For two straight seasons, the Philipsburg-Osceola softball team had seen its season end at the hands of South Park.
The Lady Mounties made sure that was not the case again Thursday at St. Francis University. Philipsburg-Osceola held on for an 8-6 victory against South Park in the PIAA Class 3A softball quarterfinals.
The Lady Mounties will play against Southmoreland on Monday in the state semifinals with a trip to the state championship game on the line. Southmoreland, the District 7 champs, defeated Hickory 7-0 on Thursday.
“It’s obviously nice to get that win, against South Park especially,” Lady Mounties coach Jim Gonder told the CDT's Abby Drey. “But I just told my kids, ‘Girls don’t put too much energy into that game. It’s great that we won, but our next goal is Monday. We have to go out and play again Monday.’ We’re not happy just getting to the Final Four now. We have two more steps to climb.”
Philipsburg-Osceola took a 5-0 lead after two innings, but the score stood 7-6 heading into the seventh. Kylie Thal added an insurance run with an RBI double in the top of the seventh, and pitcher Kamryn Harris ended the day with her 10th strikeout to clinch the victory.
“We had our second pitcher warmed up ready to go, but our pitching coach Jerry Watson said let’s stick with her,” Gonder said. “He made a great call on that last pitch.”
Harris pitched out of several jams Thursday, including two bases-loaded situations. She said the key was her confidence in her teammates.
“I think a lot of it is just having your teammates behind your back,” she said. “I’m not the only one on this team, so I think as long as I know they’re behind me, we can get through anything.”
Harris pitched all seven innings for Philipsburg-Osceola and also drove in three runs at the plate. Maddie Lucas also had two RBIs for the Lady Mounties.
“Offensively, we had some clutch hitting,” Gonder said. “We know they can hit, and our pitcher did a good job of mixing her pitches up to keep the score down. That’s a big score, but it really isn’t when you look at their scores.”