FLEETVILLE — The St. Marys Minor League Softball All-Star team finds itself trying to stave off elimination today at the Pennsylvania State Tournament after going 1-1 in the first two days of the event.
St. Marys was forced to play late into the night Tuesday after rain delayed some of the day’s action. St. Marys, which was in the fourth game of the day, didn’t see its opening game start until approximately 10 p.m.
That’s didn’t seem to phase the Section 1 champs, who came away with a 5-2 victory against Section 8 champ Delaware Valley — a win St. Marys wrapped up around midnight.
St. Marys was back at it Wednesday afternoon and suffered a tough 4-1 setback to South Williamsport to fall in the losers’ bracket. St. Marys will look to stay alive today when it battles Indiana (3-1 winner vs. Yough Wednesday) at 3 p.m.
South Williamsport reached the winners’ bracket finals with its victory and plays the winner of Wednesday night’s finale between Back Mountain and Avon Grove tonight at 8 p.m. for a spot in Sunday’s state title game.
Both teams got off to fast starts in Tuesday’s game despite its late start time.
St. Marys scored three runs in the top of the top of the first to grab a quick lead.
Gina Geci, who reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch. Avery Eckels, who walked, then scored on a single by Kaylen Eozzo to make it 2-0.
Eozzo capped the inning when she scored on a wild pitch herself.
Delaware Valley answered right back with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, with a clutch two-out double by Ryan Hatty plating those two runs to pull her team within one at 3-2.
St. Marys starting pitcher Avery Eckels settled in from there though, as she allowed just two base runners over the final five innings.
Delaware Valley’s Hanna Trepts singled with one out in the third but was stranded at third. The only otherv runner came in the fourth when Mia Rowan reached on a two-out error.
Eckels, who retired 16 of the last 18 batters she faced, allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits while striking out nine and waking none.
With Eckels shutting down Delaware Valley after the bottom of the first, her offense added on a pair of insurance runs en route to the 5-2 victory.
Alison Mertz drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and Ava Villella came on as a special-pinch runner. Villella took second on a passed ball and third on a groundout before scoring on a two-out single by Molly Hanslovan.
St. Marys’ Bailey Thorwart smacked a two-out single single in the third but was stranded after stealing second.
Geci got things started again in the fifth with a leadoff single. She promptly stole second before scoring on an error to make it a 5-2 game. Geci was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Thorwart and Villella later walked with two outs to load the bases, but Delaware Valley starter Lauren Gedratis got a strikeout to strand all three runners.
St. Marys threatened one last time in the sixth, as Maddie Lanzel drew a leadoff walk and Geci singled with one out. However, Gedratis recorded back-to-back outs to keep it a 5-2 game, which is how it ended.
Wednesday’s game turned into a pitchers’ duel between Eckels and South Williamsport’s Alizabeth Scholar — as the duo allowed a combined seven hits.
Unfortunately for Eckels and St. Marys, they came up on the wrong side of that battle.
South Williamsport scored all the runs it needed in the bottom of the third, scoring twice to go up 2-0.
Scholar got things started with a one-out double and scored on a double by Kendall Cardone, who later came home on an error.
St. Marys got one of those runs back in the fourth when Geci smacked a leadoff single and scored on a one-out double by Eozzo. That’s as close as St. Marys got though, as South Williamsport tacked on an insurance run in the fifth.
Scholar notched the win, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out 12 and walking two.
Eckels wound up the hard-loser after tossing a four-hitter. She gave us three runs, two earned. She struck out seven but walked an uncharacteristic eight batters.