Roundup: TJ earns way into state tourney
Coming off a lopsided semifinal loss to Burrell, Thomas Jefferson was looking to prove that its trip deep into the WPIAL Class AA playoffs was well-deserved.
“There were a lot of negative comments that Ellwood made about us (during the game against Burrell), saying that we didn't belong here,” Thomas Jefferson coach John Mitruski said. “It got me kind of fired up and I relayed the message to the team.”
While wearing their gold “section champion” T-shirts under their jerseys for the first time this season, the Jaguars posted a two-out rally in the ninth inning to defeat Ellwood City, 3-2, in the Class AA consolation game at Fairhaven Park. The win earns Thomas Jefferson the WPIAL's third berth into the state playoffs. TJ will face Corry at 4 p.m. Monday at the Lincoln Avenue Complex in Meadville.
“I told the girls to look at (the shirts) and remember that's why we're here,” Mitruski said.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Thomas Jefferson's Christina Morini earned a walk and was replaced at first base by pinch runner Lauren McGuirk. McGuirk stole second, was moved to third with a single by Lindsay
Zettl and scored when Michelle Kocis lined a single to shallow centerfield.
The Jaguars had claimed the lead in the second inning when Jessica Ziemski drew a walk with the bases loaded to drive in Michelle Kocis. Megan Mitruski singled to center two batters later, driving in Abby Greiner to take a two-run lead.
Ellwood City tied the game in the sixth inning when Holly Hutchison singled to center with two outs – on what was to be an intentional walk — driving in Robyn Blythe and Amanda Colianni.
“That was supposed to be an intentional walk to (Hutchison) their best player, but our pitcher (Rachel Tomico) slipped up a little bit,” Mitruski said. “With two on and two outs, we're not going to pitch to that girl.”
Tomico pitched the complete game, allowing just four hits in claiming the win. Gabrielle Riccio started on the mound for the Wolverines before being replaced by Kaitlyn Schuster in the top of the sixth inning.