Russia High School is one victory away from its fourth state final four berth in baseball after beating Southeastern 6-2 loss in a Division IV regional semifinal Thursday at Princeton High School in Cincinnati.
Southeastern, which finished the season with a record of 19-8, was playing in the regional tournament for the first time since 2012.
The Trojans had a 2-0 lead through three innings but gave up six runs in the fourth.
Sam Smith went 2-for-2 for Southeastern and drove in both runs. Smith’s single in the first scored Gehrig Cordial, who reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a passsed ball. In the third, Smith singled again to score Gehrig, who was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Russia (22-6) took control with three straight singles followed by a RBI double by Aiden Shappie, tying the score in the fourth. After a strikeout, there was a double by Jared Poling, a walk and a single by Brayden Monnin. Two runs scored on the final hit of the inning as Russia took a 6-2 lead.
Grant Saunders, the Shelby County Athletic Conference Player of the Year, pitched a complete game for Russia, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out 10. He also went 2-for-4. Monnin went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Russia, which lost 7-1 to Fort Loramie in the regional final last season, will play Fort Loramie or Lancaster Fairfield Christian Academy in the regional final at 5 p.m. Friday at Princeton. Those teams played in the second regional semifinal Thursday.
The regional champion will play in the state semifinals at 10 a.m. June 9 at Canal Park in Akron.
Russia lost 2-1 to Minster in the state championship game when it last reached the final four in 2017. It also advanced to the final game in 1975. It won the state championship in 1971.