UNIVERSITY PARK - Chelsea Rex gloved Mackenzie Magley's ground ball back to the pitching circle and tossed the ball to first baseman Amanda Arnold for the final out.
There was no wild celebration for Philipsburg-Osceola at the shiny new Beard Field after the Lady Mounties had beaten Central Cambria, 8-1, late Wednesday night to win the District 6 Class AA championship - the ninth in P-O history and second in as many years.
Rex, the losing pitcher in last year's marathon state championship loss, has much larger goals in mind.
Photo for the Mirror by Mike Czap
Winning pitcher Chelsea Rex held Central Cambria to just one run.
"My real goal is to win four more games. I want to come back here and win a state championship," Rex said. "This is one step toward that goal. We'll be celebrating tonight. We're having a big pizza party, and I'm excited for that, but it's just one step toward the big goal."
Central Cambria can also make it back to Penn State for the championship game, but the Lady Red Devils are going to have to play a lot better defensively for crafty pitcher Jordan Makin. They committed five combined errors in the fourth and fifth innings, and none of the seven runs in those innings were earned. In fact, there was only one earned run between the teams.
"The game got away [from us] in the bottom of the fourth," CC coach Pat Stock said. "If we make the plays and get out of the inning 1-0, it's still anybody's game. You can't give any team six outs in an inning, and we gave a good team six outs in an inning,"
"I haven't seen Central Cambria play," P-O coach Jim Gonder said, "but I'm sure with the record they have [14-2], they don't commit those kind of errors. We were very fortunate. I don't think you can give us or them four or five outs in an inning and not expect to give up some runs."
Rex struck out 12, gave up five hits and didn't walk a batter. The Lady Devils did threaten early, putting runners in scoring position in the second and third. But Rex, who threw a lot of pitches in the first three innings, worked out of trouble with strikeouts.
"She's a very nice pitcher," Stock said, "The girl from Penn Cambria [Kate Reese] is roughly the same speed. I think the night game didn't do us any favors. My kids had never played under the lights. But she is the best pitcher we've faced this year."
The P-O batters, meanwhile, were having trouble solving Makin. Of the first eight batters, six of them popped out.
"She changed speeds very well," Gonder said smiling.
P-O finally got on the board as Carly Gonder scored in the third on a two-out fielder's choice off the bat of Rex. And then the floodgates opened.
With two outs and two on in the fourth, the Lady Devils committed three straight errors, and three runs scored. Macy Harpster walked with the bases loaded, forcing home Amanda Arnold to make the score 5-0.
In the fifth, a two-out error was followed by RBI singles by Mackenzie Wilson and Rex. Gonder, Wilson and Kelci Knepp had two hits each.
Both teams will play Monday at undetermined sites. The Lady Mounties play the District 7 third-placer, while Central Cambria plays District 5 champion Chestnut Ridge.
"Obviously, when you win a district title that's a big deal for all of us," Gonder said. "Hopefully, it's a stepping stone into the playoffs."
Central Cambria (1): Lorditch cf 301, Swatsworth ss 312, James c 300, Beyer 1b 300, Vogatsky 3b 301, Espe lf 300, Haluska rf 301, Forcellini dp 300, Magley 2b 300, Makin p 000. Totals: 27-1-5.
Philipsburg-Osceola (8): Gonder c 332, Arnold 1b 421, Wilson ss 402, Rex p 402, Burge 3b 300, Harpster cf 411, Knepp lf 402, Frank pr 010, Goss dp 300, Wisor ph 100, Carpin rf 411, Myers 2b 000. Totals: 34-8-11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Central Cambria000 001 0-1 5 5
Philipsburg-Osceola001 430 X-8 11 1
E-Swatsworth, James, Beyer, Vogatsky, Magley; Burge. RBI-Wilson, Rex 2, Burge. LOB-Central Cambria 5, Philipsburg-Osceola 10. 2B-Swatsworth 2; Knepp. SB-Gonder.
Central Cambria: Makin (L)-6 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO.
Philipsburg-Osceola: Rex (W)-7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO.
Records: Central Cambria (14-2). Philipsburg-Osceola (21-1).