ASHLAND, Ohio - Genoa didn't have trouble making the most of its first regional softball appearance. The Comets cruised to a 6-0 victory over a shaky Magnolia Sandy Valley team last night in a Division III semifinal at Brookside Park.
Genoa right-hander Shana Szypka provided another overpowering performance, fanning 15 and allowing only two hits and two walks. The Comets' ace helped Genoa improve to 26-1 overall while raising her record to 24-1.
"She does a great job of making her coach look like he knows what he's doing," said Genoa coach Tom Kontak.
Szypka increased her season strikeout total to a stellar 330.
The Comets will take on the winner of today's Hillsdale-Colonel Crawford game in the regional championship here Saturday at noon.
"I think this was kind of indicative of what we try to do - keep a routine and absolutely enjoy this journey," said Kontak, describing the Comets' approach to the matchup with Sandy Valley.
Szypka, who closed out the game by striking out the side, said she was ready for the Comets' most meaningful softball game to date, as so were her teammates.
"I have 100 percent confidence in my defense," Szypka said. "They're awesome. If the other team gets a hit off of me I have total confidence my defense will get it done."
Genoa scored two runs in the second, one in the third and three more in the fourth off of Cardinals pitcher Allysa Lancaster (21-6), who gave up six hits while striking out three and walking two.
Delaney Talmage led Genoa with two hits, including a two-run single in the fourth that gave Genoa a 6-0 advantage.
Leslie Scheanwald gave the Comets a 1-0 lead when she drove in a run in the second with a bunt-single with two outs as Lydia Eckel ran in from third and slid safely underneath the tag at home plate.
Abbey Kontak singled to lead off the third and eventually scored on a groundout by Kelsey Vincent for a 3-0 lead.
"We just had to play our best," Talmage said. "It really doesn't matter who we play, we know we have to play our best. We came in pretty confident."
Sandy Valley coach Jill Williams thinks the Cardinals (24-7) probably were their own worst enemies. They committed three errors, including one in the second that helped Genoa take an early lead.
"I don't think we played our best," Williams said. "I thought it would have been a closer game. I thought it would have been more competitive. We didn't play as well as we're capable of playing."
Williams said nerves may have played a part in the Cardinals' struggles, which included a couple of routine fly balls that were dropped.
"Unfortunately we didn't make the key plays we needed to make," Williams said. "You can't do that and expect to advance in the regionals."
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FAIRBORN, Ohio - Evergreen scored in the bottom of the 17th inning to beat Lemon-Monroe 4-3 in a Division III regional semifinal at Wright State.
Lindsay Schmitz reached on an error and was bunted to second by Ashley Herr. Taylor Langenderfer bunted down the third base line to advance Schmitz, and when the Lemon-Monroe third baseman threw the ball into right field for another error, Schmitz scored the winning run.
Lexie Pinkelman went the distance for the Vikings (22-8), giving up 10 hits, walking two and striking out 14.
Herr went 3-for-7 with an RBI and Caitlin Winn went 3-for-6 with an RBI for Evergreen.
Lemon-Monroe finishes 20-5.
FINDLAY - Jamie Perkins struck out 12 and Alisha Etzler had two hits and scored two runs for Convoy Crestview in a 4-1 regional semifinal win over Mohawk in D-IV.
Calli Coppus took the loss but went 3-for-3 and scored Mohawk's lone run.
Crestview advances at 29-0 and Mohawk bows out at 24-4.