ShareThis Page

Mt. Pleasant softball team wins 1st state title

| Thursday, June 15, 2017, 4:21 p.m.

With the school's first PIAA team title in jeopardy, Mt. Pleasant coach Lauren Shaheen stayed with starting pitcher Carolyn Alincic.

And the coach's confidence paid off.

Tunkhannock loaded the bases in consecutive innings, but the Tigers could score only once off Alincic as the Vikings held on for a 5-3 victory in the state Class 4A softball title game before a capacity crowd at Penn State's Nittany Lion Park.

Ava Gnibus had three hits, a walk and a pair of runs scored, and Chloe Poulich was responsible for driving in four Mt. Pleasant runs.

Mt. Pleasant finished 17-3, and Tunkhannock, also making its first PIAA finals appearance, went 19-6.

With two full-blown threats and pitcher Meadow Uncapher available, Shaheen resisted a move.

"Looking at their team and their hitters, we saw our best possible defense with her on the mound and Meadow at second base," Shaheen said. "We were prepared to make a switch, and I am usually one who makes a switch quickly. I just had a feeling I wanted Carolyn to see it through."

Said Alincic: "I'm glad coach had confidence in me. I've definitely come a long way since the start of the season."

The Vikings had just taken a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth on doubles by Gnibus and Addy Kubasky and a triple by Poulich.

The Tigers opened the bottom of the frame with singles by both Hope and Faith Jones and Paige Mokychic.

Alincic then struck out Jena Simmons, induced Kendra Schultz to pop up to left and retired Sarah Traver on a grounder back to the circle.

In the sixth, two singles and a fielder's choice loaded the bases for Hope Jones, who hit a sinking liner to center. Gnibus made the catch at her shoe tops.

"I knew the bases were loaded, and I had to do something," Gnibus said. "I just wanted to make sure I kept the ball in front of me."

Danielle Krispin scored from third on the catch, but a force play by Paulich to home and a pop up to short preserved the lead.

"Their pitcher was tough, we knew that coming in," Tunkhannock coach Bob Hegedty said. "We just couldn't get a timely hit and hats off to them."

Said Alincic: "I had faith the whole time in my fielders. I know if there's a fly ball, my outfield's going to get it."

The Vikings got on the scoreboard in the third.

Freshman Sydney Kanuch stated the rally with a single, and Gnibus walked. Poulich laced a hard bouncer off the body of first baseman Hailey Farr that was ruled a three-base error. Poulich came home on an error at third to make it 3-0.

"I think we did a good job offensively," Shaheen said. "Our focus was to attack, be strong and be confident in ourselves."

Tunkhannock scored in the third when Mokychic doubled home Jenn Bulford, and the Tigers tallied another an inning later when Traver doubled and came home on Farr's two-base hit.

It wasn't the first time Shaheen has been involved with a team from Tunkhannock. As a member of the West Point Little League 9/10-year-old team, she pitched in the state title game victory over Tunkhannock.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

Mt. Pleasant players celebrate their victory on the mound after defeating Tunkhannock in the PIAA 4A softball championship in State College on Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant players celebrate their victory on the mound after defeating Tunkhannock in the PIAA 4A softball championship in State College on Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Mt. Pleasant's Meadow Uncapher catches the ball at second base for an out against Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Meadow Uncapher catches the ball at second base for an out against Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Mt. Pleasant's Sydney Kanuch bunts against Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Sydney Kanuch bunts against Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Mt. Pleasant 's Christiana Czegan crashes into Tunkhannock's Jennifer Bulford and scores a run in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant 's Christiana Czegan crashes into Tunkhannock's Jennifer Bulford and scores a run in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Mt. Pleasant's Addy Kubasky leaps for a ball against Tunkhannock during the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Addy Kubasky leaps for a ball against Tunkhannock during the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Mt. Pleasant's Nikki Klejka eyes the ball against Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Nikki Klejka eyes the ball against Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Mt. Pleasant players celebrate their victory after defeating Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant players celebrate their victory after defeating Tunkhannock in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Mt. Pleasant catcher May Klejka gets an out on Tunkhannock's baserunner Tori-Lynn Brinton in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant catcher May Klejka gets an out on Tunkhannock's baserunner Tori-Lynn Brinton in the PIAA Class 4A softball championship Thursday, June 15, 2017, in University Park.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.