POLAND — Down early in Wednesday’s softball game, the Poland Knights had little choice but to make something happen.

Lake Region had slugged its way to a quick advantage and forced Poland to try and answer with some offense of its own. When the Knights bats awoke, there was little the Lakers could do to match.

“We knew going in that this might be a rough game,” Poland outfielder Morgan Brousseau said. “We knew they might come out with the first punch. They’re  a good team. We knew we couldn’t get down on ourselves. We’re good at coming back from behind. We stepped up to the plate, and we got it done.”

The Knights belted out 20 hits against the Lakers in a 16-6 win. Every batter in the Poland lineup had a hit, most of them had multiple hits. Senior outfielder Haley Whitworth had a career day with five hits and eight RBI.

“It was actually pretty exciting,” Whitworth said. “Today was a great day for all of us, especially for our freshman Morgan Brousseau. Seeing her hit, that was a confidence boost for everybody too.”

Brousseau had two hits and four RBI and hat a huge three-run double that erased the 4-1 deficit with one swing. Michaella Arsenault had three hits and drove in a run, while Kelsey DeBurra had two hits and two RBI. Sarah Walton, Kalor Plummer and Emily Gibson each had a pair of hits for the Knights (5-2).

“Haley’s really stepped up,” Poland coach Kat McKay said. “She’s a senior leader this year. She decided she wanted to come to play this year. Morgan, she’s a freshman. She’s doing her job, and that’s what we ask her to do — get a hit.”

Poland also got a gutsy pitching performance from senior Kylie Martin. Lake Region (3-3)  hit her early, but the senior hurler battled her way through.  After allowing four runs on six hits in the first two innings, she allowed just two runs on six hits the rest of the way. She struck out eight and walked just one.

“We have all the confidence in the world in either Kylie or Kolby (Woods),” McKay said. “They can always work themselves out of whatever predicament they get into. If they can’t, then the other is there to back the other up. Kolby was ready to go today if she needed her, but Kyle knows how to work out of things.”

Lake Region got three hits and three RBIs from pitcher Ashley Clark. Kaylyn Lorrain also had three hits for the Lakers.

It was Lorrain that scored on an error in the first to give the Lakers the early lead. Poland answered in the bottom of the inning when Whitworth doubled in Gibson. The Lakers opened the lead in the second when Abby Scott-Mitchell doubled in a run. Then Clark followed with a two-run single for a 4-1 lead.

“It made me nervous, but we just had to keep going,” Whitworth said of the early deficit. “We just needed that one step forward to keep up the confidence.”

That came in the bottom of the inning when the Knights scored five runs on six hits. No hit was bigger than Brousseau’s three-run double that tied it.

“Every time, we’re trying to bring confidence to the plate,” Brousseau said. “When I step up to the plate, Coach is like, ‘Step on that foot, drag the foot, swing the bat, all you Freshy.’ I kept it playing in my head and then I hit the ball.”

Whitworth followed with an infield single that plated two runs and gave Poland the 6-4 lead after two.

“We just needed to watch the ball go by and have the confidence and start hitting,” Whitworth said. “Once we got that boost for the first person coming up to bat, we just kept going from there and didn’t back down.”

Poland kept the runs coming the rest of the way. Arsenault drove in a run in the third and Whitworth had a two-run single before scoring on an error for a 10-4 lead in the third.

Brousseau doubled in two more in the fourth. Whitworth singled in two more in the fifth for a 13-4 lead. Lake Region got two back when Clark and Brittnay Perreault each had RBI singles in the sixth. DeBurra plated a pair and Whitworth singled in another run in the sixth to finish it off.

“The thing about Lake Region is that they top half of their lineup can hit the ball,” McKay said. “Living so close, they know each other and play together a little bit. So they want to beat each other. You can tell both teams came to play today.”

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