High School Sports

P-O softball clinches share of Mountain League title with win over BEA

Bald Eagle Area’s Morgan Lucas tags out Philipsburg-Osceola’s Kylie Adams during a game against Bald Eagle Monday, May 15, 2017 at West Penn Fields.
Bald Eagle Area’s Morgan Lucas tags out Philipsburg-Osceola’s Kylie Adams during a game against Bald Eagle Monday, May 15, 2017 at West Penn Fields. psheehan@centredaily.com

As is the case with most schools, banners celebrating the championships of each of its sports teams hang in the Philipsburg-Osceola gymnasium.

There will be at least one more addition to the Lady Mounties’ softball banner after Monday’s 8-2 win over Bald Eagle Area that gave them a share of the Mountain League crown.

“We like putting things on our banner,” said a smiling P-O coach Jim Gonder. “Our first team goal is to win the Mountain League. If you’re able to do that, chances are you’re going to get a high seed (for the District 6 playoffs).”

The Lady Mounties had already achieved that prior to Monday’s game, earning the No. 2 seed for the tournament, which begins Monday. They will entertain No. 7-seed West Shamokin. Central — with whom P-O shares the Mountain League title — received the No. 1 seed and the bye that goes with it.

P-O, which lost to BEA earlier in the season, struck quickly Monday, scoring four runs with two out in the first inning thanks to Kylie Thal’s two-run single, a successful double steal and a single by Sadie Granville, who had three hits in the game.

“I’ll take four runs in the first inning every time we play them,’’ Gonder said. “Scoring four runs with two outs is a bonus.”

BEA coach Don Lucas, who saw his team fall behind Bellefonte 2-0 in the first inning of a 9-1 loss Friday, could only ponder what might have been.

“If we would have made a play here or there, who knows what the outcome might have been?” he asked. “They made the plays, hit the ball. Against them, you either play clean or they will make you pay. And when you play Bellefonte and P-O back-to-back, it’s never a good thing.”

BEA got a run back in the bottom of the first when Caitlyn Close homered to left-center off P-O starter Kam Harris. In the fifth, BEA cut P-O’s lead in half to 4-2, on a double by Megan Kresovich and Madison Ripka’s RBI-single.

P-O matched that in the top of the sixth — and then put the game away in the top of the seventh. The Lady Mounties loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of infield singles, and Rachel Simpson then smacked a bases-clearing double to right field to increase the lead to 8-2.

“You have to give Rachel credit,” Gonder said. “That was a big hit. She hit that ball hard.”

P-O banged out 13 total hits against Ripka, with Madison Lucas and Thal each enjoying a two-hit game.

“We had a chance to score more runs,” Gonder said. “But BEA played good defense, and Ripka did a good job mixing up her pitches. But we got production throughout our lineup, and our defense played well.”

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