July 28, 2014

Elyria
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District softball: Amanda Beursken’s record-setting home run provides spark as Midview upsets Westlake

Midview’s Amanda Beursken watches the ball after connecting on a three-run home run in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s district semifinal win over Westlake. It was Beursken’s Lorain County-record 26th career home run. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Midview’s Amanda Beursken watches the ball after connecting on a three-run home run in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s district semifinal win over Westlake. It was Beursken’s Lorain County-record 26th career home run. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Midview senior Amanda Beursken provided her team with a huge lift Wednesday against top-seeded Westlake — and made Lorain County softball history in the process.

Beursken crushed a high, outside pitch over the center-field fence at North Ridgeville High School for a three-run homer in the fourth inning that propelled the third-seeded Middies to a 7-2 win over the Demons and into a district final for the first time since 2011.

The Middies will play Elyria, a 4-1 winner over Amherst, today at 4:30 p.m. for the district title.

The home run was Beursken’s 10th of the year and 26th of her career, surpassing Avon Lake’s Alexis Thomas, who set the county career record with 25 just last season.

It also gave Midview a 3-0 lead.

“I just relaxed up there and was looking for my pitch,” said Beursken, who saw six pitches from Westlake starter Katie Lew before the game-changing home run. “It was really helpful to see so many pitches and to see the spin off of her hand. I just wanted to make good contact.”

Midview (21-4) added an unearned run in the inning when Trish Koleski reached on an error, moved to third on a single by Audra Clapper and came home on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Hannah Taulbee.

Westlake (21-5) threatened to get right back in the game, loading the bases against freshman starter Lauren Landers. But the Demons scored only one run when Danielle Dill had a ball go off the third baseman’s glove into left field.

Landers (21-4) coaxed two ground-ball outs to get out of the inning.

“We hit the ball hard all day and they (Midview) played well defensively,” Demons coach Tom Shiban said. “We had the bases loaded and could only push one across. We needed to put up a crooked number there and you just don’t know how things might have been different.”

The Middies all but put the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the seventh on four hits off Lew (12-5).

Cassie Haight provided the biggest hit of the rally with a flare down the right-field line that just eluded a diving Erin Brown to drive in Landers and Erin DiFranco.

“The softball gods may have been smiling at us a little on Cassie’s hit,” Middies coach Mike Ives said.

Trish Koleski drove in the final run for Midview with a sacrifice fly deep to right field in the seventh, sending Morgan Hamker home for a 7-1 lead.
Westlake didn’t go quietly though as Alex Tinline, Kylie Tinline and Dill singled to load the bases. Brown drove home a run with a grounder to second, but Landers finished off the game in style with a pair of strikeouts.

“I really wasn’t that nervous, I knew my team would have my back,” Landers said of the Demons’ seventh-inning threat.

It may have been a disappointing end for Westlake, but the Demons tied the school record for wins in a season (21) and set the record for highest winning percentage.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com. Follow James on Twitter @jbrady_ct.

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