WELLSBORO — The St. Marys Minor League All-Star softball team couldn’t have asked for a better performance to open the state tournament, as it blasted Section 2 champ Ingomar Franklin Park Little League, 20-0, in three innings Thursday afternoon in Wellsboro.
Any nerves St. Marys might have felt had were quickly gone as it exploded for 12 runs in the top of the first inning to seize control of the game. St. Marys coupled eight hits with four walks and three Ingomar errors in the big inning.
That outburst proved to be more than enough offense for the do of Avery Eckels and Molly Hanslovan, who combined to throw a 3-inning no-hitter.
Eckels tossed the first two innings, striking out six of the seven batters she faced. Her lone blemish was a two-out walk in the first. Hanslovan pitched the third and had to work out of a jam of her own making as she walked the bases loaded around a pair of strikeouts.
However, she kept Ingomar off the scoreboard by getting Grace Zahorchak to ground out to Zoe Romanic at first to end the game with the bases loaded.
That pitching duo also played a role in St. Marys’ offensive attack, which pounded out 16 hits in the first two innings while scoring 17 runs.
Alex Uhl led the charge, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Bailey Thorwart, Calleigh Buzard, Molly Hanslovan, Eckels, Romanic and Sidney Reider all had two hits apiece.
Hanslovan smacekd a double and joined Uhl and Reider in having three RBIs. Eckels also had a double and drove in two runs along with Giuliana Muccio.
“It was another team effort today,” said St. Marys manager Bill Thorwart. “Everybody played well. I feel for those girls on the other team for not having some of their better players. But, we did what we had to do and got that first win, and we’re happy about that.
“Avery and Calleigh did a great job today working as a battery, and we shut them down and the girls hit. Now, we’re just going to try to stay in the winners’ bracket as along as we can.”
Ingomar, a Little League in the North Allegheny area of Pittsburgh, reported had some of its better players on vacation and others playing travel ball.
Thorwart opened the game with an infield single and quickly stole second before going to third on a single by Buzard. A walk by Hanslovan loaded the bases with no outs.
Ingomar starter Clare Kotwica then got a popup for the first out before Giuliana Muccio hit a grounder to second. Disaster struck for the Section 2 champs though, as instead of getting an out, an errant throw to third for a forceout allowed Thorwart and Buzard both to score.
Romanic then walked to reloaded the bases for the bottom third of the order. And, Reiter and Uhl delivered with back-to-back two-run singles to put St. Marys up 6-0.
Walks by Alison Mertz and leadoff hitter Thorwart reloaded the bases for Buzard, who smacked a single to center. Uhl easily scored from third, but Mertz was thrown out at the plate home trying to scoring as well for the second out.
St. Marys was far from done in the frame though, as Hanslovan ripped a double to bring home Thorwart and Buzard. Hanslovan scored a batter later when Eckels doubled.
Maddie Lanzel came on to run fror Eckels and scored when Muccio reached on an error. Romanic finished off the huge first inning with a RBI single that scored Lanzel to make it 12-0 after a half inning.
St. Marys then put the 15-run mercy rule into play with a five-run top of the second. Eight of the 11 St. Marys batters that stepped to the plate in the inning recorded a hit — with Uhl collecting two of them herself.
It looked like it might be a quick inning for Ingomar, as St. Marys had first and second with two outs after four batters. However, St. Marys strung together six straight two-out hits.
Hanslovan, Eckels, Muccio, Reider and Uhl all had RBI singles during that stretch to push St. Marys’ lead to 17-0.
St. Marys scored its final three runs in the third against reliever Cailyn Wateska.
St. Marys loaded the bases with one out on a fielder’s choice and walks by Hanslovan and Eckels. Pinch-hitter Lanzel scored a run on a groundout before Roaminc walked to reload the bases.
Pinch-hitter Sophia Surra was the hit by a pitch, forcing home a run, while a bases-loaded walk by Uhl brought home Eckels to finish off the scoring.
Next up for St. Marys is a matchup with Delaware valley at 4 p.m. today in a winners’ bracket game. Ingomar faces Avon Grove in an elimination contest at 1:30 p.m.