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Bobowski's aggressive play fueled rally in quarterfinals

DETROIT >> Dakota’s Lauren Bobowski knows what her job is when she enters the game … run the bases and run them well.

On Tuesday at Wayne State University, Bobowski did her job to perfection.

After Kendahl Dunford dropped an outside pitch into left field to score a pair of runs and cut Dakota’s deficit two a run in the top of the seventh inning, Bobowski was called upon to courtesy run for a teammate like she has been doing most of the season.

After moving up an on wild pitch, Bobowski next found herself in a bit of a pickle … literally.

Jackie Popko hit shot that was fielded cleanly by Garden City shortstop Natalie Billings.

Billings hesitated on a throw to first and opted to try and record the second out of the inning by tagging out Bobowski.

“She turned her body towards first so that’s where I thought she was going,” Bobowski said. “I know they say it’s better to be aggressive rather than hold up so I went.”

Billings briefly ran Bobowski back to second before tossing it to Alissa Turnbull.

From that point it was a footrace between Bobowski and Turnbull to third base.

“All that was going through my mind was, ‘Don’t let them tag you,’” Bobowski said. “My back was turned to second and I was heading to third. I was going for it.”

Bobowski had the speed to beat Turnbull to the bag and did so sliding in headfirst.

“I looked back and saw her and ran as fast as I could,” Bobowski said.

On that same play, Kattie Popko sprinted in from third to tie the game.

If Bobowski would have gotten tagged out Dakota could have been looking at a tie game, 4-4, heading to the bottom of the seventh.

“I wasn’t that nervous,” Bobowski said. “I’m usually aggressive.”

Bobowski’s day on the base path wasn’t over.

Arieanna Grammatico followed next with another sharp grounder on the infield. Bobowski was off right at the crack of the bat and scored easily to put Dakota up 5-4.

“I was super excited because I want my team to keep going,” Bobowski said. “I’ve been in pressure situations before and I love base running. I wasn’t nervous at all.”

Jackie Popko ended the five-run rally by scoring on a wild pitch.

“Bobo is so darn fast,” Dunford said of her courtesy running teammate.

Dunford herself may have played a role at inspiring Bobowski to not give up on the base path heading to the seventh inning.

“We put up 18 runs before on this team, we’ve got this,” Dunford recalled saying prior to Dakota sending the top of the order to the plate in the seventh. “I told them I thought we could get six so let’s put that up there and let’s go. We got six. It’s crazy.”

Dakota (34-2) beat Garden City earlier in the season 18-3.

Dakota, which ended the regular season ranked No. 1, will meet fifth-ranked Mattawan in a state semifinal at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Michigan State University. Clarkston and Grandville meet in the other semi at 3 p.m. The championship is Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Last Updated: 6/14/2017 9:57:25 PM EST