. Allison Schuh raced around third looking to score, but Madi Dado made a laser throw out of center to throw her out at the plate to end it.

South Range advances to the regional semifinals where they’ll match up with Tuslaw for the second year in a row.  They’re set to play Wednesday at 1:00 at Ravenna.

Postgame Interview With Jeff DeRose:

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