PHILIPSBURG — You can argue that the road to the District 6 Class AA softball championship runs through Philipsburg. After all, the Lady Mounties have won the last five titles.
But there’s no arguing that the Lady Mounties’ Softball Complex is where Mount Union’s district dreams go to die. Three times since 2010 the Lady Trojans have met Philipsburg-Osceola there in the district playoffs. And three times they lost. Monday, P-O did it again as the Lady Mounties hung an 8-0 loss on Mount Union in a District 6 Class AA quarterfinal contest.
“It’s tough to come here,” Lady Trojans coach Matt Fiscus said. “They are a large school with probably one hundred more girls than we have and they play in the Mountain League where they can get (playoff) points and get home games. The system works for them. We play in the ICC where it’s tough to get points. But it is what it is.
“Our kids played hard today and I’m proud of them. We just had that one inning where the ball got by our right fielder and that started things rolling. They’re like any good team; if you make a mistake against them they take advantage of it. They’re good in all aspects of the game. It’s always tough to come here.”
While Chelsey Henry was limiting Mount Union to six hits, the P-O bats exploded against Marissa Aurand, banging out 13 hits. Haylee Hayward and Henry led the attack with three hits apiece while Abby Showers and McKenzie Burge added two each.
But the biggest hit might have come off the bat of freshman outfielder Annie Kost, who lined a triple into the right field corner past a diving Makenzy Goodrich. She scored on a single by Showers and the Lady Mounties added three more runs on RBI-singles by Hayward and Maggie Peck.
“We finally got some timely hitting today from a lot of people,” Lady Mounties coach Jim Gonder said. “That triple by our freshman (Kost) kind of started it, hitting a two-strike triple was a big hit for her. It was a close game until then.”
In the fifth, P-O added a single run on a single by Burge, a walk and a single to left by Henry.
The Lady Mounties put the game away in the sixth when Showers led off the inning with a double to the fence in center, back to back singles by Burge and Hayward, an error and a sacrifice fly by Henry.
“The first two months of the season she (Henry) was our best hitter over in the cages (across the road from the field),” Gonder said. “Today she brought it over here. And she pitched a great game. She was getting ahead in the count.
“And with Abby back in the lineup (at third base), that shored up our defense. Our lineup is a little better now.”