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Mt. Pleasant softball team routs Laurel Highlands

| Monday, April 22, 2013, 8:39 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant's Paige Hertzog (10) crosses home in front of Laurel Highlands catcher Josie Campbell for Mt. Pleasant's fourth run in the second inning against Laurel Highlands on Monday, April 22, 2013, at Laurel Highlands.

For most of the season, Mt. Pleasant first-year softball coach Monica Cox has been pleased with her team's performance, especially when it comes to pitching and defense.

However, in recent games, Cox has been able to add hitting to her list of likes. Mt. Pleasant banged out 13 hits Monday and strengthened its hold on second place in Section 4-AAA with a six-inning, 12-2 victory over host Laurel Highlands.

“We've really worked on hitting so hard the past two weeks,” Cox said. “Our pitching has been good and our defense has been good, but hitting was our struggling point. It started (turning around) with 17 hits against Albert Gallatin (a 13-1 victory over the Colonials on April 16), and we have been able to maintain it.”

The Vikings (9-4, 8-2) have won three of their past four, including the win over the Fillies, which puts some separation between the two teams.

“It was a real important game,” Cox said. “My girls were psyched up.”

The game was also big for the Fillies (5-5, 5-4) because they are fighting Brownsville for third place and the final playoff spot in the section. Unfortunately, Laurel Highlands didn't bring its best game.

“What upsets me is that we didn't make the plays we expect to make,” Laurel Highlands coach Joe Pergar said after watching his team commit six errors, including five in the sixth inning, which helped Mt. Pleasant score six unearned runs off pitcher Mackenzie LaClair. “We can't let things snowball, and in that inning, they snowballed.”

The game began Friday, but was suspended in the bottom of the first because of rain. But in the top of the first, the Vikings had grabbed a 2-0 lead thanks to an error and an RBI double by Paige Hertzog.

In the second, RBI singles by Ashley Pospisil and Jade Tressler gave the Vikings a 4-0 advantage. The score stayed that way until the fifth when Mt. Pleasant tacked on two runs. Jena Szelong doubled and scored. Courtney Zelmore and Hertzog each had an RBI single. Zelmore was making her first start of the season. Derica Crowley scored three runs for Mt. Pleasant.

With a six-run lead, Pospisil was in command on the mound for Mt. Pleasant. She pitched a five-hitter and struck out three.

Szelong ripped an RBI double, and Hertzog delivered an RBI single as part of Mt. Pleasant's six-run sixth. Szelong and Hertzog each finished with three hits.

Laurel Highlands did come through with two runs in the sixth. Jordan Saghy singled and scored, and Amanda Filicky knocked in a run with a groundout.

“What I am proud of is that we didn't give up,” Pergar said. “We put two runs on the board, and we're still in strong playoff contention.”

Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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