Elizabeth Forward knocks off Mt. Pleasant to play for 4A softball championship
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 5:27 PM
Making history is even better when it’s dramatic.
With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth inning, there were two outs and two strikes on the scoreboard. Elizabeth Forward senior Taylor Ludwick was on second base and ready to run on contact when sophomore Brianna Sersevic hit a spinning blooper to shallow center field that scored Ludwick as the Warriors downed Mt. Pleasant, 2-1, in the PIAA Class 4A semifinals at Seton Hill on Tuesday afternoon.
“That wasn’t the first time I’ve been in that position all year,” Sersevic said. “I was like, ‘Do what you’ve been doing in the past and just go up there and hit the ball, and if it’s there, hit the winning run in.’ We’re going to states.”
After winning a WPIAL title with a 3-0 win over the Vikings, Elizabeth Forward (22-4) continues its march and will face West Perry (District 3) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Penn State’s Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park.
West Perry downed District 2’s Honesdale, 3-1, to punch its ticket to the state final.
“They just got the ball to fall in,” Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Brunson said. “Today, we just didn’t get the hits when we needed them. An inch here or there and it’s a different game.”
Mt. Pleasant (21-2) senior pitcher Carolyn Alincic threw a gem but appeared to tire in the eighth.
Alincic struck out Warriors leadoff hitter Anna Resnick to start the eighth inning and had Jordan Pinneri hit a chopper back to the mound for the second out. It was a walk of Ludwick that proved problematic. Ludwick stole second base before Sersevic’s walk-off hit.
“Bri always comes up clutch,” Ludwick said. “Every game when she is (batting) behind me, I know that I’m going to somehow move to the next bag or score.”
Alincic gave up six hits and struck out 14 for the Vikings, but both runs were earned.
“Walks score. That’s just the way it is,” Brunson said. “When we got the two strikes on (Sersevic), we were just going to go after the hitter. It just didn’t work out for us.”
The Ludwick/Sersevic combination also produced early in the game.
It was the same scenario as the eighth inning. With two outs and Ludwick at second, Sersevic hit a 1-2 pitch to shallow left field for a 1-0 in the first inning.
“I’m not a dinger hitter. I’m just a contact hitter,” Sersevic said. “I just do my job, hit the ball and put into play.”
The Vikings’ Hannah Gnibus tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning when she sent a pitch over the center-field fence.
“Hannah got a pitch up, and she put a good barrel on it,” Brunson said. “She has been working really hard to get back to her early-in-the-year form.”
Mt. Pleasant had a golden opportunity in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Rae McNair on first and courtesy runner Taylor Sofranko on second, Haylie Brunson drilled a line drive to Warriors’ second baseman Jordan Pinneri who beat Sofranko back to second base for a double play.
Elizabeth Forward pitcher Kailey Larcinese pitched a complete game, striking out nine and giving up three hits.
“Now we’re going to State College, and we continue to set records for the school,” said Elizabeth Forward coach Harry Rutherford. “This will be the first trip for (Elizabeth Forward) ever, so we’re real pleased to get the opportunity.”