Western Reserve bites the dust

BERLIN CENTER–It was the end of the road for the Western Reserve softball team on Tuesday as it ran into an East Canton team that could hit the ball from the top to the bottom of the lineup.

“East Canton has a lot of good hitters on that team,” Western Reserve coach Joe Serensky said. “They kept finding the holes to get hits and today they had the better team.”

The top-seeded East Canton bats led the Hornets to an 11-3 win to advance to the Div. IV district finals against second-seeded Columbiana at 5 p.m. today.

East Canton is now 18-5 on the season while Western Reserve bows out of tournament play with a 10-11 mark.

The Hornets only trailed once all game after Ariana Gregorino scored in the top of the first inning to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.

“We got off to a good start in the first inning and we thought that would be a confidence booster,” Joe Serensky said. “Then the East Canton bats I knew they had came out.”

Blue Devil fielding held the Hornets’ bats at bay in the first inning after shortstop Alyssa Serensky made two stops of East Canton batters.

“First out went right back to the pitcher,” East Canton coach Jason Hall said. “The shortstop made a great backhand grab and than deflected one to get an out.”

The Hornets’ stinging bats came out in the second inning when Cassy Wolfe smacked a two-run homer to right center field giving East Canton its first lead of the day at 2-1.

East Canton poured on two more runs in the next two innings before exploding for five in the fifth inning.

“All the girls were getting key hits today,” Hall said. “We have power in the middle and speed at the top/bottom of the line up.”

“It’s comforting knowing that anyone in the lineup can get a base hit at anytime.”

Western Reserve added on two runs in the top of the fifth inning when Gracie Wayland and Layla Woolf each had RBI singles bringing the Blue Devils within three runs at 6-3.

Gregorino led the Blue Devils at the plate going 4-for-4 with four singles.

East Canton’s fifth inning was headed by back-to-back doubles from Katelynn Kennedy and Harley Mason. The Hornet’s nine hole hitter Mary Reichard had a single that drove in a run.

“We had our six hole go yard today,” Hall said. “Our nine hitter had a base knock to drive in a run. This team feels like they let the team down when they don’t get a hit and they take it personal.”

East Canton finished the day with 13 hits.

“The girls were getting their swings in today but it seemed like it was right at them,” Joe Serensky said.

Game notes

¯Western Reserve bids farewell to seven seniors who Blue Devil coach Joe Serensky said was a resilient group.

“This senior group I’ve coached them for three or four years now,” Joe Serensky said. “They are a pretty tight knit group and very resilient. Adding Springfield and Waterloo to our conference (Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference) made it for a tougher season. There were some days where we would have a rough go but the next day they were always ready to go.”

¯The top two-seeds (No. 1 East Canton; No. 2 Columbiana) in the Div. IV Western Reserve district will meet at 5 p.m. today.

“I know Columbiana had a rough start to the season but it seems like they’ve only been getting better as time went on,” Hall said.

WR: 1-0-0-0-2-0-0–3-8-2

EC: 0-2-2-2-5-0-X–13-13-1

EC–Marisa Hall, wp (7IP, 4K, 1BB) and Kaley Steigerwald

WR–Layla Woolf, lp (6IP, 3K, 3BB) and Morgan Donithan