CANFIELD, Ohio – Two years ago, the South Range softball team fell in the state championship game, finishing as state runners-up. Something that is fresh in the mind of the Raiders.
“We really just want to get back to Akron,” said senior Samantha Susany.
“Big motivation for sure,” said senior Julianna Stachowicz. “Over half the team has seen that state game and we know what it feels like and we just want to get back there.”
South Range has been using that motivation and taking it out on the opposition this year.
14-1, their lone loss to a non-Ohio team on their spring break trip. They are winners of six straight, outscoring their opponents 65 to 15 in those games.
“Three hitter to the six hitter can all, at any at bat hit the ball out of the park,” said head coach Jeff DeRose.
“Definitely is a breather on defense because errors do happen,” said senior Jamie Feren. “So with an offense like this, we should be able to have an error every once and then with forgiveness.”
Not only can the Raiders rake, a pair of senior hurlers can spin it as well. Stachowicz and Susany post a combined sub .80 ERA and have combined for eight shutouts.
“Sam and Julie really complement each other really well,” said senior Kelly Szolek. “So we can throw one on the first game of the series and the other on the second. They both have different pitching styles but they can both keep teams off balance.”
“It is a nice luxury to have that other teams don’t,” DeRose said. “I think that will hopefully take us a little further than teams that only have one pitcher.”
Sitting state ranked and with the tournament draw just days away, the Raiders are looking to live up to the hype and get revenge for the last few years.
“We are so hungry because we know we have all the talent to get us back there,” Stachowicz said. “We mesh well together — we all like each other and have a great time.”
“Regionals is nothing to be ashamed of but we want to get back to that point,” Feren said. “We know we can do it, I think that is the most frustrating part of it is we should be doing it and we are ready.”