By Ryan Jones
GREENFORD — After working the count to 3-0 with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Nikka Bonamase looked toward third base to receive the signals from Ursuline coach Michael Kernan.
Truth be told, Bonamase stared so long, she almost burnt a hole through her head coach.
Kernan said he responded by doing something he hadn’t done all year.
“I didn’t give her the sign [to take the 3-0 pitch],” he said. “She [Bonamase] kind of looked at me and I let her swing.”
Trailing 2-0 to Lisbon, Kernan’s decision remedied his team’s stagnant offense.
On the next pitch, Bonamase tripled down the right-field line to score teammates Anna Donko and Sara Marr. The relay throw home ended up between third and home as Bonamase reached the hot corner, and the catcher raced home to score what would turn out to be the winning run.
The Fighting Irish held off Lisbon (22-2) in the final two innings and posted a 3-2 Division III district semifinal win.
Today at 5 p.m. at the Green Beaver complex, Ursuline (20-6) will play Champion (17-5), 7-5 victors over Springfield, in the other semifinal.
Kernan said he’s had a few arguments about 3-0 counts after giving Bonamase the take sign.
This time, he gambled even though he “didn’t think she would get a pitch to hit after the count went 3-0. The pitch was low and outside, but she reached across and hit it.”
Bonamase, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple, said she was glad to be up in a pressure situation with her team trailing.
“No matter what, I was scoring that run,” Bonamase said. “I don’t know if you could hear me, but as I was rounding third I yelled ‘no way’ that I was getting out.”
Lisbon coach Dave Crimson said his team stepped onto the field with every intention of winning.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Crismon said. “In games like this, one miscue or one big hit usually decides it. We couldn’t keep Bonamase off the bases.
“With the count 3-0, we put it low and away, but she reached out and took care of business,” Crismon said. “Give her credit for looking for pitch outside of the strike zone.”
Lisbon (22-2) took a 2-0 lead in the third when McKenzie Lewis singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and reached third on Dana Hipple’s infield hit.
With two outs, Erica Snoddy hit a fly ball to right that resulted in an error and allowed Lewis and Hipple to score.
Casey Lower (18-5) earned the victory on the mound for Ursuline, allowing four hits, two unearned runs and striking out five.
Champion 7, Springfield 5
Champion and Springfield (13-11) each scored five runs in back-to-back innings before the Flashes tacked on a run in the third and fifth innings to earn the triumph.
Springfield’s five-run third became an anomaly for Golden Flashes starting pitcher Morgan White. The sophomore held the Tigers to one hit in the other six innings.
Champion coach Cheryl Weaver said Springfield did a good job staying disciplined at the plate.
“They held off of Morgan’s riseball and didn’t swing at anything over their hands,” Weaver said. “I’m glad we were able to pull this one off.
“The girls pulled through at the plate for us. I told them to move up toward the front of the plate because Springfield’s pitcher had a nice drop,” Weaver said.
White (12-4) struck out six and walked two in seven innings.
“I knew I had my defense and offense behind me,” White said. “My teammates helped me out a lot. It was just one of those days where I was off. I had to put the bad inning behind me and start over.”
Springfield coach Amy Angelo said it was disappointing to lose a game that was there for the taking.