PHILIPSBURG - In an attempt to get the District 6 Class AA first-round game between second-seeded Philipsburg-Osceola and 15th-seeded Central Cambria in before the rain came, the first pitch was thrown about 10 minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. start.
The P-O hitters began their attack pretty early also on Thursday at the Curtis Park Athletic Complex.
Started by leadoff hitter Abby Showers doubling off the top of the center field fence, the Lady Mounties scored three runs on four hits in the first inning. P-O pounded out 14 hits, and Chelsey Henry tossed a four-hitter en route to an 11-1 win over the Lady Red Devils in five innings.
"I think they were real key," P-O coach Jim Gonder said of the early runs. "I think it allowed our pitcher to relax a little bit, our defense relaxed and our hitters relaxed."
"We played very solid defense. They [P-O] just hit," CC coach Jamie Dixon said. "They're power hitters, and one through nine, they hit. I'm proud of the girls because when I played against Philipsburg, we would get murdered in three innings."
P-O (17-4) will play 10th-seeded Mount Union, a surprise 12-8 winner over Central, at 4 p.m. Monday at home in the quarterfinals. P-O split this season with Central, with both teams pulling off late rallies for wins.
The leadoff hit by Showers, who went 3-for-4, and back-to-back singles by Haley Frank and Kenzie Burge produced two runs off of pitcher Morgan Ostinowsky. Megan Bainey chased Burge home later with a two-out single to left field.
P-O added four more runs in the third when Henry smacked the first of her two doubles, scoring Haylee Hayward. Courtesy runner Shawna Lumadue scored from third on an error, and No. 9 hitter Annie Kost stroked a two-run single.
A 7-0 lead was more than enough for Henry, who had two strikeouts and two walks and took advantage of a defense that committed only one error. Showers, who moved from shortstop to third base late in the season because of an arm injury, handled two ground balls in the third.
Hayward, who moved from third to shorstop, handled back-to-back grounders to start the fifth.
Kirsten LaJudice's bad-hop grounder a little wide of Showers was the first CC hit in the fourth inning. But a line-drive double play followed that.
"We just knew we had to play better defense," Gonder said. "They hit some balls hard, and we made the plays. Defensively, we haven't been playing real well. You can't give a team three, four or five outs.
"I thought Chelsey did a nice job tonight. She got ahead in the count more frequently, and that's going to be a key for her the rest of the year. Once she gets ahead in the count, she's got a couple other pitches she can throw."
As rain began to spit and the wind picked up, P-O scored two more runs in the fourth before the Lady Devils scored a run in the fifth on a single to center by Chelsey Long, the only CC senior.
P-O finished the game in the bottom of the inning with two runs, the first of which scored on Frank's double to left - the 100th hit of her career.
"In softball, that's a pretty big accomplishment," Gonder said. "She didn't play that much as a freshman, so she had to average a lot the last three years."
CENTRAL CAMBRIA (1): Long c 301, Novitsky lf 301, LaJudice 3b 101, Berzonsky cf 200, Ostinowsky p 200, Boring 1b 200, Hildebrand ss 200, Ju. Schaffer rf 110, Grata dp 201, Je. Schaffer 2b 000. Totals - 18-1-4.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (11): Showers 3b 423, Frank c 412, Burge 1b 411, Hayward ss 221, Henry p 302, Lumadue cr 020, Bainey cf 211, Peck 2b 311, Wagner lf 212, Kost 201, Kephart ph 100. Totals - 27-11-14.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Central Cambria000 01X X- 1 4 4
Philipsburg-Osceola304 22X X-11 14 1
E-Long, Novitsky, Hildebrand, Schaffer; Peck. 2B-Showers, Frank, Hayward, Henry 2. RBI-Long; Frank 2, Burge 2, Henry 2, Bainey, Peck 2, Kost 2. SB-Bainey. CS-Peck (by Long). SAC-Wagner. HBP-Bainey. DP-Philipsburg-Osceola. LOB-Central Cambria 4, Philipsburg-Osceola 5.
Central Cambria: Ostinowsky (L)-4 IP, 14 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO.
Philipsburg-Osceola: Henry (W)-5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO.
Records: Central Cambria (7-10); Philipsburg-Osceola (17-4).