Mt. Pleasant bounces back, defeats Bellefonte in PIAA opening round

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Monday, June 3, 2019 | 6:40 PM


UNIVERSITY PARK — Mt. Pleasant had two days to forget about losing the WPIAL Class 5A softball championship game.

That feeling of defeat lasted until noon Monday. Then, the Vikings got back to work.

Mt. Pleasant began the PIAA playoffs at the same site where it hopes the season ends June 13 — Penn State’s Beard Field.

The Vikings pounded out 13 hits, got four RBIs from Autumn Shogun, and defeated District 6 champion Bellefonte, 9-4.

Mt. Pleasant (18-1), which lost 3-0 to Elizabeth Forward in the district final Friday, raced out to a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning before Bellefonte (13-9) rallied.

“I wanted this game really bad,” Mt. Pleasant pitcher Carolyn Alincic said. “They beat us my freshman season, 3-2. I definitely could’ve pitched better for the team, but I liked the result.

“We used that loss (to EF) to fuel our fire. We don’t like to lose. It’s been that way since we were little kids. Losing the game was one of the better things that could happen to us.”

Heading into the WPIAL championship game, the Vikings were ranked No. 13 in the nation by MaxPreps. Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Brunson said he felt it tightened up his players.

“The offense has been fighting ourselves for awhile coming down the stretch,” Brunson said. “They finally put it all together.

“I think the ranking tightened us up a bit. But I think we’re over that now.”

Mt. Pleasant jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Haylie Brunson, who singled, scored on a single by Hannah Gnibus.

The Vikings made it 2-0 in the third when Katie Hutter doubled and scored on Shogun’s RBI ground out.

Three Bellefonte errors in the fourth inning led to two runs. Brunson, who reached on an error, scored on Mary Smithnosky’s single. Hutter then scored on an errant throw to second.

“We swung the bats well,” Bellefonte coach Travis Foster said. “Eleven hits off that girl says something what we are as a squad. But we definitely left a little on the field. We left some runs, and we left some errors.”

Alincic worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning by striking out Madelyn Tice and Lissi Przybys.

“As a pitcher and the only senior, I’m counted on being the leader,” Alincic said. “When I pitched here two years ago, I pitched out of two bases-loaded jams, so I’m used to the pressure.”

Mt. Pleasant scored four times in the sixth, highlighted by Shogun’s bases-clearing double, to extend the lead to 9-2.

After the Elizabeth Forward game, Smithnosky said the team got together and said “this is when the season begins.”

“This is when the read deal starts,” Smithnosky said. “We were sharp mentally. We took a power nap, and it helped us.

“I’m really happy the offense came out strong. I could tell in warmups that we had a good approach. We were ready mentally, and I knew we were ready to go.”

Mt. Pleasant had 13 hits, three each by Brunson and Smithnosky.

The Vikings will play District 11 champion James Buchanan (16-7) in the PIAA quarterfinals Thursday at a time and site to be determined.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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