UNIVERSITY PARK - The Philipsburg-Osceola hitters started stinging the ball in the first two innings, but the Lady Mounties had nothing to show for it against South Allegheny pitcher Sarah Jacobs.
And then Mackenzie Wilson's two-run triple to right-center field in the third opened up the floodgates in the first-round PIAA playoff game.
The Lady Mounties scored six runs in the third and battered Jacobs for 14 hits, including six extra base hits, in support of Chelsea Rex, who was a fourth-inning infield hit away from a perfect game in a 10-0 romp in six innings Monday at Nittany Lion Softball Park.
"If someone gets a hit, we're all pumped up," Wilson said. "We know if they get on, we have to do the same thing. We have to drive them in or advance them. We're pumped up. We definitely got on her the second time around."
"I think we hit the ball like we're capable of hitting the ball," P-O coach Jim Gonder said. "We made things happen offensively. It's a big field, so hit it in the gap and run."
The win moved P-O (22-1) into the state quarterfinals against District 7 runner-up Greensburg Central Catholic, a 1-0 winner over District 10 champ Fairview, on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
P-O began putting pressure on the Gladiators, the District 7 third-placers, right away as Wilson, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, laced a two-out single in the first and stole second. Rex's scorcher to third was gloved by Taylor Geary for the third out. It was the only time Rex was retired as she went 3-for-4.
In the second, Kelci Knepp pounded a one-out triple to the left-center gap, but she got doubled up when Geary gloved Macy Harpster's line drive and tagged her out.
Katie Carpin, who had two infield hits, scored the first run on an Amanda Arnold ground ball with the bases loaded. Wilson then chased home pinch runner Chelsea Brown and Carly Gonder with her triple.
"I was just looking to hit the first pitch," Wilson said. "I did that in the previous at-bat, and it seemed to work. I tried to drive it to the opposite field, which I did."
"The shortstop...I didn't know how we were going to get her out," South Allegheny coach Hal Minford said. "We tried changeups. We tried screwballs. They put pressure on you. They made my pitcher throw a lot more pitches than we wanted to throw."
Rex knocked Wilson in with a single to left. Macy Harpster's single to center plated Rex, and Kate Burge scored on a Jacobs balk as P-O sent 11 batters to the plate.
Arnold's triple to right chased Carly Gonder home in the fourth, and Wilson followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 8-0.
Rex, meanwhile, struck out six of the first nine batters on her way to 10 strikeouts. Wilson, the shortstop, helped her out by making a superb stop and throw to get leadoff hitter Marissa D'Angelo.
"Mackenzie's been doing that every year I've been playing on the softball field with her," Rex said.
She knocked down another D'Angelo grounder in the hole to lead off the fourth, but she couldn't the throw off.
Asked if the infield hit bugged her, Rex said, "A little bit, but not really. The win is more important to me than strikeouts, hits or anything else."
"That's the best team I've seen, and [Rex] is the best pitcher I've seen," Minford said. "She's fantastic. There's not a lot of motion in the windup, and once she gets that riseball jumping, it's tough to hit."
Wilson caught up to a bouncer over Rex's head in the fifth and threw Brystol Johnson out by a step at first base.
Wilson reached base on a Jacobs error in the sixth, went to third on a Rex double and scored on a Burge sacrifice fly. Knepp ended the game with a double to right-center.
"It's awesome to know we have that much power in our lineup one through nine we're going to produce some runs," Rex said. "If we do our job on defense and if I do my job pitching, we should win most of our games."
SOUTH ALLEGHENY (0): M. D'Angelo c 301, Jacobs p 200, Vogt ss 200, Geary 3b 200, Johnson lf 200, Jenkins 2b 200, Kanell 1b 200, Spell rf 200, J. D'Angelo dp 200, Viehl cf 000. Totals - 19-0-1.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (10): Gonder c 401, Arnold 1b 411, Wilson ss 322, Rex p 413, Wisor cr 000, Miller cr 010, Burge 3b 312, Knepp rf 402, Harpster cf 301, Carpin lf 312, Goss dp 200, Brown pr 010, Myers 2b 000. Totals - 29-10-14-9.
SCORE BY INNINGS
E-Jacobs. 2B-Rex, Burge, Knepp. 3B-Arnold, Wilson, Knepp. RBI-Wilson 3, Arnold 2, Rex, Burge, Knepp, Harpster. SAC-Myers. SF-Wilson, Burge. SB-Wilson, Carpin. LOB-South Allegheny 1, Philipsburg-Osceola 6. DP-South Allegheny.
South Allegheny: Jacobs (L)-5 IP, 14 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.
Philipsburg-Osceola: Rex (W)-6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO.
Records: South Allegheny (13-6); Philipsburg-Osceola (22-1).