November 23, 2014

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OGSO: Trip to batting cages pays off for Katie Strauser, Lorain Xplosion

Lorain's Tonja Hannibal slides safely into third as Wellington third baseman Taylor Hardwick attempts to tag her out. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Lorain’s Tonja Hannibal slides safely into third as Wellington’s Taylor Hardwick attempts to tag her out. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

WELLINGTON — Lorain Xplosion designated player Katie Strauser did something Tuesday she hadn’t done all summer. She made a trip to the batting cages.

A few hours later she had another new experience — leading the Xplosion with two doubles and four RBIs in a 7-5 win over Wellington Harrison Ford in an Ohio Girls Softball Organization Class D (ages 15-18) regional final.

“I guess I should have gone to the batting cages a lot sooner,” Strauser said. “I really didn’t hit the ball that well all year but I felt good today and when I got that first hit it really gave me a lot of confidence.”

Wellington took a 2-0 lead in the first inning but Lorain came back and tied the game in the second. The remainder of the Xplosion offense came in a five-run third inning.

“They got us early but we came right back and tied it up, then we had that big inning,” Xplosion manager Jeff Isenberg said. “We held them in the end. We held them to five runs and that was good enough to win.”

Pitcher Erin Isenberg held Wellington to one run over the final four innings to seal it.

“My pitching has gotten a lot better over the course of the summer season,” said Isenberg, who had five strikeouts. “I was in a back brace for three months after I had a stress fracture in my lower back. I’m finally getting stronger now. I feel like I have speed again and I can hit my spots again with my pitches.”

Lorain improved to 8-6 and will play Sheffield in tonight’s state semifinals.

Isenberg thinks her team is in a good position heading into the state tournament based on its play in the second half of the season.

“It feels great to be in this position,” she said. “We have almost all new players on this team so I thought we might have a hard time working with each other. We lost all of our seniors but we’ve finally come together in the final few games, learned how to play with each other. Now everyone has the right mindset, has confidence and is enjoying playing with each other.”

Crushers rout Spencer

Allison Bouscher and Kaitlynn Krupinski combined on a two-hitter and the Columbia offense took care of the rest as the Crushers rolled to a 19-4 five-inning win over Spencer in Class C (ages 13-14) regional play.

In addition to pitching three innings to get the win, Bouscher also got three hits and scored three runs.

“My curve and my knucklecurve were working today so I had the change of speed thing going,” Bouscher said. “We’ve been together as a team since coach-pitch so we’ve worked on hitting and fielding together all of these years, that makes us mesh really well as a team.”

Columbia will face Buckeye in today’s regional final. The teams split their two regular-season meetings.

“We need to come ready to play against Buckeye,” Bouscher said. “The last time we played them we thought we had it in the bag and they beat us by one run.”

Emma Seitz also scored three runs for the Crushers, who improved to 12-2.

“We had some fielding and hitting tonight. I think we lost focus a bit at the end but overall we played a really good game,” Seitz said.

Columbia manager Scott Bouscher said his team’s offense was no surprise.

“The girls did a great job hitting,” he said. “They’ve been good hitters all season. This is what they’ve done all season. We have a lot of girls on this team that have really focused on improving their hitting so I felt confident they would continue that tonight.”

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

TUESDAY’S SCORES
Class D (age 15-18)
Lorain Xplosion 7, Wellington Harrison Ford 5
Sheffield Lady Crushers 11, North Ridgeville Lady Rangers 1
Buckeye #1 18, Oberlin Blue 2
South Amherst Firelands 10, Buckeye #2 0
Class C (13-14)
Buckeye 11, Wellington Heat 0
LaGrange Bailey’s 23, Sheffield Storm 13
Columbia Crushers 19, Spencer 4
Lorain Dirt Devils 12, Amherst Hurricanes 0

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