MASON — The Lebanon High School softball team is headed to the state semifinals.
Aubrey Smith and Sophia Sheidler combined on a two-hit performance, and sixth-ranked Lebanon blanked Fairfield 7-0 in a Division I regional final on Friday at Mason.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go up there (to state),” Warriors coach Brian Kindell said. “The entire coaching staff has had the opportunity to go up there before. No one on this team has had that opportunity.
“Selfishly, we wanted it for them, not for us. I want it for them because it’s a great group of kids. They work their butts off every day. They’ve earned it, and they deserve it. I couldn’t be happier for the team.”
Ella Teubner and Teagan Ouhl each had two hits for Lebanon (29-3), which will face Austintown-Finch in the state semifinals on Friday, June 2, at 12:30 p.m. at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
Smith and Sheidler kept the Indians staggering offensively Friday. Ava Hensley and Madi Miller accounted for Fairfield’s only hits.
“It wasn’t our day today,” said Indians coach Brenda Stieger, who wrapped up her 27th season and surpassed the 500-win mark back in April.
“We couldn’t be more proud of being here. We couldn’t be more proud of what got us here. We played great — our whole tournament run. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, and it didn’t today.”
While Smith was adjusting to multiple illegal pitch calls, the Warrior offense provided her a boost with a three-run fourth inning.
“I’ve never been called for an illegal pitch before, so having that in the back of my mind and trying to fix that in the moment was really difficult,” Smith said. “The pressure of the situation was a lot, but I think we held our own.
“Our team played great today,” Smith added. “We played great defense and everybody did a great job hitting and working together as a team and not trying to do too much.”
Teubner and Kendal Allen both had two-RBI doubles in the bottom half of the sixth, and the Warriors were on the way to their 25th win in a row.
The Indians (20-6) reached their first regional title game since 2006 using sound defense and stellar pitching.
“Their pitchers did a great job of keeping us off balance, so we have to give a lot of credit to them,” Stieger said. “We sure are proud of our kids. No one wants to finish their season, but we’re walking away in the final eight in the state. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
The Warriors will be making their fifth appearance at state. They finished as state runners-up in 2012, 2015 and 2017.
Greenville wins D-2 title
Greenville topped Kenton Ridge 5-2 on Friday to win the Division II regional title.
The Green Wave advance to the state semis to face Tallmadge at 5:30 p.m. on June 1 in Akron.
It will be the fourth state appearance for Greenville, which finished first in 2007 and runner-up in 2012.