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The Southmoreland softball team has started impressively this season, and no win may have been more impressive than an April 5 victory Elizabeth Forward by a 7-4 score in a key Section 3-AAA contest.
It was a measure of confidence as the Scotties make the shift from Class AA to Class AAA.
“This is a huge win for us coming into this section,” Southmoreland coach Kim Kelley said. “We know the history of EF, so this was really big.”
Elizabeth Forward advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA championship game in 2012 and hope to do so again. But against the Scotties, Elizabeth Forward played an uncharacteristically poor game defensively.
Southmoreland jumped out a 2-0 lead in the first when Briana Bunner hit an inside-the-park, two-run homer down the left-field line off Elizabeth Forward pitcher Portia McBride. McBride gave up seven hits while striking out nine.
The Warriors benefitted from two Southmoreland errors to tie the game in the third, but the Scotties restored their two-run lead in their half of the inning. Vanessa Richards doubled and scored on a single by Kelsey Kuhns. Then pinch-runner Jae Pawlikowsky alertly scored on a passed ball.
Southmoreland made it 5-2 in the fourth as an Elizabeth Forward error allowed Rikki Brown to drive in Sam Suhan with an RBI single.
In the fifth, Elizabeth Forward pulled to within a run when McKenna Kern ripped an RBI triple. She also scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-4.
However, Elizabeth Forward's comeback bid was snuffed out when the Scotties scored two runs in the sixth. A pair of Warriors errors put two runners on base, and they both came around to score. Rachelle Allison picked up an RBI groundout before Brown drove in her second run of the game with a double.
With a three-run lead, Anna Marie Gatti was able to close the door with a perfect seventh, which included two strikeouts. She gave up just three hits and struck out 10.
“Anna pitched a great game for us, and our hitters came through when they needed to,” Kelley said.
The Scotties also were victorious April 2, topping Belle Vernon 4-2.
Gatti struck out 12 in the win. Kelsey Kuhns paced the offense, going 3-3 with a double, triple and an RBI.
Southmoreland also dropped a pair last week, falling 8-1 to Thomas Jefferson and 5-4 to South Parks.
The Scotties had their hitting shoes on April 2 in a 16-1 win over Geibel.
Doug Leighty was the winning pitcher and helped his cause with three hits and three RBI. Justin Kubicek pitched in with three hits and two RBI.
The Scotties did drop a Section 4-AA to Jeannette by a 4-3 score April 3. Jeannette scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the game after Southmoreland had scored three in the top half of the inning.
The Scotties also fell to South Allegheny April 5 in another Section 4-AA game by a 5-2 score.
Southmoreland continues to roll over opponents during a week that included 5-0 wins over Washington and Brownsville last week.
Tyler Fox, Kevin Bundridge and Luke Zeleznik have been carrying the squad in singles matches, while the teams of Henry Riley and Davis Simon and Adam Snyder and Adam Hernley are doing the same in doubles.
Jason Black contributed to this report.
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