Mt. Pleasant softball team succumbs to Class AAAA power Latrobe
At this time of the season, playoff-bound softball teams want to play at the highest level.
With that in mind, Mt. Pleasant coach Monica Cox could afford to smile Wednesday after her Vikings dropped a 6-2 decision to visiting Latrobe in a nonsection tune-up for the postseason.
“Latrobe could win it all in Quad-A, and we won't see any better than either of their pitchers (in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs),” Cox said. “We were toe-to-toe with them. We played very well, so I'm very proud of that.”
After winning Section 1-AAAA, the Wildcats (15-3) likely will be one of the favorites to go deep in the Class AAAA playoffs.
Rick Shaheen, who was the coach of the Mt. Pleasant team last year before taking the helm at Latrobe this season, thought highly of his former team's performance.
“Mt. Pleasant is a very good team, and I give them credit,” Shaheen said. “I thought they played well.”
The Wildcats took an 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ashley Perillo's singled scored Kaity Finley.
The Vikings (11-9) took the lead with two runs in the second. A pair of Latrobe errors and an RBI single by Jena Szelong put the home team in front.
Latrobe regained the lead for good with two runs in the third, highlighted by Olivia Gumbita's run-scoring single off Mt. Pleasant pitcher Ashley Pospisil.
The Vikings threatened with the bases loaded in the fourth but failed to score. Gumbita came on in relief of starting pitcher Shelby Noel and got a groundout to end the threat.
Gumbita pitched with three 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings, with five strikeouts.
Latrobe put the game away with three runs in the fifth. Lauren Takitch walked with the bases loaded, and Gumbita stroked a two-run single.
It was a nice win for the Wildcats, considering Shaheen was able to deploy several reserves.
“I wanted to see our depth and who is going to be able to step up,” Shaheen said. “I think we could have played better, but we did well enough to win and as a coach, you always want to see that.”
Maddy Stein led Latrobe with three hits. Kayla Queer had two singles for Mt. Pleasant.
The Vikings' ability to be competitive against a Class AAAA frontrunner has Cox optimistic.
“I think we showed what we can give in the playoffs,” Cox said. “I'm excited for (Thursday) to find out who we play.”
The WPIAL softball playoff pairings will be released Thursday afternoon.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.