NEW PHILADELPHIA -- Scoring four runs in the sixth inning, the Strasburg High Lady Tigers broke open a close game to capture a 6-0 Division IV District semifinal game over the Newcomerstown Lady Trojans at the Tuscarawas Central Catholic sports complex last Thursday.
With the win, Strasburg -- the state's top-ranked Division IV team -- moves on to the D-IV District championship game against Steubenville Catholic Central, a team that defeated the Lady Tigers last year in the district finals.
After two scoreless innings, Strasburg (27-2) took the lead in the third when Abby Froman and Emmy Hensel put together back-to-back singles and then scored when pitcher Carly Clark ripped a two-run single to center field.
"We played well," Newcomerstown coach Lane Leedy stated. "They (Strasburg) are so seasoned and it takes just one error for them to take advantage and you are down 6-0. We didn't die when we were down 2-0 and kept getting people on and moving them around. They certainly deserve their No. 1 ranking."
Newcomerstown pitcher Hannah Rexroad did an outstanding job of keeping the ball down and away to keep the Strasburg hitters off balance until the sixth frame. Rexroad fanned five and gave up four walks in taking the loss.
In the sixth, Strasburg firstbaseman Erin Metzger beat out a one-out infield singles and went to second when Lydia Stockert coaxed a walk out of Rexroad. Melissa Sibley then sacrificed both runner up and the Lady Trojans elected to intentionally walk Froman to load the bases.
Hensel then delivered an RBI single to score Metzger, but the sacks remained full. Clark hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to left which was dropped clearing the bases for three more insurance runs for the Lady Tigers. Scoring on the play were Froman, Hensel and pinch-runner Nicki Cregan who was running for Stockert. Of the six Strasburg runs, only three were earned runs.
Clark picked up the win in the circle, striking out nine and walking none while giving up just three hits.
Krystin Raach paced the Lady Trojans (18-12) at the plate with a double, while Jessie Rexroad and Christy Felton each added a single.
Froman led the nine-hit Strasburg attack with three singles scoring twice, while Hensel added a pair of singles good for two runs and an RBI.
It has been a good year for the Lady Trojans with 18 wins and the first sectional title in school history and Leedy graduates seven senior this spring, but she is still confident about the future.
"I have to congratulate our seniors," she said. "They have been a part of this program for four years and have started the winning tradition. As upsetting as it was to bow out, we have to be proud of this group. They have grown both as a team and as individuals.
"Our young players now have a taste of winning and a sectional title and I challenged them tonight to take it to the next level," she went on. We have great feeder programs and we have taken small steps. Now it is time to take a giant leap and be contenders both in our league and in the tournament."