BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - Megan Drabek worked quickly on the mound yesterday during Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central's Division 3 state semifinal game with Portland - a team responsible for one of the Kestrels' 10 losses this season.
SMCC's pitching ace wasn't in a rush. She wasn't nervous.
Drabek had one of her finest outings of the season as she limited Portland to two hits to help SMCC post a 2-0 victory at Bailey Park.
Drabek struck out seven and faced only 23 batters. She threw a total of 68 pitches - 56 strikes.
"I was in the zone," said the senior. "When I was out there I didn't even hear the people in the dugout."
SMCC coach Jon LaBeau credited Drabek and the defensive for producing one of the best all-around team performances of the season.
"We were solid and made every play in the field, some of them close to sterling plays," LaBeau said. "Megan threw 68 pitches in seven innings - that is phenomenal. You can't get much better than that."
The Kestrels (26-10) will face defending champion Unionville-Sebewaing (39-2) in the title game today at 1:30.
Unionville-Sebewaing defeated Mason County Central 4-3 in the other semifinal. The Patriots defeated Ida in the championship game last season.
Jessica Stiffler had both of Portland's hits off of Ratliff. Otherwise, Portland, which beat SMCC 4-2 in the regular season, didn't have an answer for Drabek.
Portland's Brittany Grys held the Kestrels to only three hits while striking out seven and walking three.
But the Kestrels made their hits count. Beth Terrasi got an RBI single in the first inning when she hit a blooper into short left that fell between the Raiders' left fielder and shortstop. Emma LaBeau scored on the play for a 1-0 lead.
"That play happens sometimes and we took advantage of it and that makes a big difference in games like this," said Jon LaBeau. "That was a huge run for us. When we got that run Megan had a huge smile on her face."
Drabek admitted the early lead made her comfortable.
"I was so happy when we got that run," she said. "I got a lot calmer on the mound."
The Kestrels added a run when Alicia Flynn slapped a run-scoring base hit to right-center that sent Amy Terrasi home to make it 2-0.
Drabek and the defense took care of the rest. The Raiders were held hitless the rest of the way.
"We've improved so much as a team since then," Beth Terrasi said of the victory in the rematch. "We kept working hard and I knew if we kept working hard we could get here."
Grys thought the Raiders (42-4) didn't play up to their potential.
"We just didn't get the job done today," said Grys, who struck out seven and walked three. "They definitely hit the ball a lot better in this game."
"We're very confident about our chances," coach LaBeau said of today's final "We set these goals at the beginning of the season. We're playing in the last game of the season and now all we have to do is go out and win it."
Contact Donald Emmons at:
or 419-724-6302.42.31617 -85.18022