THORNDALE — The St. Marys Little League All-Star softball team used a strong offensive surge in the middle of the game Thursday afternoon to grab a 7-2 lead before holding for a 7-6 victory against Avon Grove in an elimination game at the state tournament.

Avon Grove jumped out to a 2-0 lead — scoring single runs in the top of the first and third innings — before St. Marys exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the third.

St. Marys tacked on two key insurance runs in the fourth before Avon Grove made a furious comeback bid in the top of the fifth. The Section 7 champs pushed four runs across against St. Marys starter Kara Hanslovan to make it a 7-6 game.

Avon Grove proceeded to load the bases with one out, but Hanslovan got a strikeout and popup to shortstop to strand the bases loaded and preserve the one-run lead.

Avon Grove had a player reach on a two-out error in the sixth, but Hanslovan promptly got a groundout to third to end the game.

The win is St. Marys second in a row at states following a 9-2 loss to Morrisville in its opener on Tuesday. St. Marys has a chance to avenge that loss today when the team’s meet in the losers’ bracket semifinals at 6 p.m.

Morrisville stayed alive by beating Mifflin County Thursday. A score was not available for that game.

St. Marys stranded runners in scoring position in the first and second innings before seizing the lead with its five-run bottom of the third.

Shannon Kaiser got tihngs started with a leadoff double, then pinch-hitter Lily Bouch was hit by a pitch. Hanslovan followed with a double that scored both Kaier and Bouch to tie the score at 2-2.

Emily Mourer kept things rolling with a single and scored on a groundout by Lydia Anderson. Rosa DePrater then singled and came home two batters later on a single by pinch-hitter Rylie Nicklas to make it 5-2.

St. Marys added to its lead in the fifth.

Kaiser and Hanslovan each had singles before scoring, while Mourer hit a double in the inning. The two runs proved pivotal after Avon Grove put together its four-run fifth.

But, St. Marys held on for the one-run victory to earn a second shot at Morrisville.

Mourer was 3-for-3 with two doubles on the day, while Kaiser and Hanslovan each collected two hits.

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