DuBOIS — The DuBois Central Catholic softball team used a big day from the top half of its order and a strong effort in the circle from junior Morgan Tyler to knock off District 6 champ Glendale, 9-2, Thursday to reach the PIAA Class A semifinals for the fourth time in the last five postseasons.
Tyler looked more comfortable and in control compared to DCC’s first-round victory against Leechburg Monday as she works herself back into prime form after missing a large portion of the season because of an injury.
The junior allowed two runs, both earned, on seven hits while striking out 10 and walking just one while going the distance. She scattered those seven hits though, as No. 7 batter Alyson Buterbaugh (3-for-3) and leadoff hitter Lilley Vereshack (2-for-4) accounted for five of them.
Vereshack drove in Buterbaugh twice to account for both Lady Viking runs as they saw their season end with a 15-8 record.
As for DCC, it put together a complete effort around Tyler. The Lady Cardinals played error-free defense, while its offense pounded out 12 hits and stole five bases while scoring in every inning but the fifth.
It was a different look from Monday, when DCC scored 13 runs in the first two innings but struggled offensively from there it what wound up being a 14-9 win in the opening round of states.
Leadoff hitter Kayley Risser sparked the DCC’s attack vs. Glendale, going 4-for-4 with a double, four runs scored and three stolen bases. Emma Suplizio went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs hitting behind Risser, while Chelsea Busatto finished 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Jessy Frank also had two hits for DCC.
“I thought we played well defensively, and I’m convinced we can hit and did so again throughout the lineup,” said DCC coach George Heigel. “I was real happy with our effort on the base paths and played real heads up there. You talk about being aggressive running the bases and we do a lot of situational stuff in practice, so those things tend happen when you work on it. I think the freshmen especially were very aggressive.
“As for Mo, we talked about the last game (win vs Leechburg). Pitchers are like any human being, they get frustrated when they’re pitching pretty good and don’t get the support. I think that had a little to do with the last game and how she reacted to some of that.
“I thought she hit her spots today, especially with the curveball and had a couple strikeouts on her riser. She backed the ball up nice on her screwball too. The only pitch we can’t get her to master is the changeup.
“She throws it for strike after strike after strike in practice, then on the mound she’s 20 feet in the air or on the ground. We’ll keep working on that, because as we keep going on, she’s going to need that pitch late in the game.
“Glendale has a nice team. I saw them in district championship game beat a pretty good Williamsburg team. I think we just hit their pitcher a little but better than they hit ours today.”
Tyler came out firing on all cylinders and retired the side in order in the first and second innings, while her offense handed her a 4-0 lead entering the third.
Central wasted little time scoring in the bottom of the first as Risser hit a leadoff single to center, stole second and scored on a double by Suplizio, who took third on a groundout by Mia Meholick.
Shyanne Lundy then walked and took second without a throw before both Lady Cardinals scored on an infield single by Busatto to make it a 3-0 game.
Risser was also in the middle of things in the second. She smacked a two-out double that dropped in just over the second baseman’s head in the outfield, then scored on a single by Suplizio to give DCC a 4-0 advantage.
Glendale then broke through against Tyler in the third.
Buterbaugh led off the inning with a single, then took second on a wild pitch before eventually scoring on a two-out single by Vereshack. Tyler helped herself out in the inning, as she hustled in to make a nice catch on a bunt popped up by Caitlyn Rydbom before Vereshack’s single. Tyler managed to just get her glove under the ball as she lunged forward.
Central Catholic got that run right back though, as Busatto and Melia Mitskavich hit back-to-back doubles to left with one out with Busatto scoring to make it 5-1.
Tyler then tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, recording a pair of a strikeouts, while the DCC offense tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning.
Lauren Davidson got things started with a leadoff single and took second on an errant throw back into the infield. Risser followed with a bunt single and took second without a throw before a wild pitch allowed Davidson to score and Risser to reach third. Suplizio plated Risser on a groundout to push DCC’s lead to 7-1 after four innings.
Glendale tried to answer back in the fifth and got a one-out single by Buterbaugh and two-out walk from Rydbom. However, DCC got out of the mini-jam there as Frank made a nice sliding catch coming in on a soft liner hit by Vereshack to end the inning.
Tyler also stranded a pair of Lady Vikings in the sixth — both in scoring position — after Riley Best singled with one out and went to third on a two-out double to left by Kyla Campbell.
Glendale couldn’t capitalize as Tyler fielded a comebacker off the bat of Kelly Kasaback and flipped the ball to first for the third out.
After not scoring in the fifth, DCC pushed two more runs across in the sixth to give Tyler even more breathing room entering the final inning.
Risser once again started a rally, this time with another leadoff single. She promptly swiped second, took third on a groundout and came home when Mia Meholick reached on an error. Meholick then stole second sand later scored on a Busatto sacrifice fly to make it a 9-1 game.
Trailing by eight, Glendale showed some life in the seventh but only mustered a run before Tyler shut things down.
Buterbaugh led off with her third single of the game and later scored on a two-out single by Vereshack. However, she never moved off first at Tyler struck out Hanna Noel to end the game.
With the win, DCC advances to play West Greene in the semifinals. It marks the fourth time in the last five postseasons the two teams will meet with a berth in the state championship game on the line. West Greene is 2-1 in those games, with DCC winning the last meeting in 2019.
“I’m happy we get another chance to play West Greene,” said Heigel. “I saw them play, and they are a formidable team. So, we’ll have to play well. But, as I told the kids, we deserve to be here because we work hard at it.”
That state semifinal game will be played Monday at a site and time to be determined.
DuBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 9,
Score by Innings
Glendale 001 000 1 — 2
DCC 311 202 x — 9
Lilley Vereshack cf 4022, Hanna Noel ss 4000, Riley Best rf 3010, Chloe McElheny 1b 3000, Kyla Campbell p 3010, Kelly Kasaback lf 3000, Alyson Buterbaugh 3b 3130, Arianne Richards pr 0100, Abbey Williams dp 3000, Caitlyn Rydbom c 2000, Kaprice Cavalet 2b (flex) 0000. Totals: 27-2-7-2.
DuBois Central Catholic—9
Kayley Risser cf 4440, Emma Suplizio rf 4123, Mia Meholick c 4101, Shyanne Lundy 1b 2100, Eva Bloom pr 0000, Chelsea Busatto lf 3123, Melia Mitskavich dp 4011, Savanah Morelli pr 0000, Madison Hoyt 3b 3000, Jessy Frank ss 3020, Lauren Davidson 2b 2110, Emily Joseph ph 1000, Morgan Tyler p (flex) 0000. Totals: 30-9-12-8.
Errors: Glendale 3, DCC 0. LOB: Glendale 5, DCC 6. 2B: Campbell; Risser, Suplizio, Busatto, Mitskavich. SF: Busatto. SB: Risser 3, Meholick, Frank. HBP: Lundy (by Campbell).
Glendale: Kyla Campbell-6 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HB.
DCC: Morgan Tyler-7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO.
Winning pitcher: Tyler. Losing pitcher: Campbell.