Lady Mounties get some revenge

LORETTO — South Park has been Philipsburg-Osceola’s state playoff nemesis the last two years. The Lady Eagles beat P-O in last year’s semifinals en route to a state title and in the quarterfinals two years ago.

So, when the teams met up again in the Class 3A quarterfinals on Thursday night at Saint Francis’ Red Flash Field, revenge was on the Lady Mounties’ minds.

And they got what they wanted.

The Lady Mounties jumped on South Park starting pitcher Jess Dean for five runs in the first two innings, got three hits from Kylie Thal, three RBIs and clutch pitching from Kam Harris to earn a breathtaking 8-6 win over the Lady Eagles.

“I wanted this more than anything in my life,” Thal said. “I wanted this since I started softball. We’re really proud of ourselves to beat them. We’re a different team than we were last year and two years ago.”

“Coming into this game, we had lost to them twice, and I think we really wanted to get our revenge,” Harris said. “That was what propelled us.”

The win advanced P-O (23-1) into Monday’s PIAA semifinals against District 7 champion Southmoreland, a 7-0 winner over Hickory. The site and time of the game will likely be announced today.

Thal, who also had three hits in P-O’s first state playoff game against Delone Catholic, stroked Dean’s first pitch into right field in the top of the first. Dean’s sister, Justine, threw a two-hit shutout against P-O last year, but the Lady Mounties had the younger Dean figured out early.

After a two-out walk to Harris, Jayde Burge doubled in Thal, and Kylie Adams followed with a single to left that plated courtesy runner Hannah Minarchick.

Dean walked three of the first four batters in the second, and she was replaced by Julie Shinavski.

“We had her scouted pretty well,” P-O coach Jim Gonder said. “She’s a good pitcher, but we were able to get good swings in practices.”

Madison Lucas greeted the reliever with a single to left, scoring Kendra Carns. Harris followed with a single to right to score Lacey Potter and Hannah Thompson.

South Park (19-3) got on the board in the third when No. 3 hitter Katlyn Pavlick hit a two-run home run over the left field fence. The Lady Eagles drew to within two when Laura Shinavski doubled in a run in the fourth.

Julie Shinavski held the Lady Mounties off until the sixth when Lucas doubled in Thompson, who slid safely into home, and Harris drove in Lucas with a single to right.

South Park made P-O fans nervous in the bottom of the sixth as it scored three runs to make the score 7-6. Thal, the catcher, made a diving catch of a Laura Shinavski bunt to start the frame, but Chelsea Cazolla and Taylor Glowa followed with bunt singles.

That turned the lineup over to South Park’s dangerous first three hitters. After a long single to left by Dean, Morrison knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly. Pavlick was intentionally walked, but a Grace Albitz single plated a run, as did Julie Shinavski getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

But Harris, who threw 145 pitches, struck out Char Blackburn looking to leave the bases loaded. Harris, who wiggled out of many jams against Central on the same field, struck out Char Blackburn for the third out.

In the fourth, Harris struck out Morrison and Pavlick to leave the bases loaded. The Lady Eagles left the bases loaded three times.

“I knew they were great hitters coming into this game,” Harris said. “When I knew they were coming up, it just added a little more pressure, and pressure seems to be a driving force for me.”

“The thing that I admire about Kam is she wanted to be in that position,” Thal said. “She’s very good under pressure. She likes those moments.”

A Thal RBI double in the top of the seventh gave P-O some breathing room.

“Kylie has been on fire,” Gonder said, “which is really helping us out.”

Harris got the first two batters out in the bottom of the seventh, but No. 9 hitter Glowa beat out an infield hit. That brought up the left-handed Dean, who fouled off a number of pitches before Harris struck her out looking with a curveball.

That set off a celebration on the field and among the spent P-O fans.

“The last out of the game was definitely a rush for me,” Harris said. “When I threw something different to her, and it got her, it was just exciting for us.”

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (8): Thal c 513, Thompson ss 421, Lucas rf 412, Harris dp-p 302, Minarchick cr 010, Burge 3b 402, Adams lf 401, Simpson 2b 300, McDonald pr 000, Carns cf 221, Potter 1b 311, Taylor p-lf 000. Totals: 32-8-13.

SOUTH PARK (6): Dean p-1b 322, Morrison ss 301, Pavlick 3b 311, Albitz cf 301, J. Shinavski dp-p 200, Brinker cr 000, Blackburn c 101, Kr. Mesick cr 010, L. Shinavski rf 401, Cazolla lf 411, Glowa 2b 312, Ke. Mesick 1b 000. Totals: 29-6-10.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Philipsburg-Osceola 230 002 1–8 13 1

South Park 002 103 x–6 10 0

Errors–Thompson. 2B–Thal, Lucas, Burge; Dean, L. Shinavski. HR–Pavlick. RBI–Harris 3, Lucas 2, Thal, Burge, Adams; Pavlick 2, Morrison, Albitz, J. Shinavski, L. Shinavski. SAC–Albitz, Glowa. SF–Morrison. HBP–J. Shinavski. DP–South Park 3. LOB–Philipsburg-Osceola 9, South Park 10.

PITCHING

Philipsburg-Osceola: Harris (W)–7 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO.

South Park: Dean (L)–1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO; J. Shinavski–5 2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.

Records: South Park (19-3), Philipsburg-Osceola (23-1)

Time: 2:10

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