High School Sports

P-O softball rallies for slugfest victory over Central

Philipsburg-Osceola’s Hannah Thompson fields the ball to make an out against Central on Thursday.
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Hannah Thompson fields the ball to make an out against Central on Thursday. adrey@centredaily.com

The scoreboard at the Philipsburg-Osceola softball field took a beating Thursday, physically and electronically.

Not only did the Lady Mounties and the Central Lady Dragons light it up for 28 runs, they took turns rattling home runs off it in P-O’s 19-9, six-inning beating of the once-beaten visitors.

With the wind blowing out, the two teams combined for five home runs and a total of 25 hits in the slugfest that ended with the 10-run rule in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“The wind had no effect,” Central coach Dale Walter said. “Them hitting he ball hard is what had an effect. We’re a pretty good hitting team, and they always hit.”

Wielding the biggest bats for P-O were Maggie Peck, who had four hits including a double and a homer; Jayde Burge, who had four hits including a double and the game-ending single; Kylie Thal, who homered, doubled and had three RBIs; and Kam Harris and Madison Lucas, who also homered. And adding to her big day, Peck also got the win in relief of Harris with four innings of one-hit ball.

“That was a special performance by Maggie against a good hitting team,” P-O coach Jim Gonder said. “And our hitters came through today. They were aggressive.’’

The runs came in clusters as each team went for the knockout in the early innings.

After Central scored a single run in the top of the first, P-O put four on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning on doubles by Peck and Burge and singles by Lucas, Harris and Thal — plus a sacrifice fly by Hannah Thompson. Central shook that off and responded with seven runs in the second, the big hit being a grand slam off the scoreboard by Maddie Metzler.

“When we got ahead 4-1 and then they came back and scored seven runs, that was an emotional blow,” Gonder said. “For us to come back from that was sort of like the perfect storm. I have to credit our bench for their enthusiasm. I have to thank them; they picked us up.”

Looking up at an 8-4 deficit, the Lady Mounties mounted their own comeback in the bottom of the second. Key blows in the inning were a three-run homer by Harris off the scoreboard and a two-run shot to left by Thal that gave P-O the 10-8 lead. It was Thal’s first homer of the year.

“I wasn’t thinking about getting a homer,” Thal said. “I just wanted to help the team. I just wanted to hit the ball hard but, when it came off the bat, it felt pretty good.”

Added Gonder: “Kylie has that potential. She hit that ball hard. And she’s a heck of a catcher, too.”

By the time the third inning started, both starting pitchers were gone. Central’s coach lifted his starter, Dylan Claycomb after the first, while Gonder moved Peck into the circle in place of Harris to start the third.

“I kind of like relieving,” said the senior, who also starts at first base. “I’ve been thrown out there so many times I’m comfortable there. I just do what I can to help the team.”

And while Peck allowed only a two-out double to Metzler in the fourth, the P-O bats continued to thunder.

After Burge singled and scored on a pair of Central errors in the fourth, P-O added four runs in the fifth, two coming on Peck’s line drive homer that was just inside the foul pole in left and the other two coming on Lucas’ two-run shot that followed Hannah Thompson’s single.

“I wasn’t sure it would be fair,” Peck said of her homer. “I knew I had hit that ball hard. When I saws that it had gone over, that was a very cool moment.”

Central dropped to 13-2 with the loss while P-O improved to 10-3, avenging one of those three losses with the win.

“Central is a challenge anytime you play them,” Gonder said. “I told the girls before the game that we had a long bus ride home from Central after we lost that game. We wanted to make sure they had a long bus ride home too.”