Nevaeh Clark

Galion's Nevaeh Clark connects for a three-run home run in the first inning of Thursday's Division III district championship game against Bucyrus at Lexington High School.

LEXINGTON — Galion’s Slam Sisters were at it again Thursday afternoon.

Nevaeh Clark and Kate Schieber each belted a pair of home runs and the Tigers won their second Division III district championship in as many seasons with a resounding 14-3 win over Bucyrus in the Lexington district finals at wind-swept Lexington High School.

Galion (20-4) hit a season-high five homers on the day — leadoff hitter Gabby Kaple also got in on the act as well. Clark had a three-run shot in the first and added a two-run homer in the seventh. Schieber launched two-run bombs in the second and third.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” said Schieber, who now has eight home runs on the year. “We’re playing for each other and we’re going to continue to play for each other.”

The Tigers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead before most of the fans had settled into their seats. Kaple led off with a bunt base hit, moved to second when Nicki Thomas reached on a fielder’s choice and Bucyrus throwing error and came home on Clark’s three-run shot.

“We hit really well as a team,” said Clark, who has six homers on the year. “The (three-run homer) brought the energy level really high."

The Tigers scored four more runs in the second. Thomas stroked a one-out single and came all the way around to score when Clark’s single was misplayed in the outfield for a two-base error. Schieber followed with a two run home run and Gracie Groves added a run-scoring single later in the frame.

Gabby Kaple

Galion's Gabby Kaple slides safely into second base as Bucyrus shortstop Alexis Dye and second baseman Alexis Schifer leap for an errant throw during the first inning of Thursday's Division III district championship game at Lexington.

“They played well and we didn’t play well,” Bucyrus coach Jerry Hargis said. “Today we looked like we just started (playing) a week ago. We didn’t look very good.”

The Tigers used the long ball again to score three more runs in the third. Kaple belted a one-out solo shot before Schieber added her second two-run homer in as many innings.

“Our girls came out on fire,” Galion coach Doug Hunt said. “They’ve been hitting the ball hard. All of them are hitting the ball.”

The Tigers added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 12-0 lead. Bucyrus starter Caleigh Rister, who injured the fingers on her pitching hand while sliding into third base in Wednesday’s district semifinal win over Margaretta, was knocked out of the game when she took a line drive off the hand in the fourth. The sophomore right-hander, who had 210 strikeout coming into Thursday’s game, struck out just one and was charged for 11 runs.

The Bucyrus defense did Rister no favors, committing five errors on the afternoon.

“I’ve not pitched Caleigh Rister back-to-back until this ball game and I did that with her bad finger,” Hargis said. “Letting balls roll between our legs, that’s not Caleigh’s fault. That is the team’s fault.”

Bucyrus (18-8) finally got to Galion starter Madelyn Thomas for three runs in the home half of the fifth. Alexis Schifer, Haley Dye and Taisha Spears all drop e in runs in the inning.

Clark put an exclamation point on the day with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh. The shortstop was 3-for-5 with five runs batted in and three runs scored. Schieber was 2-for-5 with four RBIs.

The Tigers will play Sherwood Fairview in the regional semifinals at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Findlay. Fairview beat Patrick Henry 5-4 in the Bath district final.

Galion fell to eventual state runner-up Cardington in last year’s regional semifinals.

“We need to keep the energy high and keep up the communication,” Clark said. “Last year’s experience should help.”

I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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