MENTOR, Ohio - This has been the year of the Mentor Cardinals. The Lake County school set a school record with 10 district championships during the current school sports season.
The 10th district title came from the softball team, which is preparing for its first trip to the state softball semifinals in the school's history.
"In my wildest dreams I never though this would happen this year," head coach Emily Strobel said about this historic run.
The Mentor softball season was not without adversity. Strobel, who is in her first season as head coach, was hit in the head with a bat while standing near the batting cage back in April. She was just recently medically cleared to coach and teach again at the school.
Strobel makes light of the situation saying it took "three moms and two players" to convince her she was not OK. Strobel, who played for Mentor back in 2004-2007, suffered some internal bleeding and memory loss during her recovery.
In Strobel's absence, assistant coach Kate Adoryan ran the team with another assistant and led the team to a 20-win season and a trip to the state semifinals.
"We knew the team was going to be good this season and this is just so awesome for the girls being the first time to the states," Adoryan said.
Mentor will face unbeaten and top-ranked defending state champion North Canton Hoover on Thursday morning at Firestone Stadium in Akron, with the winner advancing to Saturday's state championship game.
Strobel is confident her team will give the Vikings everything they have.
"It will be a great game. I am very proud of what our girls have overcome to get to this point in the season," she said.