MASON – Clinton-Massie stung the Monroe Hornets with home runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to win 4-0 and advance to its second Region 8 championship final in as many years.
The Falcons (26-4) will face Hebron Lakewood (21-3), Division II state champions in 2016 and 2017 and runner-up in 2015, at noon Saturday at Mason High School.
“Lakewood is good. I watched them a little bit before our game. They have some girls who can hit,” CM head coach Anthony Lauer said. “But we’ve played some teams that can hit. We’ve shut down some teams that can hit. I play a very strong non-league schedule that prepares us for this next game that’s coming up.
“Fortunate for us, we’ve been in this environment, not at the state level like Lakewood has, but I think playing in the regional our third straight year, the second straight year in the regional final, that will allow us to play a little bit more comfortable against a team like Lakewood.”
Lauer said he figured it wouldn’t be a high-scoring affair versus Monroe (19-4), which Massie beat in a 2017 district semifinal, that three or four runs is probably what it would take to win.
He admitted to a little frustration when his Falcons managed just two hits through the first three and two-thirds innings.
“We didn’t hit the ball well. We struggled early on, but I’ve got senior leadership on the mound, I’ve got senior leadership at the plate,” Lauer said. “I had two seniors hit home runs. One of my juniors hit a home run.
“My girls who have been here understand what it takes to move on to the regional finals.”
He was able to exhale a little bit when senior Hailey Clayborn’s two-out solo shot cleared the fence to put CM on the board. And then he was able to let out a huge sigh of relief an inning later when junior Victoria Sivert drove a 2-2, one-out pitch over the fence to put the Falcons up 3-0.
“Oh my gosh. When that cleared the fence, that’s probably when I first thought, ‘We’re OK. We’re going to be fine,’” Lauer said. “We’ve been playing great defense. Taylor (Florea) has been pitching great. As long as we keep our focus, we were going to be good.”
Alexis Doan put the nail in the coffin an inning after that with a solo shot.
“When my other senior (Doan) hit that bomb that cleared by about 25 feet, I knew we were good at that point,” Lauer said.
Florea got the win in the circle for Massie; she has given up just one run in four tournament games. She worked out of jams in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings when Monroe runners reached scoring position.
May 22 2019
Region 8 Semifinal
@Mason High School
Clinton-Massie 4 Monroe 0
(4) CLINTON-MASSIE (ab-r-h-rbi) Carter 3-1-0-0 Sivert 3-1-1-2 Lay 4-0-1-0 Anderson 4-0-0-0 Drake 2-0-0-0 Doss 1-0-0-0 Doan 3-1-1-1 Clayborn 3-1-1-1 Hickey 3-0-1-0 Florea 3-0-1-0
HR: Clayborn, Sivert, Doan
Florea (W, 18-3)^7^3^0^0^2^7
HBP: By Florea 2
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.