WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Living up to the expectations comes with the territory of being a member of the Champion softball program, but this year’s team is well equipped to do that, sitting at 17-2 and ranked fourth in the state in Division III.

“As a freshman, it was really intimidating to come in here with all these huge girls and they just play ball,” Champion senior Morgan Davis said. “But now, to be one of those girls is just amazing — to live up to the expectations and be on the team is really nice.”

The team this year has been fueled in part by sophomore ace Gabby Gradishar‘s return, that’s also helped relive some stress.

“Especially because Gabby’s back this year, it takes more pressure off of me, definitely — and we are having a lot of fun at practice and a lot of fun at games,” Champion senior Abigail Meadors said.

Champion is also led on offense by Gradishar’s 11 home runs, as the Flashes are outscoring opponents by an average score of 11.3 to 1.5 per game.

“Its great to be apart of this team and just really have the girls connection together and really playing the game we love and having fun,” Gradishar said.

Plus, the only two blemishes for the Cheryl Weaver-led squad: a 6-3 loss to Austintown Fitch, who sits at No. 4 in Division I and a 2-0 pitcher’s duel loss to third-ranked in Division 2 Canfield.

But they have plenty of big-time wins, like a 5-4 win over Marlington, who sits at No. 2 in the latest Division II rankings, just ahead of Canfield.

“We have to focus one game at a time, we can’t take anything lightly, that’s what Coach Weaver tells us every game,” Meadors said. “Hopefully, we can keep rolling into tournaments and make it into state.”

The Flashes still have six games on the regular season schedule before the OHSAA softball tournament. View a full breakdown of the field here.