The Strasburg-Franklin High School softball team is set to make the program’s 13th Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournament appearance and fourth consecutive trip to Akron on Thursday when the Tigers play the Convoy Crestview Knights in a Division IV semifinal contest.
Strasburg-Franklin (25-4) is the reigning Division IV state champion and was ranked No. 1 in the final coaches poll of the 2012 season.
The Tigers recorded postseason wins against Garaway (7-5), Malvern (14-0), Hannibal River (6-1), Tuscarawas Central Catholic (7-3) and Crooksville (2-1) to earn a return trip to Summit County and the right to defend their state title.
First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m. at Firestone Stadium. The winner will play either Covington or Vienna Mathews in the state championship game on Saturday at 10 a.m.
WKYC’s HighSchoolSports.net: What has been your team’s motto this season?
Strasburg-Franklin softball coach Bud Weisgarber: Our motto the past few years has been based on the family concept.
WKYC: What are three adjectives that describe your team and/or its play this season?
Weisgarber: Inexperienced, hard-working [and] maturing.
WKYC: What has been your team’s greatest strength this season?
Weisgarber: The way they have stuck together through good and bad.
WKYC: What has been your team’s biggest weakness this season?
Weisgarber: [Its] youthfulness in key positions.
WKYC: What has been the high point of your team’s season thus far?
Weisgarber: Making it back to state for the fourth year in a row.
WKYC: What was the low point of your team’s season? What did your team learn from the experience?
Weisgarber: Losing to a team not as good as ourselves. [We learned to always] respect [our] opponent and stay focused.
WKYC: Who are your team’s leaders? What do they bring to the team?
Weisgarber: Seniors Kylie Flickinger and Nicki Cregan. [They have] good stats [and are] good leaders, [but] are better kids.
WKYC: Who is your team’s unsung hero(s)? Why?
Weisgarber: Karly DiBacco doesn’t get a lot of recognition [and] doesn’t play a glamorous position, but she is the best player on our team.
WKYC: What must happen for your team to continue its deep postseason run?
Weisgarber: Stay focused and together as a team.
WKYC: What was your message to your team after its regional final win?
Weisgarber: Our job is not done yet; stay focused.
WKYC: When the season is long over, what will you remember most about this year’s squad?
Weisgarber: The overall growth of this bunch; no one expected this team to make it this far. It’s just been a wonderful ride watching them mature and grow as a family.
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