By Brandon Judeh
Most student athletes may never get a shot to win the big game — or any game for that matter — for their team but sometimes a lucky few get more than one chance.
Ursuline’s Megan Ross, just a freshman, had a chance to be the hero for the second consecutive night.
With the temperature dipping near 40 degrees, Ross stepped up to the plate with a chance to give her team the lead in the top of the ninth inning against South Range.
Ross delivered a one-out single and Maddie Christoff scored the winning run for the second straight night to give Ursuline a thrilling 2-1 win to capture a Division III district title.
“This feels even better tonight than it did last night,” Ross said. “The infield was playing in on me and the pitch was a little outside so I just tapped it over their heads into left field.”
The hit landed in almost the same spot as her winning hit against Newton Falls on Thursday, but this time the ball landed and then rolled under the left fielder’ss glove, allowing Christoff to score.
In the bottom of the ninth starting pitcher Makayla Shore sent the Raiders down in order. She and her teammates to mobbed each other at home plate after catcher Dana Creatore recorded the final putout.
“We all are very excited, but we always take it one game at a time and put it in the Lord’s hands and try to go out and win,” Shore said.
Shore nearly let the game slip through her fingers in the bottom of the eighth when an easy ground ball went under her glove to put two on with two outs for the Raiders.
“After that play we definitely had to regroup,” Shore said. “I just wanted to make sure that I made the next play as easy as possible for my teammates.”
Shore came through, inducing a groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
“This was a long season and we had some tough losses, but we knew that if we play up to our potential we could play with anybody and beat anybody,” said Irish coach Mike Kernan.
South Range (25-3) left 12 runners on base, including 10 in socring position. Raiders coach Don Feren said that cost his team the game.
“Ursuline got the key hits and outs when they needed to,” Feren said. “We left a lot of people on base that we should have drove in. I’m going to miss our seniors. They put a lot of time in and have had great careers.”
South Range pitcher Carly DeRose finished with two hits and struck out eight batters in her fina game. Sarah Moretti knocked in the lone run for the Raiders in the fourth inning.
Christoff went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Irish (20-9).
Ursuline will meet either Champion or LaBrae in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Massillon Washington High School. Champion and LaBrae are scheduled to meet in a district final at 1 p.m. today in Jefferson.