ST. MARYS — A power surge that resulted in three runs in the bottom of the first inning proved to be all the DuBois Central Catholic softball team needed Thursday against Coudersport in the District 9 Class A championship game at St. Marys High School.
But, DCC added three more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings for good measure, as the Lady Cardinals pounded the Lady Falcons, 9-0, to capture its second district title in a row and third in four years.
After stranding two Coudy runners in the top of the first, the Lady Cardinals flexed their muscles in the bottom of the inning with a pair of home runs — and nearly a third — as the power display quickly drained the life out of the Lady Falcons and their crowd.
Senior Jordy Frank jump-started the inning with a one-out, solo homer over the fence in center field. Then with two outs, sophomore Ashley Wruble blasted a double off the top of the fence in left-center before freshman Shayleigh Gulvas ripped a two-run shot inside the foul pole down the left-field line.
Those three runs proved to be more than for senior Riley Assalone, who tossed a four-hit shutout. Coudy managed to get just two runners to second base in the game, as Assalone struck out 12 while walking none and hitting one.
Assalone amassed 25 strikeouts while walking none over a two-day period as DCC beat Elk County Catholic Wednesday in the D-9 semifinals before blanking Coudy Thursday for the title.
Assalone also went 2-for-4 with an RBI at the plate, while Frank finished 2-for-2 with the homer, four RBIs and two runs scored. Gulvas was 2-for-4 with her homer, three RBIs and two runs.
“I thought we sort of saved our best for last in the district tournament,” said DCC coach George Heigel. ‘We hit the ball really hard early, then had a little lull there or a few innings, and then came back and started catching up to that second pitcher and hit the ball well.
“It was impressive how we squared up on the ball in the first inning. I thought Ashley’s might have been hit the hardest, but it caught the top of the fence. I do think that had an impact on the overall tone of the game.
“And, I really can’t say enough about Riley. She was just phenomenal today, and her last two games have been very good. She’s in rare form now and I hope it continues next week. She’s in a groove like she was last year in the playoffs where i thought if we get two or three runs I thought we were in good shape. We’re also defending very well and catching the ball behind her.
“Our girls just keep coming through in games like this, and I like our chances as we move forward (into states).”
Coudy threatened in the top of the first, as Joplin Osgood led off the game with a single to left and extended the inning when she hustled to second to beat a throw on a late cover by Wruble on a fielder’s choice.
Assalone stopped the rally there, though, as she struck out EmmaRae Easton to end the inning and set the stage for DCC’s big bottom of the first. That ining proved to be the lone one starter madison Smith threw, as Coudy went to reliever Shaelyn Black for the rest of the game.
Black matched zeros with Assalone in the second through fourth innings. The biggest threat during that span came from Coudy in the top of the second with one out when Stephanie Fry singled and Annie Chambers was hit by a pitch.
Assalone got two quick outs to end the inning, starting a dominant stretch where she retired 17 of the final 19 hitters she faced — nine of those outs coming via strikeout.
Central’s hitters finally got to Black in the fifth.
Macey Hanes led off the inning with a triple to left-center. Frank then fouled out on the infield, with Smith hustling in from first to catch the ball near the DCC dugout in front of catcher Macy Gleason. The short popup quickly became a sacrifice fly, as Hanes tagged and raced home from third to score as no one covered home.
Wruble then restarted the inning with a two-out walk and scored from first on a single to right-center by Gulvas, who took second on a throw to the plate. Gulvas ended up at third after a throwing error back to second.
Gulvas scored two batters later on a RBI single to center by Alyssa Bittne. Maurer, who had walked, was thrown out trying to score on the single as well to end the inning.The Lady Cardinals weren’t done scoring though, as they pushed three more runs cross in the sixth — nearly ending the game by way of the 10-run mercy rule.
Maia Cogley led off the sixth with a walk and took second on a passed ball before pinch-hitter Jordy Kosko struck. Hanes then reached on an error, putting runners on the corners before taking second without a throw.
Frank made Coudy pay for its miscue, smacking a single to left that plated both Cogley and Hanes. Frank quickly stole second and scored on a single by Assalone to make it 9-0.
Wruble followed with a walk before Assalone was erased at third on a fielder’s choice for the second out. Maurer then ripped a line drive single off the glove of first baseman Smith to load the bases.
Central couldn’t push across its 10th run though, as Bittner flew out to center to end the inning. That only prolonged the inevitable, as Assalone and her defense recording three quick outs to end the game.
Right fielder Sabrina Spencer caught a fly ball or the final out, setting off DCC’s celebration.
With the win, DCC advances to the states, where it will play Carmichaels, the third place team from the WPIAL, on Monday at a site and time to be determined.