Friday, May 24
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    MENTOR—Milana McCaleb’s sixth-inning bases-loaded triple propelled No. 8 Riverside to a 6-2 win over No. 4 North Canton Hoover in a Division I district championship game at Mentor High School on Wednesday.

    With the win, the Beavers improved to 19-9 overall and will make their first appearance in the regional tournament since 2007, when ironically, they lost to Hoover, 6-0.

    “I’m so proud of this group and what they’ve done,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “They’ve battled all year. We’ve had our ups and downs and some growing pains. But it’s been worth it. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

    The Beavers certainly have had their ups and downs this spring.

    They returned from their spring trip with a 4-4 record and at one point, lost five straight games capped by a 4-1 loss at Hoover on April 20.

    Since then, the Beavers have reeled off 11 straight victories and have outscored their opponents 119-18 during that stretch.

    “We were kind of going through the gauntlet then,” Ross said. “I think we were feeling the loss to Fitch, Walsh Jesuit, and the walk-off loss to Mentor. Every season has its ups and downs, and that was definitely our down. We went on a 10-game winning streak after that loss. We are definitely a different team today.”

    Riverside may have taken exception to drawing the No. 8 seed in the postseason, inspiring the Beavers to start fast against the Vikings.

    Clara Granchi drew a leadoff walk in the top of the first and stole second and third. McCaleb also walked and Granchi scored on Maddi Proud’s groundout.

    That 1-0 lead was in jeopardy in the bottom of the first as the Vikings hit back-to-back two-out singles and drew a walk to load the bases.

    Granchi struck out the next batter to end that threat, but she was in constant jeopardy throughout the game thanks to Hoover’s potent lineup.

    Hoover started the second inning with a double before Granchi retired the next three batters to preserve the Beavers’ 1-0 lead.

    The Vikings took the lead in the third.

    A leadoff single was followed by a strikeout and a single before Granchi recorded the second out of the inning. Back-to-back singles gave the Vikings a 2-1 lead after three innings.

    Riverside tied the game in the fifth when Becca Tornow drew a leadoff walk, Granchi singled, and McCaleb walked to load the bases. Proud delivered a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 2-2.

    The Beavers broke the game open in the sixth.

    Emma Wilhelm singled with one out and Tornow singled with two down. Granchi’s single loaded the bases for McCaleb, one of the area’s top bunters.

    Hoover’s scouting report identified McCaleb’s speed and bunting prowess, prompting the Vikings to draw in their defense.

    With a 2-2 count, McCaleb barreled up the pitch and sent a lofting fly ball over the head of the center fielder allowing all three runners to score.

    “Everybody thinks she’s going to bunt, bunt, bunt,” Ross said. “And she does plenty of it, don’t get me wrong, but when she needs to, she can hit. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

    McCaleb, who finished the game 2-for-2 with a run scored and three RBI, scored on a passed ball.

    “It felt so good,” she said. “We’ve been waiting for this moment all season. We wanted to take it as far as we could, and I think we did fantastic today. I don’t get to swing that much so I knew I definitely had to hit it hard somewhere. She was hammering it down, so I just had to foul it off until I got that perfect pitch down the middle.”

    Hoover didn’t go quietly.

    The Vikings had a runner on base in the sixth inning and led off the seventh with a double but a heads-up play by Proud at shortstop took the wind out of the Vikings’ sails.

    Proud made a diving catch of a looping popup right in front of second base. After catching the ball, she tagged the base with her glove to double up the runner and then threw out the next batter at first base to clinch Riverside’s win.

    “When it’s up the middle, I know I’m going to try my hardest to get it,” Proud said. “I had confidence in myself and, like coach said before the game, don’t play nervous. I did it for my team.”

    Granchi finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and she also went the distance in the circle. She allowed two runs on 11 hits and struck out four.

    “I was just not letting it get to me and focused on hitting my spots,” Granchi said of the traffic on the base paths. “The defense was on fire today. Knowing they had my back was amazing.”

    Annaliese Davis, Wilhelm, and Tornow also had hits for the Beavers, who will play the winner of the district championship game between No. 2 Walsh Jesuit and No. 16 Uniontown Lake on May 22 at Youngstown State University.

    The Walsh Jesuit-Lake game was postponed on Wednesday due to inclement weather.




    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, 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, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the 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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