|Cuyahoga Heights a challenge for Wayne Trace|
|Tuesday, June 03, 2014 11:50 AM|
FINAL: Cuyahoga Heights 6, Wayne Trace 1.
By KEVIN WANNEMACHER • Progress Sportswriter
AKRON – Four teams making their first appearance in the state softball tournament will meet in Akron on Friday as the Division IV state semifinals take place.
In the opener on Friday morning, Cuyahoga Heights (21-3) will take on Wayne Trace (22-7) at 10 a.m. with Minster (26-3) against Bainbridge Paint Valley (22-8) following at 12:30 p.m.
Cuyahoga Heights is under the direction of fourth year head coach Christy Zawadzki, who came into the season with high expectations.
“We had seven starters back from last year so we had high hopes coming into the year,” noted Zawadzki. “The girls put high expectations on themselves and they have done a good job of putting in the time and working hard to achieve their goals.”
The Lady Redskins of Cuyahoga Heights bring a roster that bats a combined .294 entering the state tournament.
Leading the way for Cuyahoga Heights is junior third baseman Lauren Goetz, who tops the Cuyahoga Heights roster with a .467 average and has scored a team high 37 runs on the season for the Redskins, who average 6.5 runs a contest. Goetz also has five doubles, four triples and a home run while driving in 14. The junior has posted 38 stolen bases as well out of 68 for the team. Goetz tops the Redskins in on base percentage (.592) and slugging percentage (.680) as well.
Junior shortstop Jenna Stegmaier hits .272 and is expected to bat second with 23 runs scored and 15 runs batted in on the season. Stegmaier leads the Redskins with seven stolen bases. Stegmaier is second on the team in stolen bases with nine.
Sophomore center fielder Dayna Denner will be the cleanup hitter and is second on the squad in average (.425), on base percentage (.511) and slugging percentage (.671) while topping the Redskins in runs batted in (35). Denner also has recorded six doubles, three triples and two home runs on the year and scored 17 runs.
Catcher Alicia Falorio, a junior, is hitting .338 and is second on the team with 26 runs batted in while posting five doubles, four triples and three home runs.
Senior Meredith Chopka bats fifth for Cuyahoga Heights and is hitting .271 on the season with 13 runs batted in. Chopka has posted four doubles on the year.
Sophomore Samantha Rodriguez will bat sixth as the flex hitter, hitting .292 on the season with an on base percentage of .346 and slugging percentage of .375.
Expected to hit seventh is senior first baseman Katelyn Gervase, who posts a batting average of .306 with 11 runs scored while driving in seven runs.
Senior second baseman Brianna Swanson has a .167 average while scoring 17 times and driving in 11 runs on the year.
Junior left fielder Brittany Nero rounds out the hitting lineup, posting an average of .206 with 11 runs scored and nine runs batted in.
Junior Brittany Blasinsky will play right field but is not expected to bat.
“Wayne Trace has a very good pitcher and she does a good job of mixing up pitches,” Zawadzki continued. “She throws a good rise ball and a curve ball so we have to be aware of what they try to do.”
On the hill, Chopka is 19-3 on the season with an earned run average of 0.87 on the season. The senior hurler has led the Redskins to nine straight victories as Cuyahoga Heights has won those games by a combined 69-7 margin, including 26-4 in five tournament games.
“One thing about this team this year is the girls have been able to pick up each other in different aspects,” noted the Redskin head coach. “If we are struggling offensively, our defense and our pitching have picked up the slack. If our defense isn’t at its best, we have been able to score runs. The girls get along very well and it is a very fun group to be around.”
The Lady Redskins also posted a Chagrin Valley Conference championship this season, winning all ten games in league play. Cuyahoga Heights is only about 35 minutes away from Firestone Stadium in Akron, the site of the Division IV state tournament.
“I think the biggest thing at this point is we just need to control our emotions and play our game,” concluded Zawadzki. “All four teams are new to this experience so the team that handles the atmosphere and controls their emotions will have an advantage. Our girls get to sleep in their own beds Thursday night so hopefully that is a benefit to us. Being as close as we are, hopefully we are able to bring a great crowd as well and use that to our advantage. But it all comes down to who does what they need to do between the lines on Friday.”
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