ST. MARYS — The pressure of competing in the state tournament didn’t seem to phase the St. Marys Little League All-Star softball team one bit Tuesday, as the Section 1 champs opened play with a convincing 12-0, 5-inning victory over Warrington at Benzinger Park.
St. Marys’ Kendall Young was dominant in the circle, as the righty no-hit the Section 6 champions. Young faced the mimimum over five innings while striking out 12.
Warrington hit just one ball out of the infield — a line drive the right fielder Izzy Catalone snagged for the first out in the bottom of the second. Warrington mustered just one base runner, as Lainey Scotese drew a leadoff walk in the fifth.
However, Scotese was quickly erased from the bases when catcher Caitlyn Vollmer gunned her down trying to steal second as part of a strike-them-out, throw-them-out double play.
Young was backed by an offense that pounded out 13 hits against a trio of Warrington pitchers.
Lindsey Reiter led that attack with a 3-for-4 day that featured a triple and a run scored. Young and Kara Hanslovan each went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Young ripped two doubles, while Hanslovan had one double.
Emily Mourer came off the bench for St. Marys and enjoyed a 2-for-2 day with two RBIs and two runs scored.
“It was a good opening win to kind of knock the nerves off,” said St. Marys manager Bob Young. “There was a big crowd here, and we talked to the girls early about how to keep their composure and don’t get overwhelmed by all the fans and stuff.
“This win allowed us to get all the girls involved. We were hitting well and we did out base running thing — we like to be aggressive.
“Kendall had the one walk at end there and lost perfect game, but she pitched great. She was really firing it in there today. I don’t know how hard she was throwing, but she was excited to get going here. She’s kind of a big game player.”
St. Marys jumped out to an early lead with a run in the top of the first.
Anna Mattivi led off the game with a single to left. She stole second and went to third when Reiter blooped a single into shallow center field. Hanslovan then scored Mattivi with a sacrifice fly to left.
Warrington starter Brielle McDonald and her defense stopped the damage there, and McDonald followed with a scoreless second inning despite St. Marys getting singles from Olivia Eckels and Gabby Weisner.
McDonald wasn’t so lucky in the third, as St. Marys capitalized on a crucial error en route to scoring six runs to seize control of the game.
Reiter led off the inning with a triple to right-center and scored on a one-out double to center by Young. McDonald then got Vollmer to pop up to the catcher before the pivotal play in the inning.
St. marys pinch-hitter Emma Sorg hit an innocent enough looking ground up the first base line. Warrington’s first baseman fielded the ball cleanly, but umpires ruled she missed tagging Sorg as she hustled by.
That miscue opened the flood gates for St. Marys. Mourer followed with a pinch-hit, two-run single to left, while fellow pinch-hitters Sydney Alexander and Jianna Gerg each followed with walks. Mourer, Alexander and Gerg all eventually scored on wild pitches in the inning to put St. Marys up 7-0 after three innings.
St. Marys put the game away with a five-run fifth, putting the 10-run mercy rule into play.
Mourer opened the inning with an infield single. She advanced to second and third on wild pitches before Alexander walked and kept running all the way to second. Gerg scored Mourer on a groundout, while Alexander scored on a failed pickoff attempt at third.
Mattivi kept the inning rolling when she reached on a one-out error. She promptly stole second and kept on running and scored on an errant throw that went into center field.
Reiter then ripped her third hit of the game — a single to center. She took second on a wild pitch and came home on a double down the left-field line by Hanslovan. Young stepped in and blasted a double off the top of the fence in center that plated Hanslovan to make it 12-0.
St. Marys proceeded to load the bases on a Vollmer single and walk by Eckels, but Warrington got out of the inning without any further damage.
With the win, St. Marys advances to play a familiar foe — Morrisville — in today’s second round.
The two teams played three times two years ago at Minor League States in Bradford. St. Marys won the first matchup before Morrisville rebounded to beat St. Marys twice for the state title.
The teams met again last year at Minor League states, with St. Marys pulling out a thrilling 2-1 win in the losers’ bracket finals to fight its way back to the state finals for a second straight year.
“Last year the Minors beat them, but we didn’t play them because we didn’t get out of (Little League) districts,” said Young. “Two years ago we beat them the first time, then they beat us twice. They’re a great group of guys, and I’ve honestly kept in contact with them the last two years.
“They’re a high class organization too. It’s going to be exciting and should be a great game. That’s what we’re here for though — the great games and competition.”