Boardman scored four runs in the sixth inning for a 4-2 victory and a spot in the regional title game.
By KELLY WILLIAMS
AKRON -- With the game on the line, the Boardman High softball team decided they weren't ready for the season to end.
The Spartans trailed by two runs in the sixth inning and it seemed the defending Division I state champions would fall to Massillon Jackson.
But Boardman worked a little of their Spartan magic for a 4-2 win in Thursday's Division I regional semifinal at the University of Akron's Buchtel Field.
Boardman will play Madison in Saturday's regional final at Buchtel Field.
Big sixth inning
Audrey Martinko led off the sixth with a walk, followed by a wild throw on Mary McCabe's bunt which scored Martinko from first.
Jacyln Corroto came up big for the Spartans with an RBI single which allowed McCabe to tie the game at 2.
"We were at the right part of our order having our 3, 4, 5, 6 hitters," said Boardman coach Bill Amero of the rally. "They did the job."
That they did.
Corroto advanced on Gina Rango's sacrifice bunt, and Jennifer Feret connected on a solid single to put the Spartans up by one.
"Jen is one of our high RBI players," Amero said.
"She's the person you want up in that situation."
One batter later, pitcher Jennifer Pancake contributed to the rally with an RBI single.
"We have worked all year long at advancing the runner -- one run at a time, and don't be greedy," said Amero. "We get a runner on and sacrifice hits."
First inning rally
The Polar Bears, with a momentum-building start, managed three first inning hits, and two runs. As five scoreless innings came and went, a little apprehension was injected into all Spartan fans.
But Boardman had nothing but confidence, Pancake said.
"We all knew we were going to come back," she said. "We were hitting her [Jackson pitcher Kelly Weaver] and we had to keep hitting her."
Amero felt the same.
"We hung in there and kept hitting the ball, and as the game went on we were making better and better contact," Amero said. "We're at the point where we want to be. We are expecting good competition every game and feel no more pressure than in years past.
"We are going to make good things happen."
Jackson (22-4) entered as underdogs and was pretty satisfied just to be playing in the regional semifinals.
"We weren't expected to do what we did," said Jackson coach Melissa Moore. "I had a great bunch of kids and couldn't have asked for a better season."