Single by Gross in 10th inning
gives Cards another walk-off
By BOB ETTINGER
With two runners on and nobody out in the home half of the 10th inning of a Division I district final against Macedonia Nordonia, KaiLi Gross knew it was her moment to shine. The Canfield sophomore shined brightly with a single to right to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory.
“During the pitching change, I went to the dugout and said I was going to finish this thing,” Gross said. “We had gone 10 innings. We had played hard. We had worked hard. I was going to finish it.”
It was the second walk-off win in as many days for the Cardinals.
“I love this kind of game,” Canfield coach Ray Melewski said. “When you get a game like this, everyone is in the game.”
The Cardinals (19-8) will play Willoughby South in a Division I regional semifinal at the University of Akron at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
“You’ve just got to come play at this point in the season,” Melewski said.
Jill Baker singled to open the 10th for Canfield and Kalin Kovach reached on an error as she tried to sacrifice Baker to second.
“I was looking for that pitch,” Baker said. “I took a strike. I didn’t like that one and said, ‘It’s OK. I’ll get the next one.’ I felt it off the bat. I was pumping my fist up the line. I knew we won the game right there. Usually, when we get a runner to second with no outs, we should get someone home.”
Gross delivered a single to right-center touching of a celebration that ended with her bleeding.
“I didn’t see [the outfielder] catch it [on the hop],” Gross said. “I kept running. When I saw Jill score, I started jumping up and down, then the team was tackling me. They put a hole in my jersey and drew blood.”
Baker scored from second.
“I was just going home,” she said. “I didn’t even look at the coach. I was getting home.”
Gross worked all 10 innings in the circle for the win.
“She got better as the innings went on,” Melewski said. “She was better in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings than she was in the first three. And the defense made some great plays. That catch [a lunging grab of a line toward the hole on the left side in the top of the 10th] by Mallory [Vaclav] was a big catch.”
Gross allowed four runs on six hits, struck out eight and walked two.
“Every inning after the seventh, I knew I couldn’t let myself or my team down,” Gross said. “I knew the team would make the plays if I messed up. I knew every pitch had to be better than the last one.”
The Knights took a 2-0 lead in the first behind an RBI double by Lexi Maciejowski and an RBI single from Hannah Ours.
In the second, Amber Rose scored on a wild pitch and Vaclav scored on a double-play ball from Sydney Fabry to knot the score, 2-2.
Hallie Majoros singled and scored on an error to put Nordonia back in front, 3-2, in the fourth. She later singled and scored on another error in the to tie the score, 4-4, in the sixth.
“In the bottom of the seventh, I said to my assistant and we were unsure if we were going into extra innings or not, that as of now we had left everything on the field,” Nordonia coach Kelsey Shirey said. “Toward the end of the season here, we’ve been playing at our highest level. That’s all I could ask of a team. As a coach, yeah, I’m upset [with losing], but I’d rather go out like that than not playing at our best level.”
Vaclav singled and scored on an error to get the Cardinals even, 3-3, in the fourth. Baker reached on an error and scored on a single from Gross for a 4-3 Canfield lead in the fifth.