Dan Schneider's 200th win as head coach of the Woodridge softball team was extra special.
It was an 8-6 victory over Portage Trail Conference Metro Division rival Streetsboro May 15 at home in an Akron Division II sectional final.
"It took a while -- 19 seasons -- but persistence, I guess, paid off," Schneider said of his team's third triumph over the Rockets this season that gave them a 10-15 overall record.
The fourth-seeded Bulldogs were scheduled to oppose No. 1 seed Revere May 19 in a district semifinal at Firestone Stadium in Akron, but the result was not available at press time.
A win would have advanced Woodridge to the district championship game May 20, also at Firestone Stadium, against the winner of second-seeded Mantua Crestwood and third-seeded Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
Woodridge's regular season concluded May 17 with a 3-0 loss at PTC Metro rival Field in a makeup game that was originally scheduled for April 20.
Against Streetsboro, which was seeded fifth, Woodridge came out on fire. The Bulldogs scored a run in the bottom of the first inning, 2 in the second and 5 in the third for an 8-0 lead.
"They started a pitcher who we hadn't seen this year," said Schneider. "I think that was a confident boost for us in a way. It was a momentum thing for us, too. The hits just kept coming."
On the mound, sophomore Caitlin Raid went the distance and was sailing along but ran into trouble in the fifth inning when Streetsboro scored five runs.
"They were jumping on early pitches and it became a momentum thing for them, too," said the coach. "When they started putting up runs I thought to myself, 'We've got to put the brakes on this thing.' I was getting a little nervous."
Raid settled down and gave up just one more run, in the seventh. She wound up with nine strikeouts and two walks.
"Caitlin is mentally tough," said Schneider. "She's pretty good about righting the ship. She makes adjustments when she needs to. When the going gets tough, she puts her head down and moves ahead."
Raid helped her own cause at the plate, pacing Woodridge's 9-hit attack by rapping 2 doubles, driving in 5 runs and plating 1 herself.
Junior catcher Sage Jenkins had 2 singles and 2 RBIs. Senior outfielder Marissa Horn had a pair of singles and drew a walk.
With a single apiece were junior third baseman Emily Mally, senior outfielder Mary Bates and senior shortstop Mackenzie Mercer. Mally also scored 3 runs and stole 2 bases, Bates scored a run and swiped a bag and Mercer knocked in a run.
Scoring a run and drawing a walk each were sophomore Megan Stanfield, senior Ally Rohrer and junior first baseman Sydney Shaheen. Stanfield also had a stolen base.
In the loss to Field, which gave Woodridge a final 5-9 division record, the Bulldogs mustered just 2 hits, singles by Bates and freshman Madison Randall. Randall also drew a walk.
"We played minus four starters due to injuries and two of our seniors having to attend an event, so it was Madison's first varsity game," said Schneider. "On the junior varsity team she usually plays first base, but we needed her in right field. I give her a ton of credit. We kind of threw her to the wolves and she played well."
Raid went the distance again, striking out 13 batters.
"The game was really a pitchers' duel. Their pitcher also had 13 strikeouts," said Schneider. "Caitlin pitched pretty well. We just didn't have much support for her offensively."
Woodridge didn't give Raid much support defensively either as the Bulldogs committed 5 errors. The Falcons scored a run in the bottom of the third inning and 2 in the sixth.
"All of their runs were unearned," Schneider said. "Part of that was inexperience."