Mount Pleasant Wins First State Softball Title
Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 9:23 PM
Last season, the Mt. Pleasant Vikings were crowned WPIAL AAA champions, but the PIAA playoff run lasted just one game. This year, Mt. Pleasant had to win the third-place consolation game to reach the state playoffs and they did. Mt. Pleasant then had to defeat the district 10 champion (Harbor Creek), WPIAL Champion (Belle Vernon) and WPIAL runner-up (Yough), they did. Looking past last year’s PIAA let-down, Mt. Pleasant overcame the difficult odds and were crowned PIAA 4A Champions with a 5-3 victory over the Tuckhannock Tigers.
The first three runs in the game for Mt. Pleasant came in the third inning, all of which were unearned runs. Left fielder Sydney Kanuch led off the inning with a single and center fielder Ava Gnibus followed with a walk. With one out, third baseman Chloe Poulich grounded a ball through the legs of Tuckhannock first baseman Hailey Farr. On the error, both Kanuch and Gnibus scored making it 2-0 and Poulich reached third. Second baseman Meadow Uncapher the reached on an error by Tiger third baseman Jena Simmons, allowing Poulich to score and make the lead 3-0.
Tunkhannock cut the lead to 3-2 with a single run in both the third and fourth frames. In the third, center fielder Paige Mokychic doubled in shortstop Faith Jones to make it 3-1 and in the fourth, Farr doubled in left fielder Sarah Traver to make it a 3-2 game.
Mt. Pleasant regained its three-run lead in the fifth after back-to-back RBI extra base hits. Gnibus led off the inning with a double and scored immediately after when left fielder Adaline Kubasky doubled, making it 4-2. Poulich then followed the back-to-back doubles with an RBI triple, scoring Kubasky to make it 5-2.
The Tigers chipped away one last time in the sixth, pitcher Hope Jones hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring designated player Erin Dunn, making it 5-3. However, this would also be the play of the game, as Gnibus made a diving catch with the bases loaded and no outs to limit the Tigers to just one run on the play.
Mt. Pleasant pitcher Caroline Alincic pitched her first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the seventh, clinching the PIAA 4A Championship for the Vikings.
Alincic pitched a complete game, allowing three runs, all earned, ten hits, no walks and struck out one Tiger in the victory.
Hope Jones received the loss for Tunkhannock pitching four-plus innings, allowing five runs, two earned, six hits and two walks.
Kendra Schultz came in relieve and pitched three innings, allowing no runs and three hits, while walking one.
At the plate, Gnibus led the Vikings going 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, while also drawing a walk. Kanuch and Kubasky also had multiple hits going 2-for-3 and 2-for-4 respectively.
The Tigers received multiple hits by Mokychic and Traver. However, the Tigers left 10 runners on base, eight in scoring position and went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
More Softball• Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Softball League set for Week 2 of game action
• Hempfield softball team prepares for post-Bob Kalp era
• Penn Hills sophomore Sipple helps Nitro 14U softball capture World Series title
• Westmoreland notebook: WPIAL champs head to PNC Park; lacrosse players hit big stage
• George Guido: Valley’s PIAA softball title run in 2011 was worth the wait