PHILIPSBURG - When you've reached this point of the season, the importance of getting down a sacrifice bunt can be the difference between a win and a loss.
With a runner on first and her team trailing Mount Union, 1-0, in a District 6 Class AA semifinal contest, Philipsburg-Osceola softball player Katie Carpin got her job done.
Carpin's sacrifice on a full count moved Kayla Wisor into scoring position, and Mackenzie Burge knocked in pinch-runner Katie Meersand two hitters later with a double that ignited the Lady Mounties, who tacked on five more runs for a 6-1 win.
P-O (19-4) will tangle with Central on Wednesday at Penn State's Beard Field at a time to be determined.
"I was pretty disappointed in myself for not getting it down the first two times," said Carpin. "But when [coach Jim Gonder] gave me the third chance, I felt pretty confident I could get it down. I practice bunting a lot so I knew I would get it down.
"Whenever we get a bunt down and get a sacrifice, we realize how much that means in this game. We practice that a lot because we know it can mean a lot in a game."
After the bunt by Carpin and the double from Burge, things went from bad to worse for the Lady Trojans, who committed a pair of errors that led to three more runs.
The Lady Mounties tacked on two more runs on a double from Carly Gonder in the sixth to set the final.
"We had them scouted and we knew that they liked to bunt a lot," Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus said of P-O. "That's the way softball is at the end of the year - you've got to play small ball to get a couple runs."
The deficit was something the Lady Mounties were unaccustomed to this postseason, as pitcher Kate Burge entered the contest by throwing 11 innings of no-hit softball.
Burge, who was battling illness, shook off the ill effects of a 1-0 deficit to stymie Mount Union, which only mustered an RBI single from Liza Feagley in the fourth.
The Lady Mountie hurler walked one and struck out eight.
"She was a questionable starter today," P-O coach Jim Gonder said. "She wasn't at practice last night because she was sick. Actually, we told Morgan [Williamson], 'you're pitching tomorrow,' and we left practice last night with Morgan being our pitcher.
"She sucked it up big time."
The Lady Mounties had runners in scoring position in the second and third innings, but it wasn't until Mackenzie Burge's blast to left-center field in the fifth that the floodgates opened for P-O.
Burge pounced all over a One-strike offering from Alex Smith, and the Lady Mounties didn't look back.
"It was an outside pitch, and that's usually not my best pitch to hit," said Burge. "I knew I had to get a lot of power behind it to get that run in, and I grunted to get the power I needed.
"The first one I looked at, it was in my spot where I could have hit it. I wasn't quite sure. I was a little hesitant. The second pitch was there and I thought, 'Okay, I've got to get that run in,' so I swung. It felt good [coming off the bat]."
Mount Union (1): K. Miles dp 300, Brumbaugh c 211, T. Miles 1b 300, M. Shugarts 2b-p 300, Feagley rf-3b 301, Drake 3b-2b 300, A. Smith p 201, Dimoff rf 000, L. Shugarts lf 200, Querry lf 000, Guiliante ss 200, K. Smith cf (flex) 000. Totals-23-1-3-1.
Philipsburg-Osceola (6): Gonder c 402, M. Burge 1b 411, Showers ss 210, K. Burge p 312, Goss lf 201, Frank 3b 300, Williamson dp 311, Wisor rf 200, Meersand pr 010, Carpin cf 211, Myers 2b (flex) 000. Totals-25-6-8-6.
Mount Union000 100 0-1 3 2
Philipsburg-Osceola000 042 x-6 8 0
E-Guiliante, K. Smith. 2B-A. Smith; Gonder, M. Burge, Carpin.
Mount Union: A. Smith (L) -4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO; M. Shugarts-1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.
P-O: K. Burge (W) -7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO.