HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL Regional previews
Who: Boardman (24-3) vs. North Canton Hoover (24-3).
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Buchtel Field, University of Akron.
Other semifinal: Cuyahoga Falls (21-3) vs. Madison (23-4), today, 4:30 p.m.
Championship: Saturday, 1 p.m. Winner will play the Columbus regional winner in next week's state semifinals.
Boardman scouting report: Batting order will be Mary McCabe at shortstop hitting first, followed by Laura Amero in center field, while hitting third will be pitcher Marissa Bartholomew (17-2 record). Hitting fourth will be Gina Rango (third), then Jennifer Feret (first), Jaclyn Corroto (second), Jennifer Pancake (left), Meghan Hovanic (catcher), and DH Pam Prystash or Krysta Sylvester. Hitting last will be Audrey Martinko (right field).
Boardman defeated North Canton Hoover 3-1 last year for the regional title. Hoover is ranked first in the state this week, while the Spartans are second.
"We have to take all the good things we have done this year and put them together," Boardman coach Bill Amero said. "Nothing fancy. We seem to come together for the big games. We need to take the same attitude that we've had in the other big games. I don't think we will have any trouble getting up for Hoover."
Hoover will pitch a freshman, Karla Pittman.
The top Boardman hitter is Rango (.514), trailed by Feret (.484). Each have four homers. McCabe hits .444.
Who: Poland (22-6) vs. Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (23-6).
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Firestone Park, Akron.
Other semifinal: Akron Springfield (17-10) vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit (23-5), today, 4:30 p.m.
Championship: Saturday, 1 p.m. Winner will play the Pickerington regional winner in next week's state semifinals.
Poland scouting report: The Bulldogs field a lineup of: sophomore right fielder Katie Naumoff (.400 batting average, with .500 on-base average); junior center fielder Emily Patton (.415, with team-leading 28 runs scored); senior first baseman Heidi Kimmel (.400, with .612 slugging average and 13 extra-base hits); senior catcher Suzanne Olesko (.301, 21 RBIs); sophomore second baseman Jessica Lamport (.333, 21 RBIs); sophomore designated hitter Stephanie Russell (.329, with just one strikeout in 88 at-bats); junior third baseman Michelle Nespeca (.367); junior pitcher Sarah Knill (.262, with 18-4 mound record and 0.63 earned-run average); senior left fielder Jio Toppi (.417, with .519 on-base average); and junior shortstop Tiffany Fonagy.
Poland won its 15th straight Metro Athletic Conference title and went on to defeat Howland (9-1), Struthers (4-0) and Tallmadge (4-1) in the tournament. The Bulldogs have been to the regionals seven times in coach Reid Lamport's 12 years, but they have never gotten to state.
"This team has already surpassed expectations," Lamport said. "We're just playing with emotion, which is exciting to see, and confidence, which is exciting to be a part of. I don't really know what we're capable of. We're just having fun riding this thing out. I've always said at the start of the season -- get us to regionals and I'll take my chances with anybody."