The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Eastwood sophomore second baseman Alissa Ray does the same thing every time she steps up to the plate.

The left-handed Ray uses her foot to flick the dirt on the line in the left-handed batter’s box. She then uses her bat to reach across the plate to flick the dirt in the right-handed batter’s box. She said she does this routine because she knows she can hit an outside pitch if she can reach over the plate and touch the far white line.

“It’s like I have to do this or I’m not going to hit the ball,” Ray said. “I’ve probably been doing it since I was 12. My U-10 (travel) coach told me to do that so we could hit the outside pitch. It’s just a habit now more than anything.”

Ray is the top hitter for the 10th-ranked Eagles (28-3), who beat seventh-ranked Colonel Crawford, 12-3, on Wednesday in a Division III regional semifinal in Findlay. Eastwood played Saturday against fourth-ranked Cardington-Lincoln (24-4) in the regional finals.

When two of the top Division IV softball programs in the state meet in a regional semifinal, you know the winner is on its way to going places.

No. 1 ranked Gibsonburg took down defending state champion Convoy Crestview, 4-3, at Findlay’s Marathon Diamonds Wednesday, giving the 25-0 Golden Bears another feather in the hat on their way to a hopeful state tournament final four bid.

Crestview was down during the regular season this year — they came into the game 14-11 and did not even win the Northwest Conference. Still, the Knights gave Gibsonburg their only one-run game of the season. The Bears’ only two-run win was over Ottawa Hills, 2-0.

“I believe the girls did feel a little pressure when the score got to be 4-3, but it does them good. It shows me what they can do under a little bit of pressure, and I think they’ve proved themselves to be a very good team,” Gibsonburg coach Marty Brown said.

For a school long known for football and track and field prowess, Eastwood might soon be adding baseball to its list of elite sports. 

Maybe even softball, because the baseball and softball team are both closing in on state tournament appearances by playing in regional final games Saturday, and the boys track team is dominating district and regional meets. The girls track team is not doing so badly, either. For baseball, the Eagles are charting new territory.

For the second year in a row, Eastwood baseball had to endure some tense moments to win a district championship while establishing themselves as a force in the Northern Buckeye Conference. This year, Eastwood has got one step further, advancing to within one game of the Division III state final four following its 5-4 come-from-behind win over Archbold in the regional semifinals, making the Eagles only the second team in the program's history to advance to the Elite Eight. The other team to do so was in 1989.

High drama baseball has become the norm for Eastwood as the victory over the Blue Streaks followed a 2-1 win against Lake in the district finals, a 2-1 triumph over Rossford and a 5-0 win over Oak Harbor.

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