DuBOIS — Senior Day is always a special time, but it had a little extra meaning for the DuBois softball team Wednesday as three of the Lady Beavers’ five coaches celebrated the occasion with their daughters at the Highland Street fields.
Head coach Denny Nosker, along with assistants Justin Bundy and Dan Snyder all walked their daughters — Molly Nosker, Kylee Bundy and Sarah Snyder — on to the field during the pregame ceremonies. That trio is part of a six-member senior class that also features Danessa Allison, Kacie Means and Lexi Ray.
Once the Senior Day festivities concluded, the group then all played a role in helping the Lady Beavers outlast St. Marys for an 8-6 victory.
Buoyed by a five-run bottom of the third, DuBois (10-6) took a commanding 8-1 lead into the seventh. Bundy led that attack, going 3-for-4 wit ha triple and two RBIs. Means added a RBI double, while junior Lexi Smith had a two-run single during DuBois’ big third inning.
However, the Lady Dutch finally got to Senior Day starter Molly Nosker in the top of the seventh.
St. Marys (10-7) pushed five runs across in the frame — getting a pair of two-run doubles from two of its seniors in Bekka Bauer and Micayla Bothun — to make a game of it at 8-6.
Nosker stopped the damage there though, getting a Maddie Bowes to hit into a fielder’s choice with runners on the corners before Brianna Grotzinger popped up to Allison at to end the game.
St. Marys pounded out six hits in the seventh, which led to the Lady Dutch outhitting DuBois on the day 10-7. But, DuBois had the advantage where it matters most — on the scoreboard.
“It got a little dicey at the end, and I don’t whether Molly was getting a little tired or what,” said Denny Nosker. “She didn’t throw a lot of pitches, and I asked her out there in the last inning if she was okay to finish and she said yeah.
“But, it was their third time through in the lineup against the same pitcher and start to catch on to things. The girls dug down though and got outs when they needed to, and that’s a good win.
“I was happy with the way we busted it open with the one inning, and Lexi Smith had a clutch hit with two outs to get two more runs in. Kylee Bundy had a hit to break the ice, so I was happy with the way we hit the ball again tonight.
“This group of seniors I’ve coached since they were nine years old, and obviously with my daughter being a part of it, I’ve watched them all hang out together. Emotionally, I’d love to see them all be back, but they all have to leave and we’ll move on from there (next year). But, I’m glad to see them get a win on Senior Night.”
St. Marys tried to strike first when Bowes led off the second with a double. She went to third with one out on a groundout but was stranded there. Nosker got a strikeout for the second out, while Bundy made a diving catch on a popup to end the inning.
Lady Dutch starter Maura Fledderman returned the favor in the bottom of the second, stranding DuBois’ Maddy Ho at third after she reached there with one out.
St. Marys then broke the ice in the third.
Bauer reached on a leadoff error and advanced to third on a pair of sacrifice bunts before Bothun singled her home to make it 1-0.
That lead was short-lived though, as DuBois used some patience at the plate to score five runs on just two hits in the bottom of the third.
Snyder and Means got things started with back-to-back walks with one out. After a double steal, Bundy smacked a single to right that scored Snyder and courtesy runner Abby Lecker. Bundy ended up at second when the ball was bobbled in the outfield.
St. Marys then intentionally walked Ray and Maddy Ho to load the bases, a move that initially paid off when Bundy was erased at home for the second out on a grounder hit by Kaylee Sadowski.
However, Ray then scored on a wild pitch before Smith ripped a single to center to chase home Ho and Sadowski to put DuBois ip 5-1. Smith’s hit spelled the end for Fledderman, with Brianna Grotzinger coming on in relief to get the Lady Dutch out of the inning.
DuBois added to its lead lead with a pair of runs in the fourth.
Grotzinger got two quick outs, but Bundy jump-started a rally with a triple over the right fielder’s head. Ray followed with a walk. The Lady Beaver duo then pulled off a double-steal, with Bundy scoring and Ray reaching second safely.
St. Marys then intentionally walked Ho for a second time in the game, only to see Sadowski deliver a single to right-center to score Ray to push the Lady Beaver lead to 7-1.
DuBois tacked on its final run in the sixth when Allison reached on an infield single with one out, stole second and scored on a two-out double to right-center by Means.
That set the stage for the Lady Dutch’s comeback bid in the seventh — one that came up two runs short.
“Today was a rough day,” said St. Marys coach Eric Wonderling. “We had our mock prom today, so I had six of the girls who got here at 10 til 4. But, I don’t want to complain because DuBois played great and she (Nosker) pitched a great game.
“It just took us a while to get out of the gate. I got on the girls a little there at the end and said lets win the last three innings and we did. At this point, we’ve qualified for the playoffs, now it’s about getting ready for the playoffs.
DuBois hosts Meadville Friday, while St. Marys hosts Altoona Tuesday.