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Poland wins Red Tier

May 9, 2018
By Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Last week Poland's softball team bombarded a pair of conference rivals.

Those two victories propelled Poland (8-2) to the All American Conference Red Tier championship. It also gave the Lady Bulldogs a huge shot of momentum as they embark on the journey of the Division II state tournament. The fourth seeded Bulldogs will host fifth seeded Salem this Friday in the districts.

"Four and five seed games are always a toss up, but we'll be ready," said Poland head coach Jim Serich on Monday morning.

If what happened in last week's action is any indicator the Poland ladies shouldn't have any trouble smacking around Salem pitching. The Bulldogs probably made their brethren on the Poland football team jealous as they scored a combined 63 runs. Remember, that output came in just two games.

On May 1, Poland plastered nemesis Canfield 25-9 on the road spoiling their archrivals' Senior Day. The Bulldogs bludgeoned Canfield's pitching with 9 runs in the top of the first and never relented. Sensational sophomore Ally Nittoli nailed a grand slam to lead Poland's potent offense. Junior Ashley Wire hit a home run as well and knocked home four runs. Senior Sarah Boccieri had four hits including a double and two RBI's. Fantastic freshman Jackie Grisdale had three hits and four ribbies. Sophomore Brooke Bobby blasted four hits and brought home three runs. She also earned the pitching win with a complete game.

One day after crushing the Cardinals, the Bulldogs went back on the road and humiliated Howland 28-8. Poland scored five runs in the top of the first inning to get its party started. After laying dormant for a couple of frames, the Bulldogs exploded for 10 runs in the fourth and thirteen more in sixth to top twenty runs for the second straight day. Freshman Cami Lattanzio showed how powerful this Poland squad is from senior class on down when she had three hits including a grand slam and seven RBI's. Junior Torri Moderalli and Boccieri both had four hits and combined for seven ribbies. Grisdale hit a homer and had four RBIs. Nittoli had two hits with three RBI's. The remarkable rookie now has a 19 game hitting streak.

Senior Monica Kurjan went the distance in the pitching circle to earn the win.

Not only did the Bulldogs bring home a ton of runs in their two wins last week they also tallied ten more runs in a 12-10 home loss to Canfield on April 30. That day's offensive performance actually jumpstarted Poland's weeklong scoring binge. Luckily, the Poland kids were able to brush that loss off their shoulders to win the conference the next afternoon. Coach Serich believes his team has the tools to continue this sizzling scoring streak.

"If we play like we have all year we'll put ourselves in a great position to be successful," Serich said.

If the Bulldogs do advance in the districts they will most likely need to upend mighty number one seed West Branch to win a sectional title. They may also need every bit of those 73 runs to wipe out the state contending Lady Warriors.

"West Branch are as good as it gets," said Serich. "They're just solid all around and their record speaks for itself. If we get the chance to play them we feel that we can compete with anyone like we have all season."



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