High School Sports

High school softball: Big inning powers Philipsburg-Osceola past Central

Philipsburg-Osceola did what it usually does in its 9-2 win over visiting Central on Thursday.

In nearly all of their 11 wins, the Lady Mounties have taken advantage of the opportunity for a big inning and blown the game open.

Against the Lady Dragons, the Lady Mounties were holding a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth inning. When the inning was over, they were up 7-2 and cruising. It’s what they do.

P-O took a 1-0 lead against Lexi Ritchey in the first inning without a hit as Megan Bainey walked, stole second, went to third on a fly ball and scored on an error on Haylee Hayward’s grounder.

The Lady Dragons answered in the third when Cassidi Barnes drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a fielder’s choice, took third on an error on Olivia Smith’s grounder. Jenna Ritchey laid down a perfect squeeze bunt toward first to score Barnes and Smith scored on Marissa Snyder’s sacrifice fly to right.

Trailing 2-1, P-O grabbed the lead back on a two-out single by Burge and a homer by Hayward.

Then the Lady Mounties got serious and sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth. The trouble started with a walk to Chelsey Henry. Jayde Burge followed with a single and Hannah Thompson doubled into the left-center gap for two runs. Maggie Peck singled Thompson home and McKenzie Burge’s double drove in Peck with the fourth run of the inning.

“That single by (Jayde) Burge and Thompson’s hit, those were the biggest runs of the game,’’ said P-O coach Jim Gonder. “ I thought the bottom of the order came through today (Burge hits seventh and Thompson eighth). All we ask of them is to chip in, advance a runner, get an RBI, get hit by a pitch.

“I thought we played pretty good defense today. Haylee (Hayward, third base) and Abby (Showers, shortstop) played really well on the left side. I’m really happy with that win. I was expecting a tough game.’’

P-O scored its final runs in the sixth on singles by McKenzie Burge, Hayward and Showers.

“They’re good,’’ said Central coach Dale Walters. “They love to play the game and it shows. They love being in big games. There’s no fear factor there. They love it, we shy away from it.’’

Peck threw a one-hitter, yielding a sharp single to Marissa Snyder in the first inning, walking three and striking out two.

“Maggie threw well,’’ Walters said. “She did a good job of keeping the ball down and changing speeds.’’

Gonder was surprised to learn that Peck had allowed only one hit.

“She struggled a little to start but then she got things under control, kept the ball down, moved it around,” he said. “I didn’t know she only gave up one hit. That was a quiet one-hitter.”