Lady Vikings play sound ball
CRESSON — The best way that a team can guarantee itself of advancing in playoff competition is to perform fundamentally well in all aspects of its game.
Glendale left no stone unturned in its first-round PIAA Class 1A state softball playoff game Monday afternoon at Mount Aloysius College’s Miller Athletic Complex softball field, as the Lady Vikings advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinal round with a 5-0 victory over District 4 runners-up Muncy.
Glendale unleashed a solid 10-hit batting attack in which the Lady Vikings displayed both heavy-hitting pop and the ability to execute well-placed bunts.
Glendale sophomore Lexi Mulhollen pitched a stellar complete-game one-hit shutout, and the Lady Vikings backed her defensively by playing flawlessly in the field and not committing a single error.
All in all, it was a squeaky-clean performance for Glendale (19-4), which advanced to meet the winner of today’s game between Elk County Catholic and Meyersdale in the quarters on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
The Elk County-Meyersdale game had originally been scheduled for Monday at Somerset, but it was postponed to today because of rain.
“We had some individuals at the top of the order really step up and hit the ball for us in clutch situations,” Glendale coach Phil Barroner said. “We also bunted the ball well, and we played great defense. When you don’t give (opponents) anything, it’s hard to lose a ballgame.”
Mulhollen also provided a solid pitching performance for Glendale, striking out six batters, walking four and allowing only one hit — a third-inning single by Muncy senior second baseman Sarah Miller.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t put the ball in play, but give her credit, she shut us down … absolutely,” Muncy coach Kevin Miller said of Mulhollen.
Barroner echoed those sentiments.
“She gave me everything that she had today,” Barroner said. “Throwing zeroes has always been our motto. She pitched really well.”
Mulhollen appreciated the excellent defense behind her.
“We played really hard, and our defense was solid,” said Mulhollen, who also drove in two runs in her own behalf. “I felt like I did a pretty decent job. I was just trying to throw hard and get outs.”
Glendale backed Mulhollen offensively by scoring single runs in the first, third and fourth innings to build an early 3-0 lead.
In the first inning, junior center fielder Makenzie Lukehart roped a triple into the left-center gap and scored when junior catcher Kristen Hewitt put down a perfect bunt in front of the plate that enabled Lukehart to score and Hewitt to reach first base.
“The bunt really helped us today,” said Lukehart, who also drove in Glendale’s second run with a third-inning double. “We just haven’t quit working. Everybody did their jobs today.”
Mulhollen doubled to center and scored Glendale’s third-inning run on Lukehart’s double to left to make it a 2-0 game.
In the fourth inning, senior left fielder Cierra O’Shell — who had a triple and two bunt singles in three trips to the plate — led off with a bunt single against Muncy senior pitcher Kat Ebner. Senior Lauryn Clarkson executed another perfectly-placed bunt single in front of the plate, moving O’Shell to second, from where she scored on Mulhollen’s single to left field to give Glendale a 3-0 lead.
Glendale tacked on two runs in the sixth inning. O’Shell tripled to center and scored the first run of the inning on pinch-hitter Breanna Vereshack’s groundout. Clarkson reached on a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on the Vereshack groundout and scored Glendale’s final run on Mulhollen’s groundout to set the 5-0 final.
District 4 runner-up Muncy — which finished the season with an 18-5 record — had more than one runner on base in the game only once, when Mulhollen walked first baseman Mo Woodring and center fielder Kassidi Lenhart in the fifth inning before getting Sarah Miller to hit a two-out pop-up to the mound to end the threat.
Glendale is moving on and now needs just two more wins to achieve a berth in the state championship game.
“It’s great for the program,” Barroner said. “If we continue to play defense as well as we did today, we should be able to compete with some success.”
MUNCY (0): Miller 2b 301, Bergey lf 300, Ebner p 300, Stugart ss 100, Snyder c 200, Copeland rf 300, Woodring 1b 200, Brelsford dh 200, Lenhart cf 100, McMonigle ph 100, Schell 3b (flex) 000. Totals — 21-0-1.
GLENDALE (5): Mulhollen p 412, Mak. Lukehart cf 412, Hewitt c 201, Mad. Lukehart cr 000, Vereshack rf 300, Gallaher 1b 300, Leyo 2b 300, O’Shell lf 323, Smeal dh 100, Clarkson ph-cr 212, Gustafson ss 200, B. Vereshack ph-cr 100, LeMaster 3b (flex) 000. Totals — 28-5-10.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Muncy 000 000 0–0 1 0
Glendale 101 102 X–5 10 0
2B–Mulhollen, Mak. Lukehart. 3B–Mak. Lukehart, O’Shell. RBI–Mulhollen 2, Mak. Lukehart, Hewitt, B. Vereshack. LOB–Glendale 7, Muncy 6. HBP–Stugart by Mulhollen. SB–Mad. Lukehart, Clarkson. SAC–Snyder.
Muncy: Ebner (L) 6IP, 10H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 2SO.
Glendale: Mulhollen (W) 7IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 4BB, 6SO.
Records: Muncy (18-5); Glendale (19-4).
Umpires: Plate–Bill Raco; First base–Randy Lose. Second base–Rod Stine. Third base–Brian Sonak.
Time of game: 1:27.