May 24 softball recaps.
(Photo of Clarion’s Jordan Best between second and third on her way to an inside-the-park home run in the sixth innings for Clarion Friday. Photo by Kim Constantino)
CLARION 5, A-C VALLEY 1
STRATTANVILLE, Pa. – Kait Constantino struck out 14 and didn’t give up a run until the seventh, as Clarion advanced to the District 9 Class 1A championship game for the first time since 2016 with a 5-1 win over A-C Valley in the semifinals at Clarion-Limestone.
Constantino recorded her first eight outs via the strikeout while retiring 10 of the first 11 batters she faced. Her final line was seven innings pitched, one earned run allowed on five hits and no walks. Three of those hits and the run came in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Clarion’s offense found ways to score with Ava Kiser’s two-out double in the second breaking the ice. Tori Vega, who doubled leading off the fifth, then scored the game’s second run when Payton Simko reached on a two-base error a batter later, and Simko scored on a run-scoring single by Lindsey Kemmer.
Jordan Best’s two-run, inside-the-park home run to right field in the sixth finished the scoring for the Lady Cats.
Best, who also caught Constantino’s gem, talked about the victory.
Vega was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored, while Constantino added a double, a walk and a stolen base on offense, and Carly Best walked twice and scored. Noel Anthony was also 1-for-w with a walk and a run scored, and Kiser was 1-for-2 with the RBI double and a sacrifice bunt.
Cami McNany led the way for A-C Valley going 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Meah Ielase had an RBI single.
Baylee Blauser, who got to the game about 15 minutes before first pitch after taking eighth at the PIAA Track & Field Championships in the Long Jump, took the loss. She went six innings allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits and six walks while striking out five.
Clarion will face DuBois Central Catholic in the title game at a time to be announced Wednesday, May 29.
A-C Valley will take on Otto-Eldred in the consolation game also Wednesday, May 29, at Heindl Field. If the winner of the consolation game did not play the loser of the title game in the semifinals, then those teams will play in a “true second-place game” for the second PIAA playoff spot coming from District 9. That game would be at a time, date and place to be announced.
DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 22, OTTO-ELDRED 8
ST. MARYS, Pa. – Scoring 22 runs on 32 hits, DuBois Central Catholic, the fifth seed, advanced to the District 9 Class 1A title game with a 22-8 throttling of top-seeded Otto-Eldred at Benzinger Field in St. Marys.
The Lady Cardinals, who would have been the top seed if not for having to forfeit nine games early in the season because of an ineligible player, still haven’t lost a game on the field this year going a perfect 22-0 in actual results.
Against Otto-Eldred, DCC found itself down 8-6 after three innings thanks to a six-run third by the Lady Terrors but exploded for seven runs in the fourth to retake control of the game and then added two in the sixth and seven more in the seventh.
Nine Lady Cardinals had multi-hit games including four players with at least four hits and two with at least five.
Ashley Wruble led the way going 5-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, a walk, four runs scored and five RBIs.
Winning pitcher Avery Sickeri helped her own cause by going 5-for-6 with two doubles, three runs scored and four RBIs.
Also for DCC, Maia Cogley was 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored and Jordan Kosko was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Picking up three hits apiece for the Lady Cards were Shay Gulvas (a double, a walk, 4 runs scored, 2 RBIs), Mia Meholick (2 RBIs, 1 run scored), Carley Semanick (1 run scored, 1 RBI) and Alyssa Bittner (2 runs scored, 1 RBI). Chelsea Busatto was also 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Harlee VanScoter hit a home run for Otto-Eldred and was 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs.
Autumn Smith also doubled for the Lady Terrors while going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Reilly Raught was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Haylee Frederick was 1-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Gabby Nickerson scored twice.
Sickeri got the win in relief of Wruble. The Lady Cardinals No. 3 pitcher, No. 2 Morgan Tyler was unavailable, went 4 ⅔ scoreless innings allowing three hits and a walk while striking out six.
Wruble was tagged with eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits and three walks while striking out six in 2 ⅓ innings of work.
Abby Wolfe took the loss giving up all 22 runs, 18 earned, on 32 hits and two walks while striking out two.
DCC will face Clarion in the title game at a time to be announced Wednesday, May 29, at Heindl Field in DuBois.
Otto-Eldred will take on A-C Valley in the consolation game also Wednesday, May 29, at Heindl Field. If the winner of the consolation game did not play the loser of the title game in the semifinals, then those teams will play in a “true second-place game” for the second PIAA playoff spot coming from District 9. That game would be at a time, date and place to be announced.
DCC is in the title game for the third time in four years having won titles in 2016 and 2017 beating Clarion in 2016 and Coudersport in 2017.