Megan Turocy had nine strikeouts and Carolyn Ross scored the only run.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- No more misery. No more pain. Against Poland, it was finally Canfield's day.
A 1-0 victory against Poland has the Canfield High softball team believing again.
The Cardinals hadn't beaten their Metro Athletic Conference rival since the 2000 season, but it finally happened Thursday.
"It becomes a mental thing," Canfield coach Fred Mayhew said. "There's no question in my mind that we're, at least, equal to their talent.
"But they've always held the mental edge," Mayhew added. "Hopefully, that edge is disappearing."
Poland (8-2, 5-1) won its first five MAC games of the season, including a victory Wednesday against Howland, to put it atop the conference standings.
Then, on a cool, windy day, Canfield (10-1, 6-1) dethroned the Bulldogs, taking over first place by a half-game.
"We'd love to keep that mental edge," Poland coach Reid Lamport said. "You want people thinking that it's going to take a perfect game to beat Poland. Once you let a team beat you, then they're going to get confidence."
It took a solid performance from senior pitcher Megan Turocy (7-1) and two Poland errors in the bottom of the sixth inning, which led to Carolyn Ross scoring the game's only run, for the Cardinals to capture their victory.
"I can't even remember beating Poland," Turocy said. "That's why it makes this win that much better.
"[Coach] said you can't treat it like the championship," Turocy added, "but it's up there."
Poland had six hits off Turocy, but the senior toughened with runners on base. The Bulldogs put runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings, but Turocy ended both threats with strikeouts. She finished with nine.
"We can't strike out that many times against anybody and still expect to score runs," said Lamport, bothered more by his team's lack of offense than its two errors. "You've got to move runners."
Poland's best chance came with consecutive singles to lead off the fourth inning, but a baserunner was picked off between second and third. Turocy's two ensuing strikeouts ended the inning.
"In a game like this, every pitch -- not just every out -- is magnified," Lamport said.
Lost in Poland's defeat was the effort of senior pitcher Jessica Lamport, who kept the Cardinals hitless until the decisive sixth inning. Whitney Zunic's single was the only hit Lamport (6-1) allowed.
"Our biggest thing was trying to hit Jessica Lamport. She's a great pitcher," Turocy said. "After the first strike, she throws nothing but [off-speed pitches]. She has an amazing changeup. We don't react well to that."
Poland and Canfield will play again May 7 in Poland. It could end up being for the MAC championship.
"We still hold the future in our hands," Reid Lamport said. "We win out, we win the league. We don't have to rely on anybody else. We still have the opportunity to win the MAC, and that's our first goal every year."