MEDINA — Some games mean just a little bit more.
When Medina and Brunswick hit the softball field and the outlook of the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division hangs in the balance, it gets magnified even more.
The Bees spotted the Blue Devils six runs, battled back with some late-inning heroics and won 7-6 in a whopper of a 10-inning affair Thursday.
Things ended with two outs in the 10th when Brittany Becka hit a shot back up the middle to score Vanessa Scoarste from second base.
The win kept Medina (18-3, 7-1) a game and a half up on Elyria (15-7, 5-2) and two games ahead of Brunswick (10-10, 5-3) with two games to play, meaning the Bees are guaranteed a share of the title with one victory or an Elyria loss.
“This one is huge,” Scoarste said. “These are the games we’ll remember. To beat a team like that when we were down by so much, to come back like that is huge. We were talking about it all day. I couldn’t focus in school. I just wanted to win this game and win conference.”
Lackadaisical play at the beginning led to a three-run first for the Blue Devils, who eventually took a six-run lead with runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
Ironically, the player that ended things was the one who started the rally in the fifth inning for the Bees. Becka reached on a single to center and, by the time things were over, Medina was down just 6-5 and had all the momentum on its side.
The scoring in the frame concluded with a one-out, two-run double off the bat of Scoarste, who uncharacteristically committed three errors earlier in the game. Medina had four errors on the day, leading to four unearned runs, but found a way to survive.
“(Coach Jessica Toocheck) always says the fifth inning is a support inning,” Scoarste said. “You win the fifth inning, you win the rest. We won the fifth. We won the sixth. We won the seventh and then we won the game. That fifth inning shifted things our way.”
Brunswick had a chance to end things in the seventh, but a groundout by Scoarste scored Caiti Rhodes to send things into extra innings.
With the walk-off win — the Bees’ second this season — Medina controls its own destiny with league games against North Royalton on Monday and Mentor on Thursday. The Bees haven’t won a league title since 2003, when they were in the Pioneer Conference.
“The seniors have had winning conference in the back of their minds,” Toocheck said. “We need to take care of business and play to the best of our ability. They’ve done a nice job of finding ways to win and believing in themselves. Hopefully we can carry that through to the end of the season.”
For Brunswick, it was more of the same, as the Blue Devils lost for the eighth time this season by one run. It’s also the fifth time they’ve lost in the final inning.
“We’re just not finishing games,” coach Julie Salzman said. “I don’t know. I really don’t. I can’t imagine bad luck hitting us eight times. But we could face these guys again in the tournament. We have to get past Wadsworth, get past Barberton and face them again. It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season.”
“We just need to keep our focus on the game and not be satisfied with what we’ve done at the beginning,” Brunswick second baseman Paige Salisbury said.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 7, Brunswick 6 (10 inn.)
BRUNSWICK 310 110 000 0 — 6 15 0
MEDINA 000 050 100 1 — 7 13 4
Two outs when winning run scored. WP — Megan Paradise (15-2) 10 innings, 2 earned, walk, 3 strikeouts. LP — Courtney Saville (8-8) 9 2/3 innings, 7 earned runs, walk, 7 strikeouts. Brunswick (10-10, 5-3) — Paige Salisbury 3 singles, 3 runs; Erin 3 singles, run, 2 RBIs, Jess Calhoun 2 singles, run, RBI, Courtney Saville single, double, RBI; Maria Payne 2 singles. Medina (18-3, 7-1) — Jessie Holzman 2 singles, run, RBI, Vanessa Scoarste single, double, run, 3 RBIs, Brittany Becka 3 singles, RBI; Caiti Rhodes 2 singles, run, RBI.