AKRON OH- Once again a South Range softball tournament game got pushed back due to weather, forcing the Raider faithful to wait one more day. Well, South Range made it well worth the wait as they powered their way to a 5-1 win over Johnstown to earn a spot in the Division 3 State Championship.
The game did not start off on a great note for senior pitcher Bree Kohler. In the first inning, Kohler who only had 19 walks on the season coming into the day saw three hitters reach via the free pass in the first inning. With the bases loaded and 2 outs Kohler induced an infield pop out to get out of the jam. Kohler quickly righted the ship in the 2nd putting Johnstown down in order.
Kohler’s speed on the base paths got the Raiders on the board first in the third. Kohler singled to lead off the inning, was moved over by a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a throwing error while stealing 3rd.
That’s where the score would stay until the 5th inning when Kohler knocked in a run this time around with a single that scored Jamie Feren. Kohler was later caught trying to steal 2nd.
After striking out the first two hitters in the bottom of the 5th, Kohler gave up her first hit of the game. It was a powerful one. Julia Montie blasted a no doubt solo shot to dead center to cut the Raider lead in half 2-1.
Momentum seemed to be on the Johnie’s side as they retired the Raiders in order in the 6th, and then loaded the bases again with two outs. Kohler got a clutch strike out to leave the runners stranded, and shift the energy right back to South Range’s dugout.
In the top of the 7th the Raiders would make Johnstown regret not putting the runs up when they could. They put up a 3 spot in the 7th thanks to an error, and a pair of RBI triples from Kohler and Juli Stachowicz.
Now with a 5-1 lead Bree Kohler only allowed one hit in the seventh, securing the win and the Raiders spot in the State Championship.
The final line for Kohler in the circle was 7.0 IP 4 H 1 ER 4 BB 12 K.
Kohler also led the Raiders offense going 3-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Madison Dado went 1-3 with a run scored. Jamie Feren went 1-1 with a run scored. Gretchen Bartels was credited with an RBI on her suicide squeeze.
South Range advances to the State Championship on Sunday. They will play Sherwood Fairview at 4:00. The game will be held at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
South Range seniors Bree Kohler and Jillian Strecansky both had to miss their graduation ceremony this morning to travel with the team to Akron. They both received their diplomas prior to first pitch on the field from Principal Steve Rohan. Strecansky was a 2021 valedictorian.