High School Softball

High school softball: Philipsburg-Osceola remains unbeaten with win over Penns Valley

For the CDTApril 21, 2014 

— Methodical.

That’s probably the most apt description of Philipsburg-Osceola’s 5-0 softball victory over Penns Valley on Monday.

The Lady Mounties scored a run in the first inning, added three in the third and another in the fifth to back Morgan Williamson’s three-hitter. Defensively, they turned two double plays and made critical plays in key situations to run their record to 8-0.

“Methodical is probably the right word,” agreed P-O coach Jim Gonder. “You just try to get through each inning playing your best.”

The game presented P-O with an opportunity to get overconfident, considering it had beaten Penns Valley 11-0 on Thursday. The Lady Rams wouldn’t allow that.

“We warned our kids before the game not to get complacent, too overconfident,” Gonder said. “11-0 games don’t happen very often.”

At the same time, Penns Valley coach Don Lucas took small comfort in the fact that his team played P-O much closer the second time around..

“I’m not much for moral victories,” he said. “But I think the fact that we could stay with one of the best teams in the state after getting 10-runned by them on Thursday says a lot about the character of our team. But we do have some things we need to clean up. You can not make mistakes against a team like that. You’ve got to make the routine plays.”

Unfortunately for the Lady Rams, some of those mistakes took place in the outfield, where they are most costly.

P-O struck quickly against Harley Hess, Penns Valley’s promising freshman pitcher, rocking her for four straight singles to start the game, the fourth by Abby Showers which made it 1-0. But Hess bore down and induced a pop fly and then struck out the last two batters of the inning to kill the threat.

“When we got the bases loaded I was thinking, ‘OK, if we get a hit here I can be comfortable,’” Gonder said. “But their pitcher did a nice job. She had our hitters off balance all day.”

In the third P-O came up with three doubles — by McKenzie Burge, Megan Bainey and Maggie Peck — for two runs and a successful double steal added a third.

In the fifth, Peck tripled over the head of right fielder McKenna Lyons and scored on a single by Williamson. Tiffani Wagner followed with a single, but Hess got out of the inning with a line drive back to her and a popup to first.

“Harley deserved a better fate,” Lucas said. She pitched a good game, probably the best game she’s pitched all year. She was sawing off their power hitters so they could not drive the ball. And when we hit the ball we hit it right at someone. But we’re starting five freshmen. We’ll be OK.”

Gonder agreed.

“They are better than their (0-6) record,” he said. “They will play better as the year goes on. And our lineup has the potential to come up with a big hit. The top of our lineup and the bottom hit well today, although we had more strikeouts (five) than I’d like. But you have to give credit to them.”

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