By Greg Gulas
Kacie Serich scattered five hits and struck out eight and Marissa Trevis pounded out three hits, including two doubles, as Poland beat Lakeview, 3-1, on Thursday in a Division II sectional final.
Poland will meet West Branch in a district semifinal Wednesday in Alliance. The Warriors defeated Cardinal Mooney, 12-2.
It was the 13th consecutive title for the victorious Bulldogs, whose last sectional loss came during the 2000 campaign.
In a game that turned out to be a pitchers’ duel, Serich bested Lakeview’s Taylor Waid, who struck out nine Poland batters and accounted for her team’s only run with a solo home run when leading off the second inning.
“The plate umpire was calling the outside pitch for both teams so I just tried to paint the corner of the plate the entire game,” said Serich, now 9-6. “Taylor is an excellent pitcher and someone who can swing the bat as well.
“I only threw one curve the entire game and she hit it out of the park. Even when we were down that run, I felt that our bats would get us back in the game and just trusted my defense behind me.”
Waid’s solo shot in the second inning staked Lakeview to an early, but it was short-lived. Poland’s Ally Deemer led off the bottom of the third with a solo shot of her own to knot the game at 1. Trevis then led off the fourth with the first of her two doubles and when Taylor Miokovic followed with a run-scoring single up the middle, Poland (19-7) took a 2-1 advantage.
“Lakeview is an excellent team and we knew that if we expected to win, then we had better leave everything on the field,” Trevis said. “We were able to capitalize on a couple of their mistakes and that was the key.
“We knew Waid was an excellent pitcher and with her being an outside pitcher, I just crowded the plate more than I usually do and looked for a good outside pitch to hit.”
Poland added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Trevis again led off with a double, moved to third on a single by Miokovic and later scored on a wild pitch.
“You saw two very good teams playing out there today,” first-year Poland coach Matt Campbell said. “Lakeview is a tremendous team that can hit, field and pitch so you have to capitalize on anything that is presented to you.
“Ally is just a sophomore and a first-year starter, so for her to sit back and wait for her pitch with two strikes was great to see. As for Kasie, she is a senior whose record is really not indicative of how well she has pitched for us. Marissa, on the other hand, is one of the best hitters around, hitting in the high .400s with many timely hits.”
Lakeview coach Vicky Lawrence, whose Bulldogs finished 11-8, was pleased with the progress her team made over the course of the season.
“We came a long way since the beginning of the year and the progress that we made was really gratifying,” Lawrence said. “Poland is a good team and we’re a good team, so you cannot complain when everyone gives it their all.
“The bottom line is that they capitalized on their opportunities and we didn’t. I am really proud of what we were able to accomplish this year.”