MARIETTA -- Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good. Seventh-ranked Mill Creek was both.
Nikki Sagermann went 2-for-4 with a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth and gave up one earned run on four hits to lead the Region 7-AAAAA No. 2 seed Hawks to a 6-1 road victory over ninth-ranked Lassiter in the third game of their best-of-three second round of the Class AAAAA state playoff series on Friday. It's Mill Creek's first trip to Columbus since 2008, when it won the state championship.
Mill Creek (28-10-1), which advanced to face Hillgrove in the state finals in Columbus on Thursday, had several big hits, including an RBI triple from Mackinsey Fagioli, and a sacrifice fly from Lauren Bennett in the fourth inning that gave the Hawks a 4-1 lead.
Mill Creek, which totaled eight hits, also got help from four Lassiter errors, three of which led to two runs in the third inning to put the Hawks on top 2-1.
What could have been ruled an error in the fourth -- a dropped pop foul -- that would have given Mill Creek two outs, resulted in Bennett's sacrifice fly.
"We had 12 errors in three games and you're not supposed to win a series when you make 12 errors," Lassiter coach Scott Kelly said. "Give credit to Mill Creek. They put the ball in play and made us play around with it. We got beat by a better team.
"When you sit there and look at it, we had a good season. You hate to lose your last game, but there's nothing we can do."
Region 5-AAAAA champion Lassiter (24-10) got on the board first after Carli Kayler, who was 1-for-2, blasted a lead-off solo home run in the second for a 1-0 Trojans advantage.
The Trojans also didn't do themselves any favors with a few base running miscues as Mill Creek turned double plays in the second, third and fourth innings, and forced Lassiter to strand a runner on third base in the first inning.
Sagermann didn't allow a runner to reach second over the final three innings and faced three batters in the sixth and seventh frames.
After Kayler's homer in the top of the second gave Lassiter a one-run lead, Mill Creek responded in the bottom half of the inning. Alissa Stringer singled and Bennett reached first on a fielder's choice. Three Lassiter errors in the inning helped score Stringer and Bennett to put the Hawks up by one.
Morgan Bell led off the fourth with a single and scored on Fagioli's triple. Stringer walked in the next at-bat after surviving the missed foul pop out, resulting in Bennett's sacrifice fly that scored Fagioli and gave Mill Creek a 4-1 edge.
Lassiter pitcher Mackenzie Kayler, who allowed six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and struck out three in six innings, got the first two outs in the sixth. However, Bennett and Jenna Holland hit back-to-back two-out singles and Sagermann followed with her two-RBI double to extend Mill Creek's margin to the eventual 6-1 final.
Shelby Sinclair, Erin Leonard and Sammi Green also had hits for Lassiter.
"We had some opportunities, but the plays of the game were on defense," said Mill Creek coach Roger Parham. "We turned three double plays, which totally changed the complexity of those innings. You don't see that an awful lot. Those were huge. We hit it when we needed to and took advantage of our opportunities to score.
"Scott (Kelly) does a great job with his kids, and he needs to be commended for the great job he did all year long."