Kent Roosevelt nearly upset regional-bound Boardman.
By JOHN BUTERA
BOARDMAN -- The "Thrill a Minute" Boardman High School softball team pulled off an extra-inning win Tuesday at the Field of Dreams, turning back Kent Roosevelt 5-4.
The 10-inning victory advances the Spartans into next week's Division I regional in Akron where Boardman hopes to come up with a repeat of last year's effort that sent it to the state final.
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Boardman's Jennifer Pancake was walked. Melanie Lodyn, running for Pancake, was advanced to second, setting the stage for Audrey Martinko's game-winning single.
Game-winner: Martinko, who earlier in the game had a walk, a triple and a run-producing single, punched the game-winner down the right-field line to score Lodyn and set off the celebration.
"I knew my team was counting on me," said Martinko, "and I wanted to pull through for them.
"I was confident, but I knew their defense was strong all day. Right now, I have a lot of faith in the way we're playing and I think we could go all the way."
Using four singles, which if placed together wouldn't have equaled 100 feet, Boardman added three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take what looked like a safe 4-0 lead.
To that point, Spartans ace starter Melissa Bartholomew was having little trouble.
Kent Roosevelt, however, wouldn't quit and, using a key double from Meghan Sandor, the visitors scored three runs in the sixth inning.
Down to their last out, Sarah Durkalski solved Bartholomew for a clean single up the middle scoring Brandi Beeman, who had reached on an error.
Bartholomew, who was replaced by Pancake in the eighth inning, said, "I could have continued, but I think I lost my cool in the excitement of the game."
"We played nine innings of 10 today," said Boardman coach Bill Amero, "and I don't need any more gray hairs.
"We made a couple of poor choices, defensively, and I give Kent credit -- they were down 4-0 and they came back."
Need more work: "Right now we are going to play Ursuline [today] in our last regular season game and I'd like to find another game before next Thursday so I can get Marissa and Pancake some work."
Boardman could have put the game away in the sixth when Martinko came up with a one-out triple.
A heads-up play from Kent pitcher Kelly Barabas ended the rally as Mary McCabe hit a sharp liner back to Barabas. The ball bounced off of her thigh to the second baseman, who fired to the first baseman who threw the ball to third to double-up Martinko.