For three innings, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola were locked up in a typical Mountain League softball game with the Lady Mounties holding a 3-1 lead.
But a combination of three outfield errors, four P-O hits and a walk led to eight runs in the fourth inning and an 11-1, five-inning win Tuesday.
“The wheels fell off in that inning,” said Penns Valley coach Don Lucas. “We’ve been doing that all year. We let a couple of balls drop, then someone gets a hit.”
Penns Valley got on the scoreboard first, getting to starter Morgan Thompson for a pair of singles by Abby Thom and Liz Brooks. An error and a fielder’s choice put runners on first and third when Dana Brown hit a soft liner just behind second that P-O shortstop Abby Showers ran down, then doubled the runner off first to end the inning.
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“What can you say about Showers? She’s a great player,” Lucas added. “That whole infield is experienced and they play the game well.”
P-O coach Jim Gonder also singled out the early double play as being key to the outcome.
“That was probably the big play in the game,” he said. “If that ball drops they score a run and who knows what happens?”
What did happen was an explosion in the fourth that sealed the outcome as the Lady Mounties sent 12 hitters to the plate.
It all started when Showers’ fly to right was misplayed. After that, Chelsey Henry walked, Jayde Burge lashed a two-run double to left-center, Hannah Thompson got to second on an error, Maggie Peck singled in a run, McKenzie Burge singled in a run and Haylee Hayward hit her second triple of the game. Another walk and an error accounted for the final run of the inning.
“In all fairness, those weren’t easy plays,” Gonder said of the outfield errors.
Morgan Thompson allowed four hits, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter as Peck got the day off in the circle.
“She did a nice job,” Gonder said of Thompson. “She settled down after the first inning. I was glad we were able to get her some work.”
Hayward led the P-O attack with a pair of triples while Peck had a pair of hits and an RBI. Jayde Burge added two hits and two RBIs.
“Maggie and Haylee are on a streak so that’s nice for us,” Gonder added.
Lyons had two of the four hits for the Rams. Harley Hess took the loss in the circle, allowing seven hits, walking two and striking out three.