The record of the Canal Winchester High School baseball team has never dropped below .500 this season, but the Indians often hovered just above that number.

The record of the Canal Winchester High School baseball team has never dropped below .500 this season, but the Indians often hovered just above that number.

After six games the Indians were 3-3, after 11 games they were 6-5 and after 22 games they were 12-10.

But the Indians have gone 7-2 in their last nine, including a 5-3 decision over Licking Valley in a Division II district final May 21 at Grove City that gave Canal Winchester its first district championship since 1991.

"It feels great to be a district champion," pitcher Drew Dosch said. "Coach has been telling us that we haven't had many of those lately and we wanted to prove we could play with the big boys. We struggled at times during the season but we showed that when it comes down to it, we can play with anybody."

Canal Winchester plays Cambridge 5 p.m. today in a Division II regional semifinal at Gant Municipal Stadium in Zanesville. The winner plays in a regional final Friday against Circleville or Steubenville.

The game against Licking Valley did not start out so great for the Indians. The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when second baseman Nathan Bryana singled with two outs to drive in Adam Bennett.

Canal Winchester was held to one hit until the fourth inning. Dosch drew a walk with one out, then stole second. With two outs, Tyler Steube doubled to center field, scoring Dosch and tying the game. Matt Romanowski followed with a double, scoring Steube to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.

The runs continued in the next inning, with singles by Dosch, White and Steube scoring Joey Butler, Mike Romanowski and Dosch. The three runs came with two outs and gave the Indians a 5-1 lead entering the sixth.

The Panthers scored once in the sixth and another in the seventh, but were unable to come up with the clutch hits needed to tie the game or take a lead.

Steube was 3-for-3 with two RBI and Dosch was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base.

"I was proud of our kids. Things just seemed to go our way," coach Jason Vest said. "Our kids made some nice defensive plays. Their pitcher kept us off balance early, but our kids kept battling and found some openings and capitalized on them."

"We had everything going well for us early," Licking Valley coach Rick Houston said. "We turned a beautiful double play, things were clicking and we scored an early run. Things were looking good and I was pretty pleased with the way we came out, but we just needed a little more offensive punch in the end and we didn't have it."

Dosch started on the mound despite not starting in a game the previous two weeks. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits to get the win. White, who started May 20 in the Indians' 6-2 semifinal win over Granville, relieved and got out of jams in the sixth and seventh to help preserve the win.

"Drew was great," Vest said. "We talked to him earlier in the week and he said he wanted the ball. We gave it to him and he had a chance to let the game get away from him but he battled through it."

To advance to the district championship game, Canal Winchester had to get past Granville. The Indians got three runs in the first then cruised behind White, who pitched a complete game allowing two runs on eight hits and striking out five.

Cambridge enters today's game at 20-8. Circleville is 22-7 before playing Steubenville, which is 21-6.

The Indians were swept in the regular season by Circleville 5-2 on April 15 and 1-0 on April 28.

"We've been practicing hard and we'll be prepared and ready to play in the regional," Dosch said.