Lady Mounties run over Deer Lakes

CRESSON — With Kameryn Harris coming off of her fourth straight shutout in the postseason, the Philipsburg-Osceola softball team just needed a little offense in its PIAA Class 3A state quarterfinal against Deer Lakes on Thursday at Mount Aloysius College.

The Lady Mounties certainly got that in support of Harris, pounding the ball from the start off of pitcher Kristen Rudy.

P-O had 11 hits, including a four-hit performance from No. 3 hitter Madison Lucas, who had two of the team’s five extra-base hits. Harris smacked a home run in a two-run third inning, and she pitched six scoreless innings before giving up a couple runs in the seventh of a 6-2 victory.

“Obiously Madison had one heck of a game. She really ignited the offense for us,” P-O coach Jim Gonder said. “Kam tired a little bit at the end. I think we left some runs out there again (P-O left nine on base). We’ve got to clean some mistakes up. This wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but it was good enough to win today, I guess.”

“We brought our 9 irons instead of our drivers today,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “We put the ball in play, but it’s pretty easy (for the opposition) when you’re hitting fly ball outs. Kind of unusual for us. We hit a lot better through the season, but you have to credit the pitcher too for changing pace and hitting her spots.”

The Lady Mounties (20-3) advanced to Monday’s PIAA semifinal against South Park, an 11-0 winner over Elwood City. The site and time of the game will likely be announced today.

Lucas’ first hit was a two-out double to deep left field in the first inning. She scored when Harris’ head-high line drive to second baseman Becca Hoffman was mishandled.

In the third, Lucas singled to right field with one out, but she was erased trying to steal second base. Right after Lucas was thrown out, Harris hit a screaming missile over the left field fence, 225-feet away.

“I actually didn’t know it was gone when I hit it,” Harris said. “It’s one of those feelings when it hits right on the sweet spot (of the bat), and you don’t even know that it’s gone. But it was great to know when it was (gone).”

“I wasn’t sure it went over,” Gonder said, “but she got all of it.”

Jayde Burge followed with a single to left, and Kylie Thal, who had two hits, chased Burge home with a double to left field.

Harris, meanwhile, retired the first 11 Lancers she faced to extend her consecutive out streak to 32 after ending Monday’s game against Pequea Valley on a 21-batter streak.

No. 3 hitter Katelynn Blair ended the streak when she doubled to left-center field with two outs in the fourth.

The Lady Mounties added three more runs in the sixth. Kost walked, Maggie Peck doubled and Hannah Thompson chased them both home with a double to left field.

“Hannah’s hit was a big hit,” Gonder said.

Lucas then plated Thompson with a double to center.

“With our defense, and with our pitcher, it’s a big deal because it helps us keep momentum,” Gonder said of the 3-0 lead. “It takes away their short game. We knew their 9, 1 and 2 hitters play the short game, so that helped us.”

Asked later about the performance by Lucas, who was standing nearby as she was meeting with the media, a laughing Harris said, “Who, Maddie? Oh, wow. I didn’t know. I think it’s awesome that you never who is going to hit a home run or who’s going to go 4-for-4, for example.”

Lucas, a fellow sophomore, went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts against Pequea Valley.

“I hit until I got my swing back,” Lucas said. “I don’t know where it went to. I found my groove.”

Harris’ defensive mates were supporting her again. Left fielder Annie Kost tracked down four fly balls, while third baseman Burge gloved a pop fly on the run near the fence in foul territory.

But the defensive gem of the day came when Deer Lake’s Brittany Dengler hit a sinking fly ball into short center field. The ball tipped off of second baseman Sadie Granville’s glove, but center fielder Kendra Carns made a diving, bare-handed catch of the tipped ball.

The large P-O crowd on the hill overlooking the field roared its approval.

“That’s something we practice a lot,” Gonder joked.

“I told the girls ‘The cards are stacked,'” Taliani said. “When they made a catch like that, you’ve just got to figure it’s not your day today.”

Harris, though, ran into trouble for the first time in the postseason as three of the next four batters had hits, scoring two runs.

Peck relieved Harris after the third hit — a single to center by Maura Cerra.

“I’ve been having some problems with my back,” Harris said, “but, I don’t know, it’s not important.”

Peck induced leadoff hitter Shae Robson into hitting a ground ball to Burge, who calmly fielded the ball and threw to first for the final out.

P-O will get another shot at South Park, which beat the Lady Mounties, 16-12, in last year’s state quarterfinals. P-O scored eight runs in the first inning in that game, but South Park battered the Lady Mounties for 18 hits and took advantage of five errors.

“Hey, we’re in the Final Four,” Gonder said. “We’re going to have fun tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”

Philipsburg-Osceola (6): Peck 1b-p 411, Thompson ss 411, Lucas rf 414, Harris p 411, Taylor cr-lf 000, Simpson 1b-ph 100, Burge 3b 412, Thal c 402, Granville 2b 200, Kost lf 210, Adams dp 300, Carns cf 000. Totals: 32-6-11.

Deer Lakes (2): Robson cf 400, Rudy p-1b 300, K. Blair 1b-p 302, Chmura cr 000, Huffman ss 300, Dengler 1b 300, M. Blair c 312, Hoffman 2b 311, Buchel dp 100, Cerra rf 301, Taliani lf-ph 301. Totals: 27-2-6.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Philipsburg-Osceola 102 003 0–6 11 1

Deer Lakes 000 000 2–2 6 3

Errors–Thompson, Huffman 2, Hoffman. 2B–Lucas 2, Peck, Thompson; K. Blair 2, M. Blair. HR–Harris. RBI–Thompson 2, Lucas, Harris, Thal; Taliani, Cerra (DL). CS–Lucas (by M. Blair). SAC–Adams, Granville. HBP–Taliani (by Harris). LOB–Philipsburg-Osceola 9, Deer Lakes 5.

PITCHING: Philipsburg-Osceola: Harris (W)–6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO; Peck–1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.

Deer Lakes: Rudy (L)–5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO; K. Blair–1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.

Records: Deer Lakes (16-3); Philipsburg-Osceola (20-3).

Time of Game: 1:55 .

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