Poland rallies for league win at Lakeview
CORTLAND — It was a wild afternoon between a pair of Bulldog teams on Monday.
At first, it appeared Lakeview was in position for an upset, leading by five runs going into the top of the sixth inning against Northeast-8 rival and 2019 state finalist Poland.
Returning five starters from its dominating 2019 playoff run, Poland wasn’t one to back down after falling behind.
Put the ball in play, and good things will happen.
Hitting a trio of home runs will typically lead to success, but when Poland needed to late, it locked in, drove its pitch and found a way of getting the ball past the infielders.
That sort of aggressive mindset at the plate allowed the visitors to not just chip away at a deficit, but overcome adversity and steal one on the road by a final of 11-8 on a windy and gloomy afternoon.
Arguably, the biggest knock of the afternoon came by a freshman, as Gia Schiavone drove a pitch past the third baseman and shortstop with the bases loaded in an 8-8 ballgame in the top of the seventh inning.
There were a ton of smiles for Poland following what would end up being the game-winning hit, but after sophomore Katie McDonald was intentionally walked in front of her, it was about Schiavone just doing her job.
“Honestly, it’s just trusting yourself, knowing that you just have to see the ball and one simple hit can get things going,” she said following the win. “You just have to trust the fact that you and your teammates are going to do your jobs and make sure that you’re in the right position to get where you need to be.
“It did feel great, especially since I was struggling before a little bit. Just trust yourself, gotta get up there and do what you need to do and go from there.”
Lakeview junior Kylie Imes started the scoring with an RBI double, then sophomore Maggie Pavlansky planted a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 early in favor of the host team during the bottom of the second.
Not before long, it was 6-0 after the third inning, with Pavlansky knocking an RBI double to score a pair before the inning was out.
Momentum was all in favor of Lakeview, but Poland remained focused on its task at hand, being rewarded with a three-run shot to left-center by senior Camryn Lattanzio to cut the lead to 6-3.
A solo shot by Pavlansky, then an RBI single off the bat of Abbie Campana in the bottom of the fifth made it 8-3, with the Bulldogs wearing the home black uniforms seemly in the driver’s seat — although that would be the final time the hosts would find home plate.
Poland’s pitcher McDonald provided herself with run support, blasting a three-run shot herself in the sixth, with the momentum swinging from the first- to the third-base dugout, though Lakeview still led 8-6 going into the seventh inning.
Senior Jackie Grisdale, now with a 12-game hitting streak, belted a solo shot to straightaway leftfield in the first at-bat of the inning, making it 8-7.
“In the middle few innings, we started to just relax a little bit and just let things fall into placing instead of forcing it,” Grisdale said “I think that last inning, we just knew that it’s okay, just deep breaths going up to the late, just swing and know what we have to do and make it happen.”
Junior Abby Farber knocked a double to score Lattanzio to tie the contest, before McDonald walked, setting up Schiavone’s huge moment.
“In all honesty, we weren’t worried, you just have to play the game, and go from there and never give up,” Schiavone said “At the end of the game you just accept the fact that there’s going to be a winner and there’s going to be a loser, but you just fight to do whatever you can to win.”
McDonald tossed a complete game, allowing nine hits, but punching out six, earning her ninth win of the spring.
Poland (10-2) coach Jim Serich credited his team’s experience for their ability to battle at the plate.
“We’ve known that from the beginning of the year that we’re going to hit the ball, and we’re going to score,” he said “We’ve seen fast pitchers, slow pitchers, really good pitchers and we’ve hit everything, it doesn’t matter.
“Patience, picking out your pitch, and driving it, the name of the game is to be calm in the batter’s box, look small on your first couple of strikes and drive the ball.”
Junior Connie Cougras rounded out the scoring with a pair of RBI.
For Lakeview (5-6), junior Raegan Schick took the loss, while recording three strikeouts on twelve hits. Pavlansky went 2-for-3 with 4 RBI, and junior Mariah Tackett posted a 2-for-3 line with a pair of runs scored. Junior Sammy Aey scored two runs and recorded an RBI, going 1-for-4.
“The cleanest game we’ve played was game one, which is weird as that sounds,” Lakeview coach Nick Schick said “There’s a big inning here and there, but we just haven’t been able to put it together.
“But, I’m serious when I say that I feel like we’re going to be able to shock some teams. It wasn’t tonight, but I’m hoping it’s going to be one of these games soon that we’re going to be able to shock some of these big teams.”
The two Bulldogs face off again this evening at Poland with a 5 p.m. first pitch.