Tag Archive for: High School softball

K QUICK ON THE SCENE

By Ty Bartell

AUSTINTOWN OH- Would it be surprising if another Ray was shining athletically at Austintown-Fitch? Well adjust expectations accordingly, because Falcon freshman phenom Kaliana Ray is creating all the buzz for local athletics.

A three-sport athlete, featured this year in volleyball, basketball and currently softball. Getting solid playing time in the volleyball and basketball prior; however, with a younger softball team, Kaliana found herself any everyday starter as Fitch’s center fielder and lead off hitter. Batting a mind boggling .743 across 22 games so far this season, Ray leads The Falcons team in batting average, as well as hits (55), runs (48), on-base percentage (.771) and tied for first in walks (9)!
Reaching base often and when she is aboard she rapidly becomes the speedy base stealer “K-Quick” who has swiped 39 bases this season on 40 attempts! Not just an offensive threat, as The Falcons center field has been renamed Kali’s Island, where she is a perfect 1.000 in her fielding percentage, totaling 15 putouts and even an assist this season!

The future is bright and it’s another Ray causing the shine, as Kaliana credits a lot of her success to her older sister, Ayla, who Kali says “set the bar of success high for her.” A rare occurrence when the two oldest Ray sisters have gotten to play with one another on the diamond, which is why Kaliana has not taken the specialness of this season for granted.

Playing her first season for the defending Division I State Champions has been no easy task, but Ray has lived up to the challenge and excelled with flying colors as Austintown-Fitch is back in the State Final Four for the second consecutive season in part to what Kaliana has been able to do in all aspects of the game.

YSNs Ty Bartell gets the chance to talk with The Fitch center fielder about her success this season, her family support, some current goals and so much more! Catch this edition of Player Profile with K-quick if you can!

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RUPERT’S RULES FOR SUCCESS

CANFIELD OH- Ashley Rupert spent her freshman season soaking up every opportunity that came her way, especially when she stepped up to the plate. By the time the Raiders embarked on their tournament run last season, Rupert had cemented herself as a consistent staple in their lineup. Her ability to deliver in clutch moments made her an invaluable asset, proving her mettle under pressure.

Now in her sophomore year, Rupert has taken on added responsibilities, both as an everyday starter and as a young leader guiding the less experienced players. She’s shown that age is just a number when it comes to leadership, as she’s become a steady presence and a reliable voice on the field and in the dugout.

Rupert’s journey in softball is deeply rooted in her memories of watching the Raiders’ first trip to state in 2016 as a young girl. Back then, she dreamed of being one of those players, serving as an inspiration to future generations. Fast forward to now, and she’s living that dream, stepping into the role of a role model for the next wave of talent in the South Range program.

Behind every great player is a strong support system, and Rupert is no exception. Her family’s unwavering support has given her the confidence to face any challenge head-on. This solid foundation ensures that her confidence never wavers, even in the most high-pressure situations.

On the mound, Rupert has provided crucial innings for the Raiders this year. Her timely performances have given ace Jayli Wilt much-needed reprieves during the long season. Rupert’s presence in the circle has been a game-changer, offering reliable backup and showing that she can handle the heat when it matters most.

At the plate, Rupert has been a force to be reckoned with this season. Sporting a .383 average with one home run and 15 RBIs, she’s also crossed the plate 23 times herself. In 94 plate appearances, she has only struck out six times, the second fewest on the team among players with at least 50 plate appearances. Her disciplined approach and sharp eye make her a tough out for any pitcher.

Rupert has laid the groundwork for what promises to be a stellar career. With the potential to be a senior who has experienced four consecutive state tournaments, she’s already two down and two to go. If things shake out right, Ashley Rupert will leave a lasting legacy at South Range, not just as a player but as a beacon of the program’s future.

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ALL SMILES ON THE MARINA

CANFIELD OH- When you step onto the field at Canfield, there’s an unmistakable energy, a palpable joy that radiates through the team. At the center of it all is junior shortstop Marina Koenig. Her infectious positivity has breathed new life into the Cardinals’ softball program, making her not just a player but the spirit that keeps the team thriving.

This season, Koenig has embraced a bigger leadership role as an upperclassman, stepping up with grace and determination. She’s the kind of teammate who always finds the right words to lift spirits, the first to cheer on a big play, and the last to let anyone’s head hang low. Her encouragement is as reliable as her glove, making her presence invaluable on and off the field.

Speaking of her glove, Koenig has showcased her skills in spectacular fashion this season. As the Cardinals’ starting shortstop, she makes almost every play that comes her way look effortless. Her fielding percentage sits at an impressive .952, a testament to her consistency and skill. But it’s her high softball IQ that truly sets her apart, leading the infield with a strategic mind that keeps opponents on their toes.

At the plate, Koenig has continued to develop into a formidable force. This year, she’s added some serious pop to her bat, making her a dynamic threat every time she steps up. With a .330 average, three home runs, and 17 RBIs, she’s proven her worth. Adding to her impressive stats are seven doubles, three triples, and she leads the team in runs scored with 30.

Koenig’s contributions are a massive reason why Canfield is heading back to the State Semifinals for the second consecutive year. Her leadership, skill, and unwavering spirit have the Cardinals eyeing the big trophy with a hunger that’s more intense than ever. Marina Koenig is not just playing the game; she’s defining it for Canfield.

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2024 SOFTBALL STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

AKRON OH- For the second straight season, YSN will head down to Firestone Stadium in Akron to follow three of its teams on a quest for a state title.  Each of the three teams is making a return trip to the state semifinals, and they each had different results a season ago. In Division 1 Austintown Fitch is going for a repeat state championship. In Division 2 Canfield is looking to get themselves back in the championship game falling one win short a season ago.  In Division 3 South Range is going to try to get the program back to the title round after falling in the semifinals last season.  Everyone in the area knows what makes these three YSN teams so special, but who will be standing in their way? As the games get closer, let’s take a closer look on each team’s bracket, and their path to a state championship.

DIVISION I

Semifinal 1: Austintown Fitch (21-1) vs Fairfield (23-3) Friday 3:00.
Semifinal 2: Anthony Wayne (30-1) vs Watkins Memorial (30-1) Friday 5:30.


Teams In Fitch’s Way:

Fairfield:  Fairfield has had a solid season, against a tough list of opponents.  Their program hasn’t been to this round of the playoffs in 33 years, and it wasn’t easy to get here. Fairfield won a 1-0 nail biter against Centerville (25-5).  They were lifted by their pitcher Megan Spence who tossed a 3 hit shutout in the biggest game of her life.  The junior plays for a premier travel team in the Cincinnati area (Doom Premier Towe) and sees great competition throughout the summer.  She has pretty good velocity, but her success stems from her ability to move the ball and hit her spots well.  Fairfield has six seniors on their roster, so leadership is not an issue for the Indians. Senior  Jillian Huey is a Division 1 commit going to Rio Grande to continue her softball career.  Fellow senior Abby Stanfield is continuing her softball career at Lourdes University.  Fairfield has been known all season for their ability to make comebacks, they might not always get off to a great start, but the veteran Indians will fight until the last out.

Anthony Wayne and Watkins Memorial square off in the other Division 1 semifinal. Both teams are elite programs who were both in this situation a year ago.  Fitch beat Anthony Wayne 6-1 in last year’s state championship.  Anthony Wayne beat Watkins 2-1 to get there.  The Generals have now been to 3 final fours since 2021 and have a better record than a year ago, they lost 5 games in 2023 but just 1 game this season. They feature a pitching staff that is loaded with talent.  Kat Meyers their ace is committed to Michigan to continue her softball career, and if that wasn’t enough, junior Molly Conner is committed to play at Notre Dame.  The Generals pitchers have allowed just 2 runs through their tournament run, and they’ve scored 36.

Watkins on the other hand are just as good, they lost to Anthony Wayne 2-1 in last year’s tournament.  Their pitching is the definition of shutdown.  Their team ERA is barely above 1 at 1.27, and Michigan State commit Carson Cassady has an eye popping ERA of 0.282 and over 300 strikeouts on the season.  On the offensive side Ohio commit Jordyn Wycuff is mashing this season with a team leading average of .641 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI.  Watkins has a 5 game shutout streak going on at the moment, they haven’t allowed a run since their 9-8 loss to Miamisburg (Cassady did not pitch by the way).

DIVISION II

Semifinal 1: Canfield vs Kenton Ridge Friday 10:00am

Semifinal 2: Bryan vs Logan Elm Friday 12:30.

Teams in Canfield’s Way:  

 

Kenton Ridge (28-4) won a regional championship over the favorite in the region Granville 6-2 at Wright State.  Granville beat the Cougars in last season’s regional championship.  This is Kenton Ridge’s first regional championship in 11 seasons.  In the circle the Cougars have relied on junior Kyanne Tyson all season. Tyson is great at forcing weak contact and trusting her above average defense behind her to make a play.  She can get her strikeouts, she has 111 all season, but when compared to some of the other pitchers in the state level, Tyson is much more of a contact pitcher, and she’s good at it. Her ERA on the year is 2.36 in 139 innings pitched.  Tyson is helped by her elite sophomore catcher Brenna Fyffe who does an amazing job at managing Tyson’s game, especially for an underclassmen.

Bryan (16-4).  The Golden Bears are in the middle of their best season in program history.  The were in their programs first regional final against Lexington, and the won it 4-1.  They have been led by 1st Team All State pitcher Thea Staten who only allowed 1 run in the regional round.  In the regional semifinal she went 7 innings, and struck out 12 while only giving up 2 hits.  Bryan has two seniors that have brought nothing but glory to the entire athletics room at the school. Ella Voigt and Kailee Thiel are three sport athletes that have won 5 district titles, and led multiple sports to their longest tournament run to date.  They might be in their first state round, but these seniors have plenty of experience when it comes to doing things no one at the school has done before. Between their three varsity sports, Bryan has a .816 winning percentage in the past four years.

Logan Elm (21-8) Logan Elm is coming off a 7-3 win over Dover in the Regional Finals.  This is their first state tournament birth since 2012.  The Braves six seniors were given their diplomas before the start of Friday’s regional final. Going to state is a pretty good excuse for missing commencement.  Their six seniors are Katie Wilson, Lynsay VanHoose, Kaitlin Otterbacher, Tia Fowler, Taylor Fowler and Jaycie Clifton. Taylor Fowler brings plenty of pop to the Braves lineup, and plenty of clutch. She hit a walk off three run home run with the game tied at 5-5 in the regional semifinals against premiere program Jonathan Alder.  Other players to watch are sophomore Peyton Richendollar brings speed to the team as well as plenty of softball experience playing travel for Central Ohio Pride.  She will be someone catchers must keep their eye on when she’s on the bases.  She’s a stolen base expert.

DIVISION III

Semifinal 1: Oak Harbor vs Liberty Union Thursday 3:00

Semifinal 2: South Range vs South Webster Thursday 5:30.

Teams in South Range’s Way: 

 

South Webster (25-3). South Webster might have pulled off the biggest upset the state of Ohio has seen in a long time. They went up against two time reigning state champion in Wheelersburg.  The Pirates beat South Webster twice in the regular season, both times in run rule fashion.  The Jeeps were not intimidated in the slightest, pulling off a 4-3 victory.  The Jeeps might not have been the favorite against Wheelersburg, but then again there aren’t many teams in the whole state that would have been.  The Jeeps know how to win.  Their lineup is potent. Shawnee State commit Ashlee Spence who knocked in the game winning run against the Pirates is one of the best hitters in the Jeeps region.  She also hit a walk off home run in the district championship over Ironton.  Senior outfielder Skylar Zimmerman is one of the best outfielders in the state of Ohio.  Isabella Claxon is a strong senior leader who will continue her athletic career in volleyball at Mount Vernon Nazarene.

Oak Harbor (27-2).  Oak Harbor features a D1 athlete in the circle in senior Alyse Sorg.  Sorg, who will be a swimmer at Bowling Green has mounted an ERA of 2.11. She is a spin pitcher who makes sure that hitters don’t get solid contact off of her.  In fact she’s only given up 5 home runs this year in over 600 batters faced.  She’s also only given up 23 extra bass hits.  Their offense is led by Porter Gregory who hits .538 with 33 RBI.  Oak Harbor is a team known more for their on base percentage than their power, they’ve only hit 11 home runs on the year, but they have a team on base percentage of .456.

Liberty Union (22-6).  The Lions have won 14 of their last 16 games, and come into the state semifinals on an 11 game winning streak.  Liberty Union won a high scoring 9-7 regional final against Miami East.  They’ve scored at least 6 runs in 6 straight games.  Junior Payton Hochradel is ranked 82 in the Extra Innings top 300 for outfielders.  Like many other teams in this year’s state bracket, Liberty Union is making this trip for the first time for the players on their roster. In fact, the Lions district championship over top seeded Fairbanks gave them their first district trophy since 2011.

With this group of teams stacked against each other, YSN’s coverage of the state tournament is sure to be exciting this season.  Make sure to tune in to all of YSN’s social pages Wednesday at 8:00 for the State Softball Send Off Show which will feature coaches and players from Canfield, South Range, and Austintown Fitch.

YSN would also like to wish the best of luck to Mathews who will be representing the area in the Division IV state bracket.  If the Mathews community would like the Mustangs to be a part of the YSN family, get in contact with your AD and have them reach out to us about joining the 60 plus teams that are already signed on.

WHAT’S THE GOOD WARD?

CANFIELD OH- Last season, South Range’s Addie Wardle was the ultimate utility player, ready to step into any role the team needed. As a swing player, she filled in wherever she was asked, gaining valuable experience and proving her versatility. Fast forward to her sophomore year, and Addie is now an everyday starter for the Raiders. Whether she’s acting as the flex on defense, taking her spot in the offensive lineup, or occasionally pitching in the circle, Addie is always up for the task. Her adaptability and willingness to embrace any challenge have made her a cornerstone of the team.

The Raiders have long relied on Wardle’s rock-solid defense at second base. With a fielding percentage of .921, she’s a lockdown defender who consistently makes the plays to keep her team in the game. Her quick reflexes and strong arm make her a formidable presence on the infield, providing a sense of security to her teammates and coaches alike. When it comes to defense, Addie Wardle is as dependable as they come.

When Wardle gets the opportunity to swing the bat, she’s laser-focused and ready to make an impact. In her limited chances at the plate, she’s already racked up 4 RBI, demonstrating her knack for coming through in clutch situations. Her ability to deliver in key moments underscores her value to the Raiders’ offense. Even with fewer at-bats, Addie has shown that she can be a difference-maker with the bat.

Addie’s athletic prowess runs in the family. Her brother, Tyler Wardle, is a key member of the Raiders’ baseball team, and like Addie, he’s still alive in the playoffs. The sibling duo shares a special bond, always providing support and motivation for each other. The entire Wardle family is deeply involved in the athletics community, offering unwavering support not just to Addie and Tyler, but to their teammates and coaches as well.

Wardle’s dedication to softball extends beyond the high school season. She has been playing travel ball for the same team since she was 10 years old, honing her skills and building strong bonds with her teammates. This experience has not only improved her game but also shaped her into a leader. Her understanding of the importance of team chemistry and leadership is evident both on and off the field.

As Addie Wardle continues to grow and develop, there’s no doubt that she’ll be a pivotal player for the Raiders in the years to come. Her combination of skill, versatility, and leadership ensures that she will remain a key factor in South Range’s success. With players like Addie on the roster, the future looks bright for the Raiders.

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CANFIELD REFUSES TO BE DENIED A TRIP TO STATE

MACEDONIA OH- In a battle of elite pitching, the Canfield took down Buckeye 3-0 in the Regional Finals on Friday. Malena Toth was a force to be reckoned with in the circle, securing 21 outs and delivering a masterful performance.

Toth, the right-handed ace, fanned 17 batters, allowed just one hit, and kept the Bucks scoreless over seven innings, though she did issue five walks. Her dominance set the tone for Canfield’s victory.

The Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a clutch single from Leah Figueroa after a gritty 7-pitch at-bat. This early run gave Canfield the momentum they needed.

In the circle for the Bucks, freshman Lilly Young put up a fight, surrendering four hits and three runs over six innings while racking up eight strikeouts and six walks.

Figueroa was the driving force in the lineup for Canfield, knocking in two runs and going 2-for-3 on the day. Macey Kalina went 1-2 with 1 RBI, and a walk. Toth showed patience at the plate as well, drawing two walks. The Cardinals displayed a disciplined approach overall, collecting six walks. Defensively, they were rock solid, with no errors, and Figueroa was a standout with 17 chances in the field.

For the Bucks, Kwynn Czerwony managed one hit in three at-bats, and Madison Lichty showed a keen eye, drawing two walks. The Bucks were patient, drawing five walks total, but couldn’t convert them into runs.

With this win, Canfield advances to the State Semifinals, where they’ll face off against Kenton Ridge on Friday at 10:00 AM at Firestone Stadium in Akron.

FITCH DREAMS OF A REPEAT STILL FLYING HIGH

By Ty Bartell 

YOUNGSTOWN OH- The Austintown-Fitch Falcons softball team entered their third consecutive regional final in the last three seasons, looking to repeat an appearance in the State Final Four! Battling the #9 team in the nation, The Walsh Jesuit Warriors, The Falcons made a statement in the 8-2 win, handing The Warriors their first loss of the season.

The first two innings looked like a battle between #9 vs. #10 in the country as Falcon junior and Georgia-Tech commit Sydnie Watts and Warrior senior and Minnesota commit Natalie Susa were pitching around some early baserunners to post early zeros. The first score of the game occurred in the third inning when “Sammy Buckets” Same Severn showed off her clutch gene in the playoffs once again, delivering a two-out, two-run single past a diving Brianna Wise at second base to put Fitch up 2-0.

Walsh Jesuit, looking to get a run back in the top of the fourth, had Kayla McGee at third base following a double and advancement from her with only one out. However, The Falcons defense pulled off a spectacular 1-3-2 double play to end the inning without a Warrior run scoring! Fitch would add a run to their lead in the bottom of the fourth when Morgan Roby worked a bases loaded walk to give The Falcons a 3-0 edge, before Susa would register the third out and leave the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
After a scoreless top half of the fifth inning, The Falcons would open up Pandora’s box offensively, putting a five spot in the bottom of the fifth. Starting with Vita Kelty hitting a pinch-hit single to turn the lineup over before an RBI-triple by Kaliana Ray and back-to-back blasts by Kylie Folkwein, a two-run shot, and Sydnie Watts who cam so close to hitting the famous McDonalds parking lot in left-center field at The Covelli Sports Complex.

With an emphatic 8-0 lead in the top of the seventh, Fitch saw themselves three outs away from a berth in the State Final Four at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio.However, The Warriors would not go down without a fight! Racking up three hits in the seventh after being held to just one in the previous six innings, The Warriors scratched across a couple of late-inning runs, moving the score to 8-2 Austintown.

Watts would fan her 13th batter of the ballgame for the final out, booking The Falcons ticket back to state, as they are one chapter closer to finishing the 2024 story. Interviews with impact players, Sydnie Watts, Same Severn, Kylie Folkwein and Vita Kelty as well as Fitch Head Coach Steve Ward can be found below!
Fitch (21-1) will now square-off with The Fairfield Indians (22-3) in the State Semi-Final on Friday, May 31st with a 3 p.m. first pitch at Akron Firestone Park. On the other side of the Final Four, Anthony Wayne (30-1) will battle Watkins Memorial (30-1).
Stay updated with The Austintown-Fitch Falcons softball postseason run with live games, scores, stats, stories and more on YSN!

G-MONEY IN THE BANK

CANFIELD OH- Giada Pauline has made a seamless transition into her role as an upperclassman, embracing the added leadership responsibilities with confidence and poise. The South Range junior has taken charge both on and off the field, guiding her teammates and setting a stellar example of dedication and hard work. Pauline’s leadership is palpable, and she’s quickly become a cornerstone of the Raiders’ success.

This season, the Raiders knew they could rely on Pauline’s stellar glove work in the outfield, but they also needed her to be a big threat at the plate. Giada didn’t disappoint. She put in countless hours of work to ensure she’d be a consistent presence with her bat. Her dedication has paid off, as she’s become a formidable force in the lineup, delivering clutch hits and driving in crucial runs.

Having her dad as one of her travel coaches has been a blessing for Pauline. His presence on the team as an assistant coach this season has provided her with an unwavering pillar of support right in the dugout. The father-daughter duo has formed a special bond, both on and off the field, and his guidance has been instrumental in Giada’s development as a player.

The camaraderie among the outfielders is another highlight of Giada’s journey. The bond she’s built with her fellow outfielders is unbreakable. Their chemistry is so strong that they often seem to know what each other is thinking, leading to seamless communication and coordination during games. This unity has fortified the Raiders’ defense, making them a formidable opponent.

Pauline’s hitting stats this season are impressive: a .379 batting average, a .459 on-base percentage, 33 RBIs (fourth on the team), and 36 runs scored (third on the team). In 122 plate appearances, she’s only struck out 13 times, showcasing her discipline and consistency at the plate. These numbers reflect her hard work and dedication, solidifying her position as a key contributor to the team.

Rising as one of the best leaders on the team, Giada Pauline has been instrumental in the Raiders’ run to the Regional Finals. Her leadership, both vocal and by example, has galvanized the team, driving them to perform at their best. As she continues to grow and excel, Pauline is set to leave a lasting legacy at South Range, guiding the Raiders to even greater heights.

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ALWAYS GETTING THE BEST FROM BROGAN

CANFIELD OH- Sophomore Keira Brogan is making waves in the South Range softball scene. Coming off a star-studded freshman season, Brogan put her name on the map as one of the best players in the area. Her rookie year was filled with jaw-dropping performances, setting the bar high for herself and drawing the attention of opponents and fans alike.

But Brogan wasn’t content to rest on her laurels. Determined to avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump,” she put in the work during the off-season. Keira’s relentless drive and commitment to improvement were evident to anyone who saw her train. She knew that talent alone wouldn’t carry her through – it was her work ethic that would keep her at the top of her game.

One of the biggest areas Brogan focused on was her mental approach to softball. She understood that staying locked in and focused was crucial. Over the off-season, she honed her mental game, learning to stay calm under pressure and not letting mistakes or unfavorable results get to her. This newfound mental toughness has been a game-changer for Brogan, allowing her to elevate her performance to new heights.

Keira isn’t just a standout on her own – she’s part of a dynamic duo of power lefties with teammate Anna Aey. The two have a friendly competition, constantly pushing each other to hit harder and better.

The competitive spirit doesn’t stop there. Keira’s brother, Konner Brogan, is having a tremendous year with the South Range baseball team, also advancing to the regional rounds. The sibling rivalry is intense, with each vying for the title of who’s having the better season. However, this competition comes with a solid foundation of support. Having someone going through the same experiences pays dividends for Keira, providing her with unparalleled encouragement and motivation.

This season, Keira Brogan’s stats speak volumes about her prowess at the plate: a .526 batting average (first on the team), 17 doubles (first on the team), 6 triples (first on the team), 3 home runs, and 32 RBIs. These numbers reflect her hard work and dedication, solidifying her position as a key player for South Range.

Brogan’s impact on the South Range program is undeniable. Her contributions this season have been pivotal to the team’s success, and her potential for future seasons promises to keep South Range in the spotlight. As she continues to grow and excel, Brogan is set to be a cornerstone of the team’s success for years to come.

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FALCONS OUTLAST THE COMETS IN INSTANT CLASSIC

By Ty Bartell

YOUNGSTOWN OH- The Austintown-Fitch Falcons softball team survived a very game Amherst Steele Comets team in the regional semi-final by a score of 2-1 in a nine inning contest! Junior Georgia Tech commit Sydnie Watts started in the circle for Fitch while freshman Karina Schuster toed the rubber for Steele.

The Falcons started with the bats as the away team, as Schuster pitched around a couple Austintown hits to post a scoreless frame, aided by catcher Isabella Thomas-Friend throwing out Kalina Ray, attempting to swipe second, but coming off the bag while the tag was applied. Watts matched Schuster by holding The Comets off the scoreboard in the bottom half of the first.

Both teams would put on an impressive pitching display, executing in different ways. Watts by way of the strikeout and Schuster by way of amazing off-speed pitches that forced weak contact on Fitch with runners in scoring position multiple times. Through seven innings, both teams were scoreless with neither pitcher or defense giving an inch!

The top of the eighth finally saw Fitch break through with a Kylie Folkwein RBI-single to right, landing directly in front of a diving Nevaeh Sadler to score Kaliana Ray, giving The Falcons a 1-0 lead. The bottom of the eighth and the bottom of the order due up with The Comets season on the line. With one out, an amazing playoff softball moment occurred, when freshman designated player Kayla Rhodes smoked a Watts pitch to left, hitting the foul pole, for her first high school home run, tying the game 1-1!

Watts would get out of the eighth with the game tied, giving Fitch an opportunity in the top of the ninth. The red hot hitting Sam Severn would line her third hit of the game into center to put the go ahead run on first. Back-to-back bunts by Austintown allowed Severn to stand 60 feet away at third, giving Falcon freshman phenom Kaliana Ray the chance to bat. With the biggest hit of her high school career, Ray would line a single to right-center, scoring Severn and putting Fitch up 2-1!

Bottom of the ninth and it was 2-3-4 due up in the Steele lineup. Forcing a pop-fly from Allie Jackson in foul territory to Ayla Ray for the first out. Emma Nagy put up an incredible at-bat against Watts, bowing out with a changeup for Syd’s 16th strikeout of the outing! With two down, Watts would force a popup to shortstop Ayla Ray for the final out of the ballgame, clinching the 2-1 victory for The Falcons!

Ending the season 20-8, The Steele Comets put together an incredible season as the Northeast 4 District winners while giving the defending state champions all they could handle and more, spearheaded by an dazzling performance by freshman Karina Schuster.

The win for Austintown-Fitch (20-1) will send them to the elite eight for the third consecutive year where they will face The Walsh Jesuit Warriors (22-0) in one of the most anticipated matchups in the state of Ohio! That game will be at The Covelli Sports Complex at YSU on Friday, May 24th with a 5 p.m. first pitch.
Interviews with Players of the Game Kaliana Ray, Kylie Folkwein and Sydnie Watts as well as Falcon Head Coach Steve Ward can be found below. Stay updated with The Fitch Falcons softball postseason run with live games, scores, stats, stories and more on YSN!