Albert Grindle and Rick Noland
NORTON — One team is not overlooking anything, while the other is zeroed in on revenge.
The Medina and Brunswick softball teams know each other well, having played twice in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division play.
The stakes will be much higher today at 4:30 p.m. when they battle for the Barberton Division I District championship at the Barberton Sports Complex.
“We’ve very excited,” said Bees junior first baseman Madi Tata, a .477 hitter this season and All-Gazette selection as a sophomore. “They’re a very good team. We’ve seen them twice already this year, and it’s going to be a really good game.”
Top-seeded Medina (21-7), the defending district champion and state semifinalist, reached this stage by defeating one of Northeast Ohio’s darlings, No. 4 seed Barberton, behind a five-run second inning and stout defense.
Fifth-seeded Brunswick (16-11) washed away Cloverleaf 7-3 while overcoming a shaky defense that allowed three unearned runs in the third inning.
The Bees won the Valley Division meetings 10-1 and 9-4 during the regular season, taking down Blue Devils sophomore Syd Sherry each time.
Sherry (7-9), who got the win in relief against Cloverleaf and is expected to start today, made it clear she’s pumped for a rare third chance.
“I’m going to come with everything I have,” she said. “We need to play as a team and keep our heads up and give it everything we’ve got.
“We have everything it takes to beat them.”
Medina is led by Kent State recruit Vanessa Scoarste (.398, team-high 27 RBIs), Tata, freshman Jessie Holzman (.450, 37 R, 11 SB) and pitcher Megan Paradise (18-5, 1.86 ERA), who picked up the win in both Valley meetings with the Blue Devils.
Brunswick, which is looking for its first regional appearance in three years, counters with Jess Calhoun (CF), Erin Calhoun (2B), Sherry, corner infielder Bri Bentler and defensive wiz Paige Salisbury at shortstop.
“We can’t have three errors in one inning (like the Blue Devils did against Cloverleaf), that’s for sure,” said Jess Calhoun, who was 4-for-4 against the Colts and had three hits in the last meeting with Medina. “The way we brought it today (against Cloverleaf) with the batting, we need that, plus a little more intensity.
“We’re the underdog, but we might surprise some people. We’re really determined.”
Contact Albert Grindle and Rick Noland at firstname.lastname@example.org.