PHILIPSBURG - Defense can either make you or break you, and it was proven true on Monday.
Philipsburg-Osceola took advantage of three Mount Union errors and got an early lead on a home run to win, 5-1, and advance to the District 6-AA softball semifinals.
"I thought the kids played really well defensively," Lady Mounties coach Jim Gonder said. "I thought we ran the bases well, it put some pressure on their team. Our short game was better than it was last time we were out. We know getting into the playoffs we got to have a good short game."
It wasn't so much as P-O's short game that got the Lady Mounties (19-1) on the board first. It came by way of the long ball.
Haley Frank opened the first inning by getting hit by a pitch and being awarded first base. After two straight flyouts, sophomore Abby Showers came to the plate. Showers delivered a two-run home run over the left-center field wall just missing the scoreboard.
"Obviously, Abby Showers kick-starting us in the first inning was a big play in the game for us," Gonder said. "It helped everyone else relax."
Showers added: "The pitch was just there and I attacked. Coach was saying about how last year we didn't hit till the end. He told us to jump early, so I wanted to jump early and get my team ahead, so we could relax."
The Lady Trojans (15-5) didn't back down from the blast they had given up by getting one of those runs back in the second inning.
Chapin Guiliante opened the frame with a single straight through the middle of the infield. Following two quick outs, Marissa Dimoff smacked a triple to left field scoring Guiliante.
However, that would be all she wrote for Mount Union the rest of the game.
"Philipsburg is a tough team," Lady Trojans coach Matt Fiscus said. "We made a lot of mistakes in the field today that we don't normally make. We just made way too many mistakes in the field for this time of the year."
Two of the three errors that Fiscus' team committed allowed runs to score for the Lady Mounties.
The first came in the fourth inning that saw Guiliante, who was playing shortstop, make a throw to third that skipped off of Megan Bainey, who was sliding into the plate, and into left field.
Bainey quickly jumped up and went on to score stretch P-O's lead to, 4-1.
The final came in the fifth inning with Mackenzie Burge on first. Kate Burge laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Mackenzie over to second. Mackenzie looked to have overrun the base on purpose and caused a bad throw from first baseman, Kristin Miles.
With the win, the Lady Mounties will now face reigning District 6-AA champion Bellwood-Antis, which defeated Penns Valley, 5-3. Gonder knows what his team is up against and is ready to face the challenge.
"Bellwood has a quality team and a good program," Gonder said about the matchup. "We are excited to play them."
MOUNT UNION (1): Miles 1b 301, Drake 2b 301, Feagley 3b 300, Brumbaugh c 300, Guiliante ss 311, Aurand p 300, Smith cf 100, Morder ph 100, Dimoff rf 302, Shugarts lf 100, Querry lf 100. Totals 26-1-5.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (5): Frank rf 411, M. Burge 1b 311, K. Burge p 300, Henry cr 000, Showers ss 211, Hayward 3b 300, Goss lf 301, Gonder c 200, Bainey cf 311, Shedlock flex 312, Myers 2b 000. Totals 26-5-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bishop McCort010 000 0 - 1 5 3
Philipsburg-Osceola201 110 X - 5 7 1
E-Miles, Guiliante 2, Bainey. 2B-M. Burge. 3B-Dimoff. HR-Showers. RBI-Dimoff, M. Burge, Showers 2. WP-K. Burge. LP-Aurand. SO-Aurand 3, K. Burge 9. BB-Aurand 3, K. Burge.
Records: Mount Union (15-5); Philipsburg-Osceola (19-1).