BROCKWAY — Despite not being at 100 percent for Wednesday’s District 9, class 2A semifinal against Johnsonburg, Curwensville’s Ava Olosky delivered when her team needed her the most.
With runners on the corners and one out in a tie ball game, Olosky hit a slow roller to second base that chased home Teagan Harzinski with the winning run to give the Lady Tide a walkoff 7-6 win at Brockway High School.
The victory propels them into Monday’s District 9 title game.
“She’s struggling with a bad back and we’ve been nursing her through,” Curwensville head coach Allen Leigey said of Olosky. “For her to come through in that situation when we needed it ... she’s just clutch. She’s come up big in the clutch all year long. She seems to be able to put the ball in play when she has to.
“When Nat (Wischuck) was up before her, I told her, ‘just get us a fly ball to the outfield,’ (for a sacrifice fly), because I didn’t know how Ava was feeling.”
Apparently Olosky was feeling pretty good as she also had another hit to start the fourth inning, which ended up with the Lady Tide pushing four runs across thanks in large part to an Addison Siple inside-the-park, 3-run home run.
Olosky, Siple, Addison Butler and Shyanne Rudy all had two hits for Curwensville, which had 11 as a team — and they needed every one as the Ramettes rallied from down 6-2 in the fourth, scoring two in the fifth and two more in the sixth to tie things up.
“All year we’ve been fighting. The girls never give up,” Johnsonburg head coach Gary Gerber said. “They could have easily packed it in when they got down 6-2. But they’ve been battling all year, and we have a young team with just one senior (Julia Jones). And we obviously rely on her as our pitcher. She’s kept us in games all year and she kept us in this one.”
Curwensville opened the scoring with two in the bottom of the first against Johnsonburg starter Jones, who issued a one-out walk to Addison Warren before giving up back-to-back singles to Siple and Harzinski. Warren and courtesy runner Sidney Simcox scored on the Harzinski base hit.
Rudy followed with a double to put runners on second and third with one out, but Jones pitched out a the jam with a strikeout and groundout to third.
“Jonesy a good pitcher. She’s a really good player,” Leigey said. “I went over and told her after the game, ‘your’e a star.’”
The Ramettes tied the game in the second on a two-run home run well over the left-center field fence off the bat of Shelby Sorg.
“AK missed her spot and the girl just smoked it,” Leigey said. “Give (Sorg) credit.
The rally started with two outs on a Jones double. It appeared the inning was over two pitches before on a groundout, but an illegal pitch was called on Siple, giving Jones new life.
Siple was called for a second illegal pitch in the fourth, harkening memories of last season’s semifinal between the teams when then Lady Tide pitcher Joslynne Freyer was called twice for the infraction in a 6-0 Ramette victory.
But after a lengthy discussion about the call, Siple shook it off and struck out the side. She ended up with 10 strikeouts in the game.
“AK pitched her butt off,” Leigey said. “With all that was going on with the illegal pitch, she just fought through it. You can never tell by her expression that anything is wrong.”
Curwensville took a 6-2 lead in the home half of the fourth, which was started by Olosky’s single.
After Ava Hainsey grounded out, Olosky was replaced on the base paths at second by Simcox to allow her to come into the dugout to rest her back.
That turned out to be a good decision as, after a Jenna McCartney base hit moved Simcox to third, Jones uncorked a wild pitch.
Simcox raced home on the wild pitch and was safe on a play at the plate.
After Butler fielder’s choice erased McCartney from the base paths, Warren drew her second walk of the game.
Siple followed and drilled the ball to the gap in right-center field. The ball hopped away from the Ramette outfielder and rolled to the fence, which gave Siple the ability to truck around the bases for a 3-run, inside-the-park home run.
Johnsonburg answered with two in the fifth.
Casilio led off with a bunt single and scored on Dunworth’s double to the gap.
Jones followed with a single, but Dunworth had to hold at third.
After a popout to short, Jenna Kasmierski delivered and RBI groundout to make it 6-4.
Siple stranded two Ramettes on base with a strikeout, but Johnsonburg got to her again in the sixth.
Marlee Cherry drew a five-pitch walk off Siple before Warren made a shoestring catch of a Gionna Dellaquilla fly ball to right. After Siple struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning, Casilio belted a ball to the gap in what looked much like Siple’s shot in the fourth.
The result was the same as Casilio galloped around the bases for a 2-run, inside-the-park home run that knotted the score at 6-6.
“We knew we were in for a battle,” Leigey said. “They’re tough. That’s why they won it last year. I figured if we get six runs we win, so give Johnsonburg credit. They have some girls who can hit.”
The Ramettes looked to take the lead in the seventh as Sorg legged out a 1-out triple, but Siple was able to strand the go-ahead run at third by getting a lineout and groundout to second baseman Wischuck.
That set the stage for Olosky’s heroics in the bottom of the frame.
Harzinski led off with a walk and moved to second on Rudy’s groundout.
Wischuck reached on an infield error that allowed Harzinski to move to third and Olosky delivered the game-winner two pitches later.
Dunworth, Jones, Sorg and Casilio each had two hits for the Ramettes.
“We did it in spurts,” Gerber said. “We definitely centered some up. We put the ball in play and not only that, we hit it hard. I’m proud of the way the girls battled,” Gerber said. “Curwensville was the No. 1 seed and we were right there with them.”
With the win, Curwensville improved to 13-7 overall.
The Lady Tide tangle with No. 2 seed Cranberry Monday at 3 p.m. at Heindl Field for the D-9 class 2A title.
Johnsonburg plays Moniteau in the consolation game with the winner possibly playing in a true second-place game depending on who wins the championship.
Score by innings
Johnsonburg 002 022 0 — 6
Curwensville 200 400 1 — 7
Dunworth ss 4121, Jones p 3120, Sorg cf 4122, Kasmierski 1b 4001, Grunthaner c 4000, Cherry lf 2100, Dellaquilla dp 3000, Gardner 2b 3000, Casilio 3b 3222, Shreffler (flex) rf 0000. Totals: 30-6-8-5.
Butler c 4120, Warren rf 2200, Siple p 4123, Harzinski 1b 2112, Rudy ss 4020, Wischuck 2b 4000, Olosky cf 4021, Simcox pr 0200, Hainsey 3b 3010, McCartney dp 3010, Shaw (flex) lf 0000. Totals: 30-7-12-6.
Errors: Johnsonburg 2, Curwensville 2. DP—Curwensville 1. LOB—Johnsonburg 5, Curwensville 8. 2B—Jones, Dunworth. 3B—Sorg. HR—Sorg (1 on, 3rd), Caslio (ITP, 1 on 6th); Siple (ITP. 2 on, 4th). SB—Casilio, Jones; Simcox, Wischuck. WP—Jones 4; Siple. PB—Grunthaner 2.
Johnsonburg: Jones—6 1/3 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO.
Curwensville: Siple—7 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER