CORRY — The St. Marys Minor League All-Star softball team put itself in the driver’s seat at the Section 1 Tournament Thursday, as it pulled out a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Northwestern.

The game was a pitchers’ duel between St. Marys’ Avery Eckels and Northwestern’s Zoe Johhnson. Both girls tossed complete-game one-hitters. Fortunately for St. Marys, it was able to manufacture one more run to earn a spot in Saturday’s championship game.

Eckels allowed one earned run on the one hit while striking out 11 and walking just three. As for Johnson, she gave up two earned runs on one hit while striking out seven and walking five. One of those free passes proved to be the game-winning run.

St. Marys got it only hit right away, as Bailey Thorwart led off the game with a single. She then stole second and third before scoring on a groundout by Molly Hanslovan to give her team a 1-0 lead.

Northwestern got a leadoff walk from Decaney pettis in the bottom of the inning, but Eckels proceeded to retire 12 of the next 13 batters she faced to keep Northwestern scoreless.

St. Marys added to its lead in the third when Thorwart drew a two-out walk. She again stole second and third before scoring to make it 2-0.

Northwestern finally broke through against Eckels in the bottom of the fifth as Makayla pressler-palmer hit a leadoff single and later scored to cut the St. Marys lead in half.

However, Eckels retired the final five batters of the game to preserve that one-run lead and send her team to the championship game on Saturday at noon.

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St. Marys awaits the winner of today’s elimination game between Northwestern and Corry.

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