Lady Colts reach end of road against Mount Union again

MOUNT UNION — It was deja vu all over again for Northern Cambria.

For the second consecutive season, Mount Union stood in the way of the Colts in the District 6 Class 2A softball playoffs, and for the second straight year, the results were the same.

The Trojans advanced to the district finals for the second consecutive year after handing Northern Cambria a 10-0 defeat in five innings of their semifinal contest on Wednesday.

Mount Union (19-1) will face today’s West Branch-Bishop McCort semifinal winner on Wednesday, May 30 at Saint Francis College in Loretto for the district championship.

“It feels good to be back in the district championship. I told the girls all those days of going out in the cold and snow at practice to get ready for the season, to have a good record, to play at home, with a chance to get back to the championship, it all paid off,” Trojan coach Matt Fiscus said. “We’re not done. We are still hungry. We have another week of work to give ourselves a shot at a district title.”

Northern Cambria closed out its season at 14-4 and Heritage Conference champions.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team and the season we had. We got to hang a banner this season by winning the Heritage Conference, and that was important to us,” Colt coach Kevin Krug said. “We were peaking at the end of the season. We were hitting better, playing better defense, pitching better, everything was coming together. It just didn’t happen today. We were playing the No. 1-ranked team in the state, and we knew it would be a hard game. We just didn’t do well, that’s all.”

Mount Union took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Taylor Fortney had a bunt base hit and scored on a Karrigan Woodward RBI double to center. Madison Harris followed with a walk, stole second, and Kadyn Cresswell brought both runners home with an RBI knock to center field.

The Trojans broke open the game with five runs in the second — thanks to four walks, three hits, three wild pitches and one error.

McKenna Shields led off with a solo shot to left to make it 4-0. Then the pitching woes and mental miscues spelled serious trouble for Northern Cambria. The Trojans scored three consecutive runs on wild pitches.

After the Shields homer, a single by Destinie Myers, an error and a walk loaded the bases for Mount Union. A passed ball scored two runs and brought Krug out of the dugout and into a heated argument with the umpire. From this point on, the game got away from the Colts.

“That was a foul tip that was not called, and it threw us off our game. We forgot how to play defense, and that’s the one thing we do very well,” Krug said. “If you don’t play good defense, give up a lot of runs and make mental mistakes and errors, you’re not going to win the game. That’s just how it is. We aren’t going to pound teams with our hitting. We beat them with defense, and we didn’t have it today.”

Sarah Gearhart tossed a four-hitter to pick up the win, while Kaitlyn Kudlawiec suffered the loss, giving up six runs on four hits with three walks.

“Kaitlyn didn’t find her rhythm in the beginning. It seemed like the Marion Center game carried over. She wasn’t pounding the corners, or she didn’t get the calls she usually gets,” Krug said. “She was out of rhythm and that made the defense out of rhythm. It made us have to work extra hard.”

Mount Union ended the game with two runs in the fourth.

Taylor Fortney went 2-for-2 to lead Mount Union, while Sydney Sheredy collected two hits for the Colts. Next up for Mount Union — the artificial turf at Saint Francis and a definite concern for Fiscus.

“We are a little worried about playing on the turf. We are going to try and get a day to practice on turf. There’s a lot going on for these girls right now,” Fiscus said. “We have to get ourselves ready. Everybody plays on the same field, and hopefully, we can master it quickly, because not too many teams do.”

SCORE BY INNINGS

Northern Cambria 000 00x x — 0 4 2

Mount Union 350 2xx x — 10 7 1

HR–Shields (MU). 3B–Bernard (NC). 2B–Roher, Woodward (MU). Multiple hits–Sheredy 2 (NC), Fortney 2 (MU). RBI–Cresswell 2, Woodward, Brumbaugh, Shields (MU). WP–Gearhart. LP–Kudlawiec. SO–Gearhart 2 (MU). BB–Bearer 4, Kudlawiec 3 (NC).

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