CLAYSBURG - Claysburg-Kimmel coach Mike Barbarini and Ferndale coach Art McLucas both were anticipating the Lady Bulldogs would eventually have a big inning at the plate during Thursday afternoon's District 6 Class A semifinal.
However, Lady Yellow Jacket pitcher Taylor Yuhas had something to say about that as the sophomore tossed six innings of three-hit ball.
Fortunately for C-K, junior pitcher Kiersten Coho was even better as she scattered just three hits over six innings while striking out nine and walking none, helping Claysburg to a fifth straight title game with a 2-1 victory at home.
Mirror photo by Patrick?Waksmunski
Kala Brumbaugh drops down a bunt for Claysburg-Kimmel on Thursday.
"I believed we were going to score a couple of runs, so I didn't think we were in too much danger with them scoring one, but I knew we couldn't give up any more," Barbarini said. "We ended up scratching out two runs and winning the ballgame."
"We looked and a lot of games throughout the season, they [Claysburg] had a big inning where they would score a lot of runs," Ferndale coach Art McLucas said. "We did what we needed to do [defensively] but not on the offensive side."
With the game tied, 1-1, in the sixth inning, the Lady Bulldogs resigned themselves to manufacturing a run as Kala Brumbaugh stole second after drawing a walk. Shortstop Mallory Cox laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Brumbaugh to reach third.
With Courtlin Holland at the plate, the ever-ready Brumbaugh didn't hesitate when Ferndale catcher Lauren Olshewsky let Yuhas' pitch get past her, and she came in to score the winning run.
"I knew I had to go. As soon as that ball hit off her glove, I was running," Brumbaugh said. "I was going no matter what."
Coho struck out six through the first three innings, including the side in the second. However, the Yellow Jackets (13-6) made a few adjustments the second time through the order, and leadoff hitter Cassandra Vivis singled to left to open the fourth.
Olshewsky singled to center and Vivis came around to score when C-K third baseman Hannah Claycomb misplayed the throw. Olshewsky was awarded third base but was left stranded on base as Coho and her teammates were able to get the next three outs.
"We had the run stuck on third. That was a big play of the game," McLucas said. "If we could have gotten her across, we might still be playing into the bottom of the seventh We just couldn't get the one extra hit we needed to get the run across the plate."
Claysburg-Kimmel knotted the game in the fifth inning when Abby Kulick singled with two outs, then moved to second base on an error by Leah Cenko. Courtesy runner Rachel Walter came around the score on the errant throw to finally get the Lady Bulldogs on the board.
I knew it was going to be a pitchers duel coming in but I thought we'd put the ball in play, even a little bit harder than what we did," Barbarini said. "It's depressing that we didn't hit the ball a little bit better because we did practice yesterday with hitting faster pitching. We just couldn't get our hands out quick enough to hit the ball."
Claysburg improved to 18-3 and will battle for the title next Wednesday at Penn State at a time to be determined. The Lady Bulldogs have won the district championship during the odd years (2009 and 2011) while losing in 2010 and 2012.
SCORE BY INNINGS
FERNDALE 000 100 0 1 3 3
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL 000 011 X 2 3 3
FERNDALE (1): Vivis ss 311, La. Olshewsky c 301, Li. Olshewsky cf 300, Yuhas p 300, Clites 2b 301, Cenko 3b 200, Thomas lf 200, Baumbaugh 1b 200, Rager rf 200. Totals 23 1 3.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (2): M. Ickes 2b 300, Brumbaugh cf 210, Cox ss 201, Holland c 200, Wannyn cr 000, LeMaster 1b 300, Coho p 201, Walter cr 010, Claycomb 3b 200, Kulick rf 201, Ritchey lf 100. Totals: 19 2 3.
E-La. Olshewsky, Cenko, Claycomb, M. Ickes, Kulick. PB-La. Olshewsky.
SB-Cox, Brumbaugh. 2B-Coho.
Yuhas (L): 6 innings, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB.
Coho (W): 7 innings, 3 H, 1 ER, 9 SO, 0 BB.