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Mt. Pleasant avenges playoff loss by topping Belle Vernon in PIAA quarterfinals

Michael Love
| Thursday, June 8, 2017, 9:48 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant had payback on its mind when it faced Belle Vernon in a PIAA Class 4A softball quarterfinals Thursday at Cal (Pa.).

The Leopards dealt the Vikings a one-run loss in the WPIAL semifinals, denying them a shot at a second consecutive WPIAL crown.

Unlike the first meeting, where it managed just two hits, the Mt. Pleasant offense was able to get to junior Penn State commit Bailey Parshall. Despite striking out 15 times, the Vikings collected eight hits en route to a 5-4 win over the Leopards.

“We worked on everything we possibly could work on to fix what we didn't do right the last game (against Belle Vernon),” Mt. Pleasant coach Lauren Shaheen said. “We knew we were getting a solid team and a fantastic pitcher and a good coaching staff. The girls came out really wanting to win today, and I am really proud of them.”

Mt. Pleasant is in the PIAA semifinals for the first time in program history.

The Vikings will face WPIAL runner-up Yough on Monday at a time and site to be determined.

Yough pounded District 3 champ Kennard-Dale, 11-0, Thursday.

“We're freakin' excited, I can tell you that,” said Mt. Pleasant junior center fielder Ava Gnibus, who collected a double and two singles in her final three plate appearances and drove in three runs.

Belle Vernon, which defeated Yough for the WPIAL title before entering the state tournament, saw its season come to an end at 20-2. The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak.

“We won WPIALs, and yeah, we would've liked to have gone further,” Belle Vernon coach Tom Rodriguez said. “I think our side of the (state bracket) was the toughest. But that's the way it happens. Mt. Pleasant's got a good team and a good pitcher.”

No. 2 batter Addy Kubasky doubled in a run in the fifth and singled home what turned out to be the game-winner in the Vikings' three-run sixth.

Sydney Kanuch added two hits and two runs, while Chloe Poulich also delivered a single.

Parshall fanned the first five batters she faced and had eight over the first three innings.

Kanuch led off the third inning with an infield single, Mt. Pleasant's first hit of the game against Parshall. She advanced to second base on a passed ball and scored on a Gnibus single for a 1-0 lead.

“That (hits stat) is what I am looking at, and I am very happy with that,” Mt. Pleasant coach Lauren Shaheen said. “If we have to take more strikeouts to get more hits, I am all for it. We didn't hit the last time (against Belle Vernon). The strikeouts, yeah, we have to work on that, but I am not going to dwell on the negative of that.”

Meadow Uncapher got the start for the Vikings. She worked the first five innings and was in the pitching circle for the final out in the seventh. She gave up nine hits, three earned runs and struck out three over 6 23 innings.

Parshall again was the hitting star for Belle Vernon.

In her last two games at Cal (Pa.), she collected a combined six hits, including five doubles. On Thursday, she doubled twice.

Her fifth-inning two-bagger drove in two to give the Leopards a 3-2 lead.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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