THREE SPRINGS - Coming into Thursday's District 6 Class A semifinal softball game, both Portage coach Bryan Jubina and Southern Huntingdon coach Terri Lessley admitted they knew nothing about the opposing team. Lessley, in her 16th year, even pointed out that the two schools had never met during her tenure.
Both coaches found out what the other was all about pretty quickly. Offense.
The two teams combined for 16 runs and 24 hits, and Southern Huntingdon was able to rally past Portage, 10-6, to advance to the District 6-A championship game.
"We definitely hit the ball," Jubina said. "It was similar to our WestPAC championship game that we won, 11-10. They had some really good hitters as well."
Portage was able to start fast when Alli Kissell and Emily McCabe singled in the top of the first, and Kissell was singled in by Becca Gorba to grab a 1-0 lead.
Southern answered in its half of the first. Leadoff hitter Molly Detwiler got on base on an error and Kelsey Jenkins sacrificed her over to second base. McKenna Garlock hit a single to put runners at second and third before cleanup hitter Kara Leonard brought in Detwiler and Garlock with a triple to left-center.
The Lady Mustangs were back at it in the second inning, scoring three runs on two hits and three errors and built its lead to 6-3 in the top of the fifth when cleanup hitter Emily McCabe drove a solo home run over the right field fence.
McCabe finished with four hits in four at bats, scoring two runs and adding an RBI.
"She's been steady all year," Jubina said. "She's one of our better hitters, a senior unfortunately, but we will miss her."
Chandler Kern, Elaine Varner and Morgan Sheeder each had singles to start Southern's half of the fifth inning, as Kern scored on Sheeder's single and Varner was brought in on Goshorn's sacrifice fly, to bring it within one, at 6-5.
After trailing the entire game, Southern was able to finally grab the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jenkins reached via error, Garlock doubled and Leonard brought both in with a two-RBI single. Varner's triple scored Leonard, who was brought in on the next play by a Sheeder single. Sheeder and Detwiler would score with two outs to finish the scoring.
"They weren't fazed," Lessley said of her team facing a 6-3 deficit. "They know they can hit the ball. That's in their minds. They just had to buckle down and do it"
Portage managed just two baserunners after McCabe's home run to start the fifth, as its season will end at 16-6.
"I knew we needed to add [runs] on," Jubina said. "We didn't do it in the later innings. We are losing our two senior starters, Emily McCabe and Jordan Forst. We just gave away a couple [runs via errors] and you can't do that and win."
Southern will move on to face Claysburg-Kimmel in the District 6 Class A championship game on Tuesday at Penn State.
PORTAGE (6): Layo 2b 401, Zatek ss 401, Kissell 3b 411, McCabe rf 424, Gorba 1b-p-1b 401, Heidler p-1b-p 401, Forst cf 210, C. Jubina c 311, K. Jubina lf 310. Totals-32-6-10.
SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON (10): Detwiler lf 511, Jenkins ss 411, Garlock c 422, Leonard 3b 412, Kern 1b 422, Varner dh 302, Sheeder cf 313, Zinobile p 200, Brodbeck p 200, Goshorn 2b 201, King rf 020. Totals-33-10-14.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Portage131 010 0 - 6 10 3
Southern Huntingdon201 025 X - 10 14 3
E-Kissell 2, Zatek, Leonard, Detwiler, Goshorn. 2B-McCabe 2, Detwiler, Jenkins, Garlock. 3B-Leonard, Varner. HR-McCabe. RBI-Leonard 3, Sheeder 2, Detwiler, Garlock, Varner, Goshorn, Gorba, McCabe, Heidler. SB-Sheeder 3, King. SAC-Jenkins, Goshorn. DP-Southern Huntingdon 1. LOB-Portage 8, Southern Huntingdon 10.
Portage: Heidler-5 1/3 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 K, BB; Gorba (L) 2/3 IP, 3H, 4 R, 4 ER, K, 2 BB.
Southern Huntingdon: Zinobile-4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 K, 0 BB; Brodbeck (W)-3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K, BB.
Records: Portage (16-6); Southern Huntingdon (18-3).