A five-run sixth inning helped Cuyahoga Heights to slam the door on Tuscarawas Central Catholic in a Division IV regional semifinal at Firestone Stadium on Thursday.
Heights led just 4-2 before capitalizing on five walks, an error, and a Sydney Dyer triple in the big sixth inning.
“It was a great win,” said Cuyahoga Heights coach Kyle Manfredonia. “We have five or six girls who have never played varsity softball and they’ve been handling everything like they’ve been here before. They’re just vibing off of each other and playing really good softball.”
Julia Harris singled and scored on a Maddy Vance single to give Heights a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Tuscarawas responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on a double and a home run.
“They didn’t get rattled at all,” Manfredonia said. “Julia gave up a home run but she came right back and we kept it together and got the momentum going.”
Harris allowed just four hits the rest of the way and she finished with five strikeouts.
Heights regained the lead with a pair of two-out runs in the third.
Tessa Studniarz drew a walk and scored on Kaylee Vallee’s double. Vance then singled home Vallee to push the Heights lead to 4-2.
Studniarz walked and scored on a bases-loaded single in the fifth. Katie Calvey, Alize Reyes, Studniarz, Vance, and Zakiya Baker all drew walks in the sixth while Harris reached on a fielder’s choice and Vallee was safe on an error. Dyer tripled to record Cuyahoga Heights’ lone hit in in the inning.
Dyer finished the game 3-for-3 while Vallee and Vance both recorded two hits in the win.
With the win, Cuyahoga Heights advanced to Saturday’s regional championship game against Vienna Mathews. The game is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
“We’re going to go in on Friday and work on some of the things we think they’ll do,” Manfredonia said. “We’ll work on some defensive stuff and try to stay hot at the plate.”
That’s Ballgame!!!! Way to go Heights. Let’s keep this going! So much fun. pic.twitter.com/VtDNeL7YpH
— Mike Janatovich (@mjanatovich) May 27, 2021