Canfield, Poland competing for district win
By Greg Gulas
The Canfield 8-10 and Poland 10-12 girls Little League all-stars each won on Sunday night at Boardman’s Fields of Dreams to knot their District 2 championship series at a game apiece.
The championship game in both divisions will take place at 6 tonight.
In the opening game of the night, Paris Lindgren tossed a two-hitter and Kayleigh Golden added two hits, also plating three runs to lead the Canfield 8-10 all-stars to an 11-0, four-inning win over Austintown.
In the nightcap, the Poland 10-12 girls scored six runs in the first inning as pitcher Katie McDonald scattered six hits and allowed just one run for a 9-1 victory over Canfield to even their series.
8-10 Division Game 1
Brooke Opalick added three hits, including a double, scoring three runs and Sofia Castronova roped a double, knocked in two runs and scored twice.
Canfield sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring five times on three hits as it was also aided by three Austintown errors.
The big hit was a two-run triple by Kayleigh Golden.
“I saw the ball really well today,” Golden said. “It’s a nice feeling to be playing Monday for the championship.
Canfield sent 10 more batters to the dish in the second inning, knocking in four more runs to extend its lead to 9-0.
Of their six safeties in the frame, doing the most damage was Castronova, who roped a two-run double. Golden added a run scoring double and Lindgren an RBI single.
“Paris pitched really well today,” Castronova said. “She only allowed two base runners the entire game and didn’t allow a walk.”
Lindgren was around the plate the entire game, albeit a shortened affair.
“I felt good and just relied on my fastball most of the time,” she said.
Canfield added two more runs in the third inning to open an 11-0 margin with Alexa Ignazio, who led off the frame with a double, and Marina Koenig, who reached base on a fielder’s choice, crossing the plate.
“I just wanted to do what was best for the team and that was to get on base,” Opalick said.
After dropping a 2-1 decision Thursday on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth inning, Canfield manager John Millich downplayed the fact that it was a must-win game for his team.
“We hit the ball tonight like we have all year,” Millich said. “Austintown is a very good team, we’ve both already qualified for state and are honored to be playing them for the championship. Paris and Kayleigh are our two pitchers and they have been lights out for us. We’re ready to play, so it will pretty much be the same strategy.”
10-12 Division Game 2
Canfield took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but it was all Poland after that to also tie their series at a game apiece.
Bella Kennedy, who also had one of her team’s six hits, raced home from second on an infield error for the first tally of the game.
Poland then sent 12 batters to the plate in its half of the inning for a 6-1 advantage and never looked back.
The first five Poland batters reached base safely and ultimately scored with the big hits a triple and RBI single by Mary Brant, and run-scoring singles by Sophia Dedo,
Angolena Faunda and Gia Schiavone.
Brant had four of her team’s 11 hits. She roped a triple in the first inning to get things started offensively and also scored two runs.
“We knew that we had to beat them tonight if we expected to get to the championship game,” Brant said. “Everyone was confident at the plate tonight.”
After allowing the first run of the game, McDonald settled down and scattered just five hits the rest of the way.
“I usually throw my fastball outside, but they were crowding the plate, so I went inside most of the game,” McDonald added.
After the first inning, neither team could push a run across until Poland added three insurance runs in the fifth.
Dedo had three hits, two RBIs and scored a run.
“After we took the lead in the first inning, we were more confident at the plate and in the field,” she said.
Poland coach Chad Brant said wresting the lead in the first inning was the spark that his team needed.
“Coming back with a six-run inning after giving up a run to start the game was big,” Brant said. “Our success all year has been our ability to minimize our mistakes. This team has the mindset that even when they are down, they’re never out of a game.”