CRESSON - The Penn Cambria softball team hasn't done much wrong this season.
The Lady Panthers' impressive record proves it.
Thursday afternoon in the District 6 Class AA playoffs, they kept rolling along.
Thanks to two big offensive innings and another strong pitching performance from Kelly Yusko, fourth-seeded Penn Cambria easily dispatched No. 13 Blairsville, 8-2, to win its 15th consecutive game.
The Lady Panthers improved to 16-1 - their lone loss was to Richland in the second game of the season.
Yusko had trouble opening the game, giving up a leadoff single to MacKenzie Livingston and firing two wild pitches in Emily Okapal's at-bat to move Livingston to third. Samantha Harsh drove in Livingston to give the Lady Bobcats the early lead, but Yusko settled in from there.
Yusko, a sophomore, scattered six strikeouts and no walks in her complete-game five-hitter. Both Blarisville runs were earned.
"We always seem to start slow," Penn Cambria coach John Casale said. "We knew Blairsville, the top of their lineup can get up and make something happen. We always hope that we can get towards the middle to the bottom of the lineup, [Yusko] can settle down and get some outs.
"She's young. She misses with some pitches, but she does a great job."
Of the five hits Yusko gave up, none were to Okapal or Harsh, the Bobcats' two best hitters, from the second and third spots in the lineup, respectively.
"They were our best hitters all year and they didn't have a hit today," said Blairsville coach Frank Harsh, whose team finished the season 10-9. "That's what really hurt us.
"We just didn't hit the ball. We've been hitting well all year. I think we were a little bit tentative and a little bit nervous coming into the playoff game."
Nerves took over for the Blairsville defense in the first inning, too.
The Lady Panthers scored four unearned runs on two hits, two wild pitches, two questionable fielder's choices and an error.
Penn Cambria scored three more unearned runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by MacKenzie McIntosh's two-out, two-run triple.
"The first inning, we were a little tentative and had the jitters," Harsh said. "We should have made some plays. It should have been a scoreless inning.
"I think the score should have been a lot closer."
The Panthers' Taylor Freeman was 3-for-3 - all bunt singles - and had two stolen bases, essentially turning base hits into doubles.
"[Freeman] is an excellent bunter," Casale said. "She doesn't want to hit any more. She wants to bunt. That's all she wants to do. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense, even when they try to make a play, they're rushing.
"Then when she is on base, I pull the trigger. There's no [catcher] in the league I'd hesitate to send her on."
Penn Cambria will host fifth-seeded Central in Monday's quarterfinals.
The Dragons (15-4) defeated No. 12 Forest Hills, 8-2, in its first-round game Thursday afternoon.
"They are a very disciplined team," Casale said of Central. "They are very defensively sound. They do an excellent job. We'll have to earn everything we get. They have steady pitching, and they don't make a lot of mistakes."
BLAIRSVILLE (2): Ma. Livingston ss 412, Okapal p 300, Harsh c 300, Te. Lingenfelter lf 300, Ti. Lingenfelter 1b 312, Oswald 3b 301, Z. Peace rf 300, Snell cf 200, A. Peace cr-ph 100, Hitchman 2b 300. Totals - 30-2-5.
PENN CAMBRIA (8): Freeman ss 313, S. Roberts 3b 310, Yusko p 401, Kowalski cr 010, Reese c 321, Little 2b 110, Kleman lf 200, S. Hurley cr 010, McIntosh dp 311, Me. Livingston fl 000, Cr. Smith cf 301, E. Roberts 1b 200, Ca. Smith ph 100. Totals - 25-8-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Blairsville100 100 0-2 5 2
Penn Cambria401 030 X-8 7 3
E-Okapal, Ma. Livingston, Little, Me. Livingston, E. Roberts. DP-Blairsville 1, Penn Cambria 1. LOB-Blairsville 5, Penn Cambria 4. 2B-Ti. Lingenfelter 2. 3B-McIntosh. RBI-Harsh, Oswald, Yusko, Reese, Little, McIntosh 2, Cr. Smith. SAC-S. Roberts. SB-Freeman 2. CS-Cr. Smith.
Blairsville-Okapal (L), 6 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 0 SO.
Penn Cambria-Yusko (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO.
WP-Okapal 3, Yusko 2.
Records: Blairsville (10-9), Penn Cambria (16-1).