County teams set for regional

Trumbull County traditionally does better at the regional and state level of high school athletics during the spring season, and that proved to be the case again in the 2016-17 school year.

County athletes have been consistently outstanding performers in softball and track and field, and this season a couple of county baseball teams join the fun at the regional level.

That’s not to say Trumbull County baseball teams have been struggling in the past. It’s just that they keep running into that one opponent — usually in district championship games — that kept them at home during the Sweet 16 portion of the state tournament.

Congratulations to district champions John F. Kennedy and Champion in baseball and Mathews and Champion in softball. In addition, Canfield has advanced to the regional in both baseball and softball, and Western Reserve advanced in baseball.

Also, Lakeview and McDonald both swept (boys and girls) district titles in track and field and headline a large contingent of county athletes headed to this week’s regional meets.

At the regional level in baseball and softball, it’s always difficult to assess how a team will do. Most of the time local teams are facing opponents they know very little about, and obviously, all of the opponents are good teams or they wouldn’t be in the regional.

The Champion and Mathews softball teams have plenty of experience playing at the regional level. The Mustangs played in a regional title game in 2015, the same year the Golden Flashes last won a state championship.

This year Champion will face a more familiar opponent — Cardinal Mooney — in the Division III regional semifinals at Massillon. Elyria Catholic and Massillon Tuslaw play in the other semifinal.

Mathews will play St. Thomas Aquinas in the Division IV semifinal round at Kent State. Lucas and Jeromesville Hillsdale are the other semifinalists.

All softball semifinals around the state are scheduled Wednesday and all regional championship games are scheduled Saturday at noon.

John F. Kennedy faces New Riegel in a Division IV baseball regional semifinal at the Pipe Yard in Lorain. Western Reserve’s Blue Devils will play Dalton in the other semifinal.

All baseball regional semifinals are Thursday and the finals are Friday throughout the state.

Champion’s baseball Flashes will go against Lutheran West in the semifinal round at Massillon. Crestview, from Columbiana County, and Doylestown Chippewa are in the other semifinal.

Track and field, of course, is more of an individual sport in which a team’s individual results are summed to determine the team’s result. At the district level, depth is important to how well a team does.

As the process moves on to the regional and state levels, excellence from a smaller number of athletes is more important to a team’s success. Whether or not any of the Trumbull County teams has a chance to succeed as a team is difficult to tell.

But judging by results this season, the county again will have more than a handful of individuals who will perform well enough this week to be in action the first weekend of June in Columbus.