By Jon moffett
The only thing that was on Meredith Testa’s mind as she walked up to the plate in a Division II district semifinal was to hit the ball.
So she did the next best thing: She didn’t hit the ball.
With the bases loaded, Testa watched as the pitch short-hopped the plate and rolled past her. She earned a walk, giving her Poland teammates the green light to advance a base, scoring Kalie Benson, and walk away with a 7-6 victory against Notre Dame Cathedral Latin at JAGS Field on Thursday.
Testa, a senior, was the No. 9 hitter. She figured the Lions thought she was a sure out, which only added to the moment — bases loaded, no outs, tie game.
“It was stressful, just because they’re probably thinking they’re going to get the out, and you just want to get the other run for our team to win the game,” she said. “It was just so stressful to have two strikes and to come back. But it was awesome. Our team did awesome.”
Things weren’t exactly awesome for the Bulldogs (17-2) the entire day. Things looked like business as usual when they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Junior Jenna Modic brought home Maura Bobby with an RBI single, and freshman Taylor Miokovic hit a three-run homer over the furthest part of the center field fence.
The the Lions (20-3) responded with a roar in the fourth and fifth innings. The visitors scored five runs off of standout junior pitcher Erin Gabriel, who scored the tying run. Bristol native, and former Warren JFK student Rachael Ratcliffe hit a solo shot in the fourth, and then knocked a two-run bomb the next inning. Alex Cribari also homered in the inning.
Poland coach Reid Lamport said the come-from-behind win showed the grit and toughness his team hopes to take to the state championship.
“That last inning when we were down a run, all those kinds of things, knowing that we’re probably the favorite team [in Div. II] is all added pressure,” he said. “But our girls did a great job of battling back and making something out of nothing in that last inning. And I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Poland will play Southeast today at 4:30 p.m. at JAGS Field for the district championship.