Canton and Salisbury compete in the Class 1 softball semifinals Friday. Canton returns to the state semifinals for the first time since finishing second to Salisbury in 2019. The Lady Tigers are riding a 15-game winning streak coming into their semifinal with Marion C. Early. Their trip to state has been highlighted by back-to-back run-rule wins over La Plata and Braymer. Canton coach Kristyn Arens says they’re getting contributions throughout their lineup.
Canton’s lone seniors, Nariah Clay and Madison Gorrell were members of Canton’s last Final Four team in 2019. Arens played for Canton’s first-ever team to reach the Final Four in 2008. She says the community support has grown through the years.
The Lady Tigers’ lone state title came in a 6-1 win over Pilot Grove in 2017. They face a Marion C. Early program that is making its first Final Four appearance since finishing fourth in 2008. MCE won state titles in 1988 and 1992. They’re led by Haily Presley who has a .574 batting average while also striking out 252 batters over 175 innings pitched this season. Head coach Mike McHolland says they’ve benefitted from a tough non-conference schedule.
Salisbury has reached its fourth Final Four in five years after an up-and-down regular season. Coach Nate King…
The 16-10 Lady Panthers have defeated Paris, Cairo, Silex and New Franklin in the postseason and will next be tasked with #1 state ranked Polo.
Polo is 25-0 and in its first Final Four in program history. Hanna Vaught enters with a 0.44 ERA and is averaging two strikeouts per inning. Senior Chloe Gilbert is batting .532 and has 13 home runs. Coach Becky Ross says each player has embraced their own role.
You can hear Canton vs Marion C. Early on KRES and Salisbury vs Polo on KIRK with pregame for both starting around 1:15. Colin Schowe and Austin Ward will have the calls.