GCC softball team comes up 1 hit short in PIAA 1st round

Monday, June 6, 2022 | 6:22 PM

DUBOIS — Greensburg Central Catholic’s defense was sharp behind junior pitcher Emma Henry all afternoon in the PIAA Class A softball playoff opener.

But there was one ball they couldn’t catch, and it doomed the Centurions’ season.

DuBois Central Catholic senior Emma Suplizio blasted a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to break open a close game, and the Cardinals downed the Centurions, 4-2, on Monday at Heindl Memorial Field.

It was the second homer of the season for Suplizio, who leads the team with 29 RBIs.

“One more hit,” GCC coach Mike Gaffney said. “That’s what they had. One bad pitch, and they hit it out.”

GCC, making its first PIAA appearance since 2012, ends the season 13-7.

District 9 champion DuBois (20-3) moves on to play West Greene or Conemaugh Township in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Henry, who did not have a strikeout but limited a potent lineup that came in batting .457 to nine hits, most of which came from the top of the order, said Suplizio connected.

The homer hit the top of the orange-lined fence, just left of the 218-feet mark, and bounced over the barrier.

“That’s softball sometimes,” Henry said. “I threw an outside drop curve, and she got underneath it. I knew as soon as she hit it, it was gone.”

GCC, the WPIAL’s third-place team, held a steady 2-1 lead for much of the day.

Two runs came home in the first inning thanks to a triple by Isabela Marquez — obstruction was called between second and third — and an RBI groundout by Henry.

The Cardinals, who reached the state semifinals last year after finishing second in 2019, cut it to 2-1 in the bottom of the first.

Sophomore Kayley Risser, who went 2 for 3, knocked in a run on an infield single before GCC ended the inning with a double play.

Suplizio, the right fielder, threw out a runner at home in the third after a single by senior Bailey Kuhns.

DuBois made a pitching change in the top of the fourth, bringing in senior Morgan Tyler for sophomore Melia Mitskavich.

GCC adjusted well with the change, putting the bat on the ball like it had against Mitskavich.

Henry was effective in getting the Cardinals to ground out and pop out, recording 17 outs that way, even making an over-the-shoulder catch for the second out in the fifth before Suplizio’s homer broke the mood.

“Defensively, we did everything we needed to do,” Gaffney said. “We needed more hits. We needed more than two runs. We had girls on base but couldn’t get them home.”

GCC left six on base, including runners at first and second in the top of the seventh.

Sophomore Lydia Morgan and freshman Kali Franklin had back-to-back singles to set up Suplizio’s homer. Franklin went 3 for 3.

DuBois sophomore catcher Jessy Frank threw out two potential base stealers. Risser added two hits for the Cardinals.

“We were in front of the No. 2 team in the state, so that is something to be proud of,” Henry said. “It sucks to lose our seniors. But we did a lot of things to be happy about.”

GCC will lose six seniors, including Bailey Kuhns and Natalie Ward.

Freshman Erica Rodriguez and Macee Magill singled in the seventh for GCC, but Marquez lined into a 5-3 double play.

Magill had two hits for GCC.

“This program has been mediocre for years,” Gaffney said. “To be back in the state playoffs and have a chance to win, it puts us back on the map. Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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