The Austintown Fitch softball team could not get Medina junior Madison Tata out Thursday.
Tata reached base safely with four hits in four at-bats and played a role in all of Medina’s scoring in a 5-3 win in a Division I regional semifinal at the University of Akron.
“I get fired up during this time of year,” Tata said. “It is the playoffs. It is do or die. I love my team and I love my seniors.”
Medina (23-7) will play Mentor in a regional final at UA at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Bees are three wins from winning a Division I state title, despite committing six errors Thursday.
“I don’t know if there is ever a really good excuse for an error,” Medina coach Jessica Toocheck said. “I think that sometimes maybe it was nerves, but you have got to clean up your game especially when you get this deep in tournament play. We have to have solid D all the way around. That is what we have to improve before Saturday.”
Tata’s bat helped Medina overcome its defensive miscues and eliminate Fitch (20-9). She finished the day with three singles, a triple, three runs batted in and two runs scored.
“I think Madi definitely thrives on the pressure and being in those clutch situations,” Toocheck said. “She likes that. She always says those are her favorite moments. She wants to step up and be the one that gets the big hit to get everybody going.”
Medina jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Junior Vanessa Scoarste and freshman Jessie Holzman opened the inning with singles to left field. Tata knocked them both in with a single to left field and scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Jen Sansonette.
The Bees upped their lead to 4-0 in the second when Holzman singled to right and scored on a Tata triple to left.
“I worked all week with my dad and I was feeling it today,” Tata said.
Fitch scored a single run in the second, fifth and sixth innings to close the gap to 4-3.
Junior Gabrielle Butcher singled in the second, moved to third on a double by junior Mercedes Pratt and scored on a single by sophomore Nicholette Zordich.
The Falcons’ final two runs were unearned. Junior Cali Mikovich tripled in the fifth and scored on an errant throw. Butcher reached base via an error in the sixth and scored on another error.
The Bees regained momentum in the seventh when Tata bunted for a single and scored on a double to center by senior Maria Vanadia.
“We feel very fortunate to win this game,” Tata said. “They are a great hitting team. … We realized we had to clean it up. We all came together in the circle and battled back. I am really proud of my team.”
Medina junior right-handed pitcher Megan Paradise (19-5) earned the win by working seven innings. She allowed one earned run and six hits.
Fitch freshman right-hander Alexandra Franken (20-9) took the loss.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.