SOFTBALL Poland loses, but gets second chance today
Wheelersburg won 3-0. The rematch is today at 6 p.m. in Tallmadge.
By JOHN BUTERA
TALLMADGE -- Not often in sports are you given a second chance.
But for the 11-12-year-old Poland Little League softball team, that's the case.
After Thursday's 3-0 loss to Wheelersburg, Poland gets another chance today to capture a state championship. Game time at Maga Park is set for 6 p.m.
The locals showed little threat at the plate despite getting some good defense and a well-pitched game from its ace, Jenna Susany, who had previously pitched two no-hitters to help Poland advance to the state finale.
"I didn't really think we played that badly, Poland manager Mark Naples said. "We just couldn't get the bats going."
Scoring early: Tallmadge's offense wasted little time getting started. Brittney Warner led off the first inning with a walk, stole second and went to third on a delayed steal. She scored on a passed ball.
The Pirates scored again in the third when winning pitcher Brittney Meenoch led off with a triple which rolled to the 200-foot mark in right-center field.
Taylon Floyd bunted, and Poland trapped Meenoch in a run down. But Meenoch beat the throw to home in a close play and Poland fell behind 2-0.
The game's final run came when Floyd scored on a groundout to second.
Poland's best chance to score came in the top of the fourth inning when Susany walked and stole second base. Dayna Blangero hit a one-out single and stole second, putting runners at second and third.
Floyd, who struck out eight batters, settled down to stop the rally.
Poland's Ciera Urchich, who was batting .650 in the tournament, didn't play because of sprained ankle.
Susany scattered five hits and struck out four.
Slumbering bats: Between bites of a baseball cookie, she said, "We usually get down, but are able to get back up most of the time. We didn't do it this time and we'll have to hit better [today]."
Susany will probably play at shortstop today, as tournament rules prevent her from pitching in consecutive games.
"We'll warm up a couple of different pitchers for today's game and whoever hits the glove the best will get the start," Naples said.
Poland got an outstanding defensive gem from Jessica McBride, wo thwarted a possible rally with a nice catch in right field.
Poland managed just three hits -- a double and single by Susany and a single by Blangero.
For the most part, Floyd had her way as just one of the final nine Poland batters reached base.