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Uniontown softball team hangs tough to avenge loss to Mt. Pleasant

| Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 9:18 p.m.
Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant's Paige Hertzog picks up a low throw while Uniontown's Trista Crise slides safely into second during the third inning of a Section 4-AAA game on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at Bailey Park in Uniontown.

When the Mt. Pleasant and Uniontown softball teams played at Mt. Pleasant earlier this season, the Vikings thwarted a late-inning rally by the Red Raiders and held on for a 6-5 victory. On Tuesday, Uniontown was more than happy to return the favor.

Leading 6-1 in the seventh inning, the Red Raiders surrendered four runs in the final frame, but pulled out a 6-5 win of their own, earning a split in the season series with the Vikings.

More importantly, the win gives Uniontown sole possession of second place in Section 4-AAA.

“It's a big win for us,” Uniontown coach Steve Forsythe said. “It's big for our school.”

The Red Raiders (8-5, 7-2) benefitted from a huge first inning.

Leighlyn Guthrie and Jenna Nypaver singled in a run each, and an error allowed another run to score before Jordan Gibson connected for a two-run homer that gave the home team a 5-0 lead.

“We tell them every game that we have to come out hitting,” Forsythe said. “We can't get caught behind. We came out strong.”

For the Vikings (8-4, 6-3), digging out of an early hole was not a position they wanted to be in.

“We had a tough start, and we are a much better team than what we showed in the first inning,” Mt. Pleasant coach Lauren Shaheen said.

For the first six innings, Guthrie was in control for Uniontown. Her only blemish through the first six frames was a third-inning homer surrendered to Paige Hertzog, which made it 5-1. Guthrie finished with nine strikeouts.

Meanwhile, after the first inning, Mt. Pleasant pitcher Ashley Pospisil also found a groove. She gave up just three hits in her final five innings in the circle, although one was an RBI single by Gibson that scored Trista Crise in the third inning, making it 6-1. Pospisil finished with three strikeouts.

Uniontown maintained its five-run lead until the seventh. That's when Mt. Pleasant almost completed a dramatic comeback.

Kayla Queer singled, and Hertzog doubled to start the inning, and both scored on a triple by Courtney Zelmore. Felicia Premich and Maddie Kromer followed with back-to-back RBI singles. But with the tying run on first base and nobody out, Guthrie got a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to secure the win.

Despite the loss, Shaheen liked the way her team continued to battle to the end.

“That last inning showed me how much they really care,” Shaheen said. “We have a good group of girls. We are evenly matched (with Uniontown). It was two good teams out there playing.”

Forsythe was equally pleased with his team's effort, particularly in the last inning when it was facing adversity.

“We knew they are a good hitting team,” Forsythe said. “We're surprised they didn't hit earlier, but we have faith in our girls and they played tough.”

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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