Southmoreland softball continues its historic run, reaches PIAA semifinals
By: George Guido
Thursday, June 7, 2018 | 8:30 PM
DUBOIS — Southmoreland had to escape an early hole in Monday's PIAA Class 3A softball opener. But there was no need for late heroics Thursday afternoon as the Scotties scored three runs in the top of the first and rolled to a 7-0 victory over Hickory at DuBois City Park.
Freshman pitcher Jess Matheny continued to build on her memorable season as she scattered seven hits and struck out 11 while pitching with a knee problem that will need surgery at the end of the playoffs.
Matheny helped herself with three hits and a pair of RBIs.
Lexi Klatt's two-run triple in the first inning drove home two runs, and Klatt scored on the first of Matheny's three hits to stake the Scotties to a 3-0 advantage.
Southmoreland (12-7) qualified for a PIAA semifinal for the first time in the school's 54-year history. The Scotties will battle Philipsburg-Osceola in the Class 3A semifinals at a time and site to be determined.
“We talked about the girls hitting, and I thought we were real disciplined when we came in,” Southmoreland coach Todd Brunner said. “We do what we do, move runners around and try to score. If you can score early, it's a good thing. Then you try to add on.”
That's exactly what the Scotties did, scoring single runs in the third through the sixth innings, and controlled the game the entire way.
Matheny got out of a jam in the fourth inning with the Scotties in front 5-0. Disha Patel was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Autumn Black doubled Patel to third.
Metheny struck out two of the next three, with Maura Mulligan's pop up to first sandwiched between.
“I can't talk about that kid any more than what she's done,” Brunner said. “Everybody knows by now she has a torn lateral meniscus, and she postponed her surgery 'til the end of the year. She'll dive to catch a ball or dive toward a base. She's that kind of a kid. She made our whole season by deciding to do that on her own with her parents.”
Said Metheny: “I didn't think about anything else besides being in the circle with the eight other girls behind me. Nobody from Southmoreland has ever gone this far, and it's a feeling I can't describe.”
Meanwhile, Hickory, also making its first PIAA softball appearance, finished 15-7.
“It was a heartbreaker there,” Hickory coach Will Zachrich said. “We left some runners stranded. They hit the ball in the gaps where we couldn't get to it.”
Southmoreland collected 12 hits and never was retired 1-2-3.
“This is the first time we were ever in the WPIAL finals, first time we won a WPIAL championship and the first time we ever won two PIAA playoff games,” said Brunner, in his fifth season as Scotties coach. “It's never been done in any sport at our school. It's a Cinderella run with these girls, and it's fun.”
George Guido is a freelance writer.