AKRON, OH- Wednesday’s District 2 Regional Semi-final game between Field and Poland provided all the theatrics you would ever need. The Poland Lady Bulldogs trailed 5-1 heading into their last turn at the bat rack. However, there was a feeling of confidence and calmness that was apparent on the Lady Bulldogs.
Emily Denney sparked the startup with an infield single, followed by a line drive to left field by Brooke Bobby that put runners at first and second with no outs. Ashley Wire drove a ball the opposite way toward left field, but Kubitza made an outstanding over the shoulder catch to retire the Poland Ace- but not without some production. Denney would utilize her speed and tag from second to third, putting Bulldogs on the corners with one away. Next up was Cami Lattanzio who singled to right to drive in the run, making things 5-2, and bringing the tying run to the plate in Ally Nittoli. Nittoli would work the count to 2-2 before driving the softball to left and making the game 5-3 when Bobby scored.
Things were about to get very interesting.
Connie Cougras would be utilized as a pinch-runner for Nittoli, and Lauren Sienkewicz would produce a ground-out RBI to third to score Lattanzio making the game 5-4, but Poland would be down to their final breath. It would all come down to Jackie Grisdale to keep the season alive. The multi-sport athlete stepped in and worked the count full before driving a routine pop-up to right which seemingly would end the season.
But it didn’t.
The right fielder took two steps before her feet became tangled and fell down reaching for the ball at the same time. The softball carried off the glove of Ruscitti toward the outfield fence, and Grisdale going back to her fundamentals was running the entire time, winding up at third base and a new ballgame was upon the crowd at Firestone Stadium tied at 5 runs. That brought up Abby Farber who swung at the first pitch and flared the ball toward shortstop, McKenna Voiers for what should have been a routine catch to end the inning.
But it wasn’t.
Voiers tracked the ball, and as the softball knuckled its way toward her somehow knocked off the leather of the glove and fell to the dirt, Grisdale scores from third, Poland has the lead 6-5.
With the lead for the first time all day, Wire and the defense came out to attempt to close the door. Field had the top of their lineup due up in the bottom of the seventh, which is exactly where they wanted to be. Weis came up and dropped down the perfect bunt toward Emily Denney at third, who had no play to first with Weis’ speed. Next came Alexsa Hurd, the opposing pitcher, who singled on the infield which turned up the heat on the Lady Bulldogs who once again remained calm. Voiers would approach the plate looking for redemption but would wind up striking out shifting some momentum back toward the Poland side of the field. Emily Eckhart would follow by flying out to Jackie Grisdale in right, which allowed Weis to tag from second to third with two down. That would bring up Maria Sziva who would waste no time going after the Ashley Wire outside pitch, Sziva (a slap hitter) pulled the ball toward second where Abby Farber fielded and tossed the softball over to Cougras to send Poland to the Regional Finals.
Wire would get the win in the circle going all seven innings, walking four and fanning three.
Alexsa Hurd would bear the loss for Field, striking out six, and walking three. Only one of the runs were classified as earned against her.
Offensively, leading the way was Emily Denney for the Lady Dogs. Denney went 2-3 with two runs on the day, sparking both innings that Poland scored runs. Cami Lattanzio, Ally Nittoli, and Lauren Sienkiewicz each had RBI’s.
The Lady Bulldogs will gear up to play Crestwood in the Regional Finals Saturday at Noon. YSN will be on-hand for the game and will have you covered.