Elizabeth Forward avenges loss to Punxsutawney in PIAA first round

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Monday, June 3, 2019 | 9:42 PM


Last season, Punxsutawney shut out Elizabeth Forward in the first round of the state playoffs on its way to winning the PIAA Class 4A softball championship.

On Monday, the Warriors chucked the defending state champs out of the state postseason with an 8-2 victory at Peters Township High School.

The win moves the WPIAL champion Warriors (18-3) into the PIAA quarterfinals Thursday where they will face District 10 champion Grove City at a time and site to be determined.

“We haven’t really seen Punxy, but you can look at their stats and you knew their pitchers weren’t as strong as they were last year,” Elizabeth Forward coach Harry Rutherford said. “So we felt we could get bat on ball against their pitchers.”

The Warriors got a lot of bats on balls in the third inning.

Already leading 1-0, EF sent 12 batters to the plate and scored six runs. The first six Warriors reached, with sophomore Brianna Sersevic delivering an RBI single. Kailey Larcinese walked with the bases loaded, and senior Alexis Argyros followed with a two-run single.

“Everybody was contributing so we were pleased with that,” Rutherford said of the big third inning. “Lexi Argyos has been struggling a little all year, and she comes up with two key hits to plate some runs for us.”

A big play defensively for EF came in the second inning with the game still scoreless, when Kendal Johnston was hit by a pitch and Elliot Ferrent walked with nobody out for Punxsutawney (13-8).

After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners up, Abby Gigliotti bunted down the third-base line. Warriors’ third baseman Brooke Markland fielded it and fired to catcher Sersevic for a quick tag on a bang-bang play with Johnston called out.

Larcinese struck out Riley Preloid to end the Chucks threat.

“That was huge,” Larcinese said of the play at the plate. “I think them going ahead would have killed our energy a little bit. We got ahead first, so we kept it rolling.”

The sophomore right hander struggled a bit with four walks and two hit batters, but still made key pitches when needed to keep the Chucks in check.

“I think I was a little off today,” Larcinese said. “I don’t think rest had anything to do with it.”

Elizabeth Forward won its 17th game in a row. The victory comes only three days after the Warriors won WPIAL gold on Friday.

“I was a little concerned whether they would be ready for it or not,” Rutherford said. “They had a big-time party Friday night so I was concerned about how they’re going to prep for this game. The hitters were on, and we got the key hits when we needed to.”

Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.

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