Mason’s Liz Hillen couldn’t shake a case of the nerves preceding her second at-bat in a scoreless Division I regional championship game against Lebanon at Northmont High.
The Comets were down to their final out in the top of the fourth inning when Hillen approached the plate.
“Senior Sami Parave grabbed me by the shoulders and said, ‘Liz, you can do this. I know you can.’ I just went up there and felt it right off the bat,” Hillen said.
The junior pounded a rise ball over the fence in left field for a solo home run that proved to be the game-winner in Mason’s 1-0 thriller victory over the Warriors Saturday afternoon.
Buoyed by stellar defense, the Comets (23-7) ended Lebanon’s season (26-3) and clinched a state semifinal berth for the first time since 2008. Mason faces Elyria in Thursday’s 12:30 p.m. semifinal at Akron’s Firestone Stadium.
The Comets burst into celebration after the final out against the Warriors. Pitcher Tory Stewart jumped into the arms of catcher Megan Warren as other Comets players hugged, cheered and wept.
“I’m so proud of this team and love every single person. We have the best chemistry, and I feel like it showed today,” Stewart said. “Words cannot describe how happy I am right now.”