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Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:19 PM
CENTERVILLE — With one swing, junior Grace Gressly jump-started Lebanon’s tourney journey on Wednesday afternoon. With another, she sealed the deal.
Gressly’s two home runs and five RBI’s provided the bulk of Lebanon’s fireworks in a 6-3 defeat of Lakota East in a Division I high school softball regional semifinal on Wednesday. Lebanon (26-3) will take a six-game win streak into Saturday’s regional final against Lakota West (24-3) also at Centerville. West advanced by eliminating Mason 9-3 in Wednesday’s other semi.
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Trailing 1-0, Gressly delivered a no-doubt, three-run bomb in the third inning. The designated hitter, she trumped that with another two-run missile in the sixth.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Gressly, who verbally committed to Wright State University prior to this season. “I was just trying to put some runs on the board. It was a bit of a rush. We really want to make it back to state and I think we have the team to do it.”
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Gressly’s shots made a winner of junior pitcher Kat Frank (24-3), who went the distance. When centerfielder Madison DeGennaro secured the final flyout, Warriors catcher Molly Osborne leaped into Frank’s awaiting arms in celebration.
“It was awesome out there,” Frank said. “We talked the other day with (coach Brian Kindell) how this has become an expectation for Lebanon, but we really need to enjoy it because it’s awesome to make it this far in the tournament.”
Lebanon has been to the D-I state final four five times since 2012, including last season. The Warriors were the state runner-up in the 2015 and ’12 seasons.
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Clinton-Massie 11, Greenville 4: Clinton-Massie (27-5) scored five runs in the first inning and three in the second to avenge a loss to Greenville in the same round a year ago. Claire Carruthers had the big hit in the first inning, a two-run home run. Victoria Severt hit a two-run home run in the second inning.
It was the 16th straight season for Greenville (26-6) to finish with 20 or more victories for coach Jerrod Newland, who took over the program in 2003. Greenville’s Sydney Grote drove in the team’s first run in the second inning. Morgan Gilbert hit a solo home run off the top of the fence in right field to provide Greenville’s second run in the third inning.
Greenville, which won the state title in 2007, was seeking its fourth state berth. It made the final four in 2010 and lost in the state final in 2012. It lost 5-3 to Jonathan Alder on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning last season in the regional final.
Massie will play Jonathan Alder in the D-II regional final on Saturday.
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Jonathan Alder 14, Kenton Ridge 5: Jonathan Alder handed Central Buckeye Conference rival Kenton Ridge (23-2) its only losses this season, including a D-II regional semi at Mason. Carly Turner hit a two-run home run with two outs in the fifth inning with the Cougars trailing 12-1 to help Kenton Ridge avoid losing by the run rule. Jade Espinosa hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.
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North Union 5, West Liberty-Salem 1: North Union tallied two runs in the first inning and made that lead stand in a D-III regional semi at Wright State. Kayle Henderson had a double for the Tigers, who finished 21-3 overall, won the Ohio Heritage Conference (14-1) and were district champs for the second straight season.
North Union (24-2) will play Williamsburg in Saturday’s D-III regional final. Williamsburg advanced by defeating Indian Lake, 10-2.
Bradford 2, Mechanicsburg 0: Winning pitcher Skipp Miller struck out 12 and allowed just three hits as the Railroaders extended their record-setting postseason in a D-IV regional semi at Greenville. Miller also had two hits, including a double. Bailey Wysong added a run-scoring single and Elisa Martinez knocked in a run.
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