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    Riverside was clutch in defeating visiting Massillon Perry in a Division I sectional championship game on Wednesday, 4-0.

    Clara Granchi allowed just two hits in her complete game shutout and the Beavers made the most of their early scoring opportunities and then rode Granchi’s arm to the finish line.

    “I was happy for them,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross of the Beavers. “I think the best part was we played great defense. We got enough runs to do that with Clara pitching. She didn’t have big strikeout numbers today, but she was hitting her spots, and the defense really backed her up today.”

    Riverside scored two runs in both the first and second innings.

    Granchi tripled to start the first-inning rally and she scored on Milan McCaleb’s infield single.

    “Lani put a great bunt down,” Ross said. “They had no chance to get her.”

    McCaleb, who advanced to second on a throwing error, scored on Maddi Proud’s first of two RBI singles.

    Riverside’s defense stepped up to keep the Panthers off the board in the second.

    After Granchi issued a one-out walk, Annaliese Davis made a running catch in left field and threw out the runner headed back to first.

    “It was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen,” Ross said. “We were kind of playing in because the wind was so strong, but this girl blasts one out to our fence, and Annaliese is running on a dead sprint to the fence, and she catches the ball over her back and extended. Everyone in the house thought it was a standup double and maybe a triple. The girl from first was already on her way to third when she caught it. She popped right up and threw it to the shortstop, who threw it back to first for the double play.”

    Davis read the ball off the bat and that helped her to get a jump on the ball.

    “I knew when she hit the ball that it was over my head, so I ran back towards the fence,” she said. “I tracked the ball all the way in and didn’t give up on trying to make the catch. I think me being so determined was a big part in making the catch. When I caught it, I didn’t hesitate to get the ball in and that really helped with throwing the runner out.”

    The Beavers added two more runs in the second.

    Granchi singled with two outs and McCaleb recorded her second bunt single of the game to put runners at first and third.

    Proud then singled to right field, allowing both runners to score.

    “It really means a lot to me to be able to come through in moments like that,” said Proud, who went 2-for-3 and knocked in three of Riverside’s four runs. “Knowing my team is behind me helps a lot as well. This is a great group of girls, and we play really well together, which gives me extra confidence.”

    Proud knew what was at stake when she stepped into the batter’s box with runners on base.

    “Trusting my ability to put the ball in play,” she said of her mindset in the box. “The coaches help a lot in preparing us for situations like that.”

    Granchi allowed just one baserunner through the final five innings to seal Riverside’s win.

    “She did a great job of hitting her spots,” Ross said. “We were mixing up inside and outside pitches and she definitely changed speeds up, and our defense backed her up.

    Granchi struck out three batters and she also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple and two runs scored.

    McCaleb recorded two hits, scored two runs, and added an RBI.

    The No. 8 Beavers advanced to play No. 3 Louisville in a district semifinal at Mentor High School on Monday at 5:00 p.m.

    “It’s always a good feeling coming out strong with a win, especially in the playoffs,” Proud said. “Continuing to stay focused, but also having fun, I think is a recipe for success in this game.”

     

     

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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