DuBOIS — The DuBois Central Catholic and Clarion softball teams met Tuesday in an early-season rematch of last year’s District 9 Class A title game, and it was the Lady Cardinals who came away with the “W” again — albeit in completely different fashion from a season ago.
Central Catholic (5-0) used a two-run bottom of the sixth, capped by a RBI single by then freshman Ashley Wruble, to rally for a 2-1 victory to claim last year’s D-9 title in what was a pitchers’ duel between Lady Cardinal Riley Assalone and Clarion’s Sadie Rudesyle.
Those two were back in the circle Tuesday, but this time around it was the offenses that sparkled as the Lady Cardinals jumped on Rudesyle for four first-inning runs on their way to winning an 11-6 slugfest. The two teams combined for 21 hits to go along with the 17 compared to just nine hits and three runs in last year’s encounter.
And, it was the bottom of the DCC order that helped fuel the victory, as its Nos. 6-9 batters went a combined 7-for-14 with seven RBIs. Central Catholic had just three hits as a team in last year’s D-9 championship game.
Libby Maurer and Alyssa Bittner led the DCC attack from the No. 6 and 7 spots, respectively, in the order. Maurer went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Bittner finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
That duo was backed at the bottom of the order by Sabrina Spencer (No. 8), who went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Maia Cogley (No. 9), who was 1-for-4 with a RBI. Riley Assalone also enjoyed a two-hit day, while Shay Gulvas had a clutch two-out, two-run single in the opening inning.
“It was little different (from last year),” said DCC coach George Heigel. “I thought the key to the game was we got some production from out 7, 8 and 9 hitters. That firs tininng we ended up with two hits out of them and ended with four or five hits from our bottom three girls (Bittner, Spencer and Cogley). So, i was real happy with that.
“I also though we defended better. Saturday was horrific with six errors I think we had. So, we did a lot of situational stuff at practice last two nights. And, the first six innings we played pretty well defensively and made some nice plays. A couple times we missed the cutoff throw there in the seventh and made things a little closer than what it was.
I was really anticipating a really good game from this team. They should have beaten us in the district championship game last year. This was a good game for us, and that was part of the plan –to get a better schedule. i knew they woiuld be one of top Class A teams in the district. But, that was just one game. It could be totally opposite come May.”
After a quiet top of the first, DCC grabbed the lead with its four-run bottom of the first.
Macey Hanes led off the game with a bunt single, then after Rudesyle retired Assalone and Jordy Frank, stole second. Wruble then drew a two-out walk and the runners pulled off a double steal with Shay Gulvas at the plate.
That base running proved pivotal, as Gulvas smacked a two-run single to center. The freshman promptly swiped second and went to third on a wild pitch. Gulvas scored when Maurer got caught in a rundown between first and second and walking.
Maurer reached second safely during that rundown and scored a couple pitches later when Bittner dumped a two-out single into right field to make it a 4-0 game.
Central Catholic extended its lead with a three-run third that was jump-started by a leadoff single from Wruble. Gulvas then reached on an error that left runners on the corners. Maurer followed with a perfectly executed safety squeeze that scored Wruble, while Gulvas raced home on a Bittner groundout to push the DCC lead to 6-0.
Spencer kept the inning going with a two-out single to center, and after taking second on a wild pitch, scored on a single to center by Cogley to make it 7-0 after three innings.
Clarion (1-2) got two of those runs back in the fourth.
Sydney Kiser and Maya Thornton each doubled with one out, with Kiser scoring on Thornton’s extra base hit. Thornton in turn scored on a two-out single to right-center by Kaitlyn Constantino.
Any momentum the Lady Cats built was quickly taken away though, as DCC scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to extend its lead to 10-2.
Assalone doubled to open the inning before Frank reached on an error. Rudesyle then retired Wruble and Gulvas, but Maurer delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single to center to plate both Assalone and Frank. Maurer took second on a late throw to the plate and scored a batter later when Bittner smacked her second single of the day.
Assalone worjed out of a mini-jam in the top of the fifth as she stranded runners at second and third by striking out Kiser to end the inning.
The Lady Cardinals then pushed its final run across the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
Hanes drew a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third on a bunt single by Assalone. Hanes scored moments later on a failed pickoff throw to third by Clarion catcher Cora Zerfoss to put DCC up 11-3.
Clarion didn’t go quietly from there though, as the Lady Cats scored a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh to set the final at 11-6.
Thornton ripped a leadoff double in the sixth and scored on a Constantino sacrifice fly.
The Lady cats then put together a four-hit seventh that got started with back-to-back, one-out singles by Carly Best and Zerfoss. Kiser scored both with a two-out single, while Thornton capped the scoring with a RBI double to chase home Kiser.
Thornton finished the day 3-for-4 with three doubles, two RBis and two runs scored. Zerfoss and Kiser each went 2-for-4, with Kiser adding a double and two RBIs.
“It’s tough when you get down to a good team like that, and they are a really good team,” said Clarion coach Dan Shofestall. “They did a lot of things and moved us around defensively and created a lot of open spots. They do a nice job of that, and I give DCC, their players and coaching staff a lot of credit. That was the key to the game.
“They have a really good pitcher, and i thought we hit with some power tonight, which ws good. We battled and didn’t quit there at the end. There are good things and bad things in losses, and we’ll learn from this and keep improving every time we go out.”
The Lady Cardinals are back in action today at home against Keystone, while Clarion travels to Moniteau Monday.