MEDINA — Medina third baseman Anna Aquino learned the next play is always the most important.
The junior overcame a mistake in the field and delivered the game-winning hit in the same inning Monday, leading the Bees to a 3-2 victory over Greater Cleveland Conference and Medina County rival Brunswick.
“(Aquino) is a fantastic player. She’s good in all aspects of the game,” Bees coach Jessica Toocheck said. “I think she’s been working on the mental side of the game and knowing that she can get the next play. When she steps in the batter’s box, it’s the next opportunity that she can help the team.”
With the game against the Blue Devils (2-7, 0-3) tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, Aquino bobbled a sharply hit ball by Maddie O’Malley, then rushed a force-out throw to second base. The two errors put O’Malley on first base and sophomore Olivia Campbell on third with one out.
After sophomore pitcher Kylie Hosey got Brunswick catcher Becky Hurosky to fly out, Aquino made a nice play to her left on a grounder by Taylor Kaminski (2-4, RBI) to end the inning and keep the Bees (8-1, 3-0) tied.
“As a player, you know you have to calm yourself down after an error,” Aquino said. “Your teammate knows everyone is going to make errors, but your teammate knows (you’re) going to make the next play, and that’s the most important part.”
Aquino was not done, as a two-out bunt single by senior Alexa Nau brought Aquino to the plate with runners on first and second. Aquino smashed a 1-0 pitch into the right-center gap for a two-run double that put Medina ahead 3-1.
Aquino accounted for all three RBIs, including a sacrifice fly in the first that plated junior Sam Masi.
“When I went up there, I knew I had my team behind me,” Aquino said. “They were still on base, and I had to stay calm in that situation.”
The Blue Devils chipped away at the lead in the sixth, as senior Natalie Galaida earned a leadoff walk after a 13-pitch at-bat. Sophomore Alyssa Olah singled to right field, and Campbell smacked a single to right to score Galaida.
“We’ve been kind of in a slump lately, and I think this game was a pretty big step for us being considered the underdog,” said Campbell, who had three hits. “We pulled out our best and our lack of hitting hurt us, but overall I thought we played pretty well.”
With runners on the corners and two outs, Bees right fielder Catherine Stossel took away a base hit from Brunswick shortstop Katie O’Malley with a diving catch in the gap.
“We’re leaving too many runners on, and we can’t get the key hit when we needed it,” Blue Devils coach Julie Salzman said. “They got the key hit when they needed it, and that’s the difference. Otherwise, we’re leading 2-1 going into the seventh.”
Hosey, who earned the victory with three innings in relief, retired the Blue Devils in order in the seventh. She surrendered one run on three hits and one walk. Senior Caitlin Dunlap started, allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts.
Rebecca Zemanek took the loss in a complete game in which she allowed five hits and three walks while striking out three.
Medina 3, Brunswick 2
BRUNSWICK 100 001 0 — 2 9 1
MEDINA 100 020 x — 3 5 3
WP — Kylie Hosey (3-0) 3 innings, earned run, 3 hits, walk. LP — Rebecca Zemanek (1-3) 6 innings, 3 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. Brunswick (2-7, 0-3) — Taylor Kaminski 2 singles, RBI; Olivia Campbell 3 singles, RBI. Medina (8-1, 3-0) — Sam Masi single, walk, run; Alexa Nau 2 singles, run; Anna Aquino double 3 RBI.