Matt Florjancic, Special to The Plain Dealer, May 30, 2013 8:54 p.m.
AKRON — The Medina Battling Bees committed six errors, but their bats generated five runs in a 5-3 win over the Austintown-Fitch Falcons in the girls Division I softball regional semifinal at Lee R. Jackson Softball Field at The University of Akron Thursday night.
Two of those errors allowed Austintown-Fitch runners to score, and three miscues came in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“There’s never really a good time for an error,” said Medina coach Jessica Toocheck. “Sometimes, it was nerves. Sometimes, it was whatever, but you’ve got to clean up your game, especially this deep in tournament play. We’ve got to have solid D all the way around. That’s what we’ve got to improve on for Saturday.
“We didn’t make some of the plays. That’s where they got some of their runs from. Luckily, we were able to bring our bats and back it up.”
Said Falcons’ coach Melody Ward: “They just came out on top. We fought hard. I’m very proud of my squad, but they came out on top. We played our best game.”
With the win, Medina (23-7) advances to play the Mentor Cardinals for the regional championship Saturday.
“These girls have worked very hard all season long, and I’m excited they’re going to have an opportunity to get back to the regional final,” said Toocheck.
The Battling Bees jumped out to an early lead over the Falcons when the first four batters reached and three scored. Vanessa Scoarste led off the game with a single to left field, then stole second base off Austintown-Fitch freshman pitcher Alexandra Franken. Freshman outfielder Jessie Holzman followed Scoarste’s at-bat by singling to left field and also stealing second base.
Junior first baseman Madison Tata roped an 0-2 pitch to left field and drove in both runners. Tata came around to score on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of senior third baseman Jen Sansonette.
Medina added a run in the second when Tata tripled to the fence in left to drive in Holzman, who had singled to right-center with two outs.
“I think Madi thrives on the pressure of being in those clutch situations,” Toocheck said. “She always tells us that those are her favorite moments, and she wants to step up and be the one that gets the big hit for everybody and get everybody going.”
Senior catcher Maria Vanadia gave Medina an insurance run in the seventh when she doubled off the glove of Austintown-Fitch center fielder Alana Callahan to drive in Tata, who went 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
“I get fired up during this time of year,” Tata said. “It’s the playoffs. It’s do-or-die. I love my team; I love my seniors. I do it for them.”