Lady Mounties capture 12th district title

UNIVERSITY PARK Accustomed to taking home the District 6 Class AA championship trophy and sometimes the PIAA state title trophy, the Philipsburg-Osceola softball team hadn’t won a District 6 title since 2013.

In fact, the Lady Mounties were turned away from their 12th district title in 2014 by rival Bald Eagle Area in eight innings. They

left Penn State’s Beard Field in tears, and they didn’t want to feel like that again on Wednesday night against the Eagles before another packed, vocal crowd at Nittany Lion Softball Park.

Thanks to a two-hitter and two runs driven in by freshman pitcher Kam Harris, the Lady Mounties captured their 12th district title, 4-0, and celebrated with gusto when catcher Kylie Thal caught a pop-up for the final out.

Afterward, junior Maggie Peck, the losing pitcher in relief in that 2014 championship game, was emotional when asked how it felt to win.

“Oh this is awesome,” she said as her eyes welled up with tears. “We felt so bad the last time we played here. We really wanted this one.”

With the win, the Lady Mounties improved to 21-2 and will return to Beard Field on Monday at a time to be announced for the first round of the state playoffs against the District 7 third-placer. BEA (16-5) will play the District 7 champion at a time and site to be announced.

While Peck was the hard-luck loser in that title game two years ago, there was no denying Harris of a win. She struck out seven, walked one and retired the first 14 batters she faced before No. 5 hitter Olivia Andrews singled to left field with two outs in the fifth inning.

“She was definitely the star of the game,” BEA coach Don Lucas said. “She kept us on our front foot for most of the night.”

Asked if she was definitely a freshman, Harris laughed and said “Yeah, I’m a freshman.”

“I’m not amazed at what she did,” P-O coach Jim Gonder said. “We know she’s capable of that kind of performance.”

The Lady Mounties drew first blood in the first inning as Peck walked, moved to second base on a Kylie Thal sacrifice bunt and scored on Chelsey Henry’s two-out bloop hit into right-center field.

BEA pitcher Zoey Surovec almost got her head taken off by the next hitter, Harris, who hit a head-high scorcher back to her counterpart, but the Lady Eagle got a glove on it, dropped the glove and threw Harris out.

Surovec was just as tough in the pitching circle in the second, third and fourth innings as the game flew by. Surovec, who tossed a five-hitter, took a one-hitter into the fifth inning.

P-O No. 9 hitter Hannah Thompson gave the Lady Mounties a 2-0 lead in the fifth when she singled in Madison Lucas with two outs. Lucas reached on an infield hit and moved to second on a Kendra Carns sacrifice bunt.

The Lady Mounties scored two more in the sixth. Thal singled to center and Henry was hit by a pitch before Harris chased them both home with a double to deep center field. Henry just avoided the tag of catcher Morgan Nyman for the second run.

That was all Harris needed. The only time she was threatened was in the top of the sixth as BEA had runners on first and second, but she struck out No. 3 hitter Brooke Woodward for the third out. Harris also struck out the No. 5 hitter, Morgan Peters, twice.

“She was unbelievable,” Peck said of Harris. “She has a lot of poise, and we have a lot of confidence in her.”

After hoisting the trophy and posing for a team picture, Peck was asked how the team would celebrate the win.

“We’ll probably have a pizza party,” she said with a smile. “But then it’s back to practice tomorrow, and we’re playing again on Monday.”

Notes: The scheduled 7:30 p.m. game didn’t start until 8:10 because of earlier games. Third baseman Andrews handled three ground balls in the fourth, including a Major League stab for the second. Thal made a diving catch for an out in the sixth.

Bald Eagle Area (0): Nyman c 300, Dillon cf 200, B. Woodward rf 300, Shultz 1b 300, Peters dp 300, Andrews 3b 301, S. Woodward pr 000, Ripka 2b 200, Kresovich lf 201, Smith ss 200, Surovec p 000. Totals: 23-0-2.

Philipsburg-Osceola: Peck 1b 110, Thal c 211, Hayward 3b 300, Henry lf 211, Harris p 301, Taylor cr 000, Burge dp 300, Lucas rf 311, Carns 100, Thompson ss 201, Granville 2b 000. Totals: 20-4-5.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Bald Eagle Area000 000 0-0 2 0

Philipsburg-Osceola100 012 X-4 5 0

2B-Harris. RBIs-Harris 2, Henry, Thompson. SAC-Thal, Carns. CS-Peck (by Nyman). HBP-Peck, Henry (by Surovec). LOB-Bald Eagle Area 3, Philipsburg-Osceola 3.

PITCHING

Bald Eagle Area: Surovec (L)-6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO

Philipsburg-Osceola: Harris (W)-7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

Records: Bald Eagle Area (16-5); Philipsburg-Osceola (21-2)

Time of game: 1:35