DUBOIS, Pa. – Using a team approach, Karns City claimed its second straight District 5-8-9 Class 3A softball title with a 6-2 win over District 5’s Everett Wednesday afternoon at Heindl Memorial Field in DuBois.
(Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
“There was an expectation this year,” Karns City manager Mike Stitt, who returned nearly his entire team from a year ago, said. “We knew coming into it we had a good team. They showed confidence and maturity this game. They showed more maturity than games before. It was nice to see them come through.”
Eight of the nine players in the Lady Gremlins lineup found their way on base whether by hit, error, walk or fielder’s choice, and the one player who didn’t, cleanup hitter Kate Allen, contributed with an RBI nonetheless.
“It does feel good to go out there knowing I have the greatest team two times in a row behind us to cheer me on and help me out all the time,” winning pitcher Logan Byers said. “Any win is just as sweet. I know (going forward) we are going to take it one inning at a time, one game at a time. But, hey, maybe we can go and win four more.”
Watch Byers’ full interview.
Byers, who went the distance in getting the win allowing two runs on seven hits while not walking a batter and striking out four, was also in the middle of two of Karns City’s scoring innings despite not having a hit on the day.
In the first, she helped the Lady Gremlins tie the game by reaching on an error leading off the bottom of the first with her courtesy runner Garrah Milochik coming around to score on a wild pitch.
Then in the third, she led off with a walk, and while Milochik was erased on a groundout by Alyssa Stitt, Stitt scored on a Mackenzie Dunn triple to give Karns City the lead for good and Dunn came home on the before mentioned Allen grounder to short.
“When the girls get Logan a lead, she is tough and the defense rallies behind her,” Mike Stitt said. “We ended up shutting them down.”
Mike Stitt wasn’t kidding about the defense, as a fantastic sliding catch in centerfield by centerfielder Emily Wolfe on a ball hit by Alex Iseminger leading off the fourth after Karns City had taken the lead shutdown a potential inning for the Lady Warriors before it could even get started.
But that was symbolic of the Lady Gremlins defensive effort on the day, as Karns City committed just two errors in the contest.
“The bus ride up here was a different feeling with them than I have seen all season long,” Mike Stitt said. “We had a two-week layoff, which is tough for girls. When they crawled on the bus today and had that look in the eye, they were relaxed. The music was playing. These girls came to play. This was the best game they played all season long.”
Up 3-1, Karns City wasn’t satisfied adding three big insurance runs in the sixth thanks to an RBI single from Wolfe, an RBI fielder’s choice by Emma Clark where Sammi Grazioli beat the rap at the plate and an error by Everett, one of four in the game committed by the Lady Warriors.
“I love insurance runs,” Byers said. “They are my favorite things. Insurance runs, no matter what inning they come in, are always good for me. Going into the seventh inning knowing we had a few I could give up, it felt so much easier.”
Everett did get a run in the seventh when Katie Price and Jacie Martin had back-to-back doubles leading off the inning, but Byers shut the door after that not even allowing Price to score despite an error with one out in the inning that put runners on first and third.
“To me as a coach, it was a nailbiter the whole way,” Mike Stitt said. “Anybody can have a big inning. We had that one big inning, and we have given up big runs before in games.”
Karns City moves into the PIAA playoffs where it will take on the WPIAL runner-up either South Park or Southmoreland. The WPIAL title game is Thursday.
KARNS CITY 6, EVERETT 2
Score by Innings
Everett 100 000 1 – 2
Karns City 103 003 X – 6
EVERETT – 1
Sydney Reffner ss 4000, Brittany Ewing 1b 3010, Brooke Colledge cf 3120, Alex Iseminger c 3011, Katie Price 3b 3110, Jacie Martin p 3011, Shelby Schleinkofer rf 3000, Lexus Grubb lf 3000, Kristen Ewing 2b 3010. Totals 28-2-7-2.
KARNS CITY – 6
Logan Byers p 2000, Garrah Milochik cr 0100, Alyssa Stitt ss 4100, Mackenzie Dunn 3b 3121, Kate Allen 2b 3001, Taylor Ekis 1b 3020, Lani Fetterman 0100, Sammi Grazioli rf 3100, Emily Wolfe cf 3121, Katie Neff lf 1000, Emma Clark ph 1001, Brittney Friters dp 2000, Mackenzie Shay 1010, Emily Huff c 0000. Totals 26-6-7-4.
LOB: Everett 3. Karns City 3. Errors Everett 4. Karns City 2. 2B: Price, Martin. Wolfe. 3B: Dunn. SAC: Neff. SB: Iseminger, Price. Grazioli. CS: Kristen Ewing (Huff to Stitt – Byers pitching). Mackenzie Dunn (Iseminger to Kristen Ewing – Martin pitching) DP: Everett 1 (Kristen Ewing to Price).
Jacie Martin 6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Logan Byers 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Winning pitcher: Logan Byers
Losing pitcher: Jacie Martin