Mt. Pleasant, Elizabeth Forward battle for berth to state title game

Sunday, June 9, 2019 | 9:02 PM

It’s a winner-take-all game when Mt. Pleasant faces Elizabeth Forward on Monday at the PIAA Class 4A semifinals at Seton Hill.

Elizabeth Forward defeated Mt. Pleasant, 3-0, in the WPIAL finals. The Warriors (21-4) are riding a 20-game winning streak into the 2 p.m. They haven’t lost since March 28 when Mt. Pleasant won a 4-0 decision.

Mt. Pleasant (21-1) is the last team to defeat Elizabeth Forward, but the Vikings were unable to put anything together offensively against Warriors sophomore pitcher Kailey Larcinese in the WPIAL title game.

After the Vikings rallied to defeat James Buchanan in the quarterfinals Thursday, senior pitcher Carolyn Alincic said the team was looking ahead to their next game and wasn’t truly focused. The result was an early 2-0 deficit. The Vikings scored a run in the sixth to tie the score and added two in the eighth for a 4-2 win.

“I don’t wish for an opponent,” Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Brunson said. “The players know its win or go home.

“When we played them in March, they didn’t do any small ball. They did in the championship. We knew they would, but maybe we didn’t believe it. This time, we’ll be better ready for it. Hopefully, we’ll defend it.”

Mt. Pleasant was the PIAA champion in 2017, and Alincic pitched in the championship game. She knows what to expect, and she has been in tight situations before.

When they lost to Elizabeth Forward, the Vikings didn’t have many scoring opportunities against Larcinese, who was sharp in the Warriors’ 1-0 win against Grove City. She allowed two hits, no walks and struck out eight.

“Kailey didn’t give us many scoring opportunities,” Brunson said. “EF punched us in the month, and we didn’t respond. I was glad we punched back against James Buchanan.”

The Vikings showed their mettle against a tough pitcher and were able to pound out 14 hits, four each from Katie Hutter and Autumn Shogan. It was Shogan who started the eighth-inning rally with a double.

Alincic said the team has to get focused.

“We got level-headed at the end,” Alincic said. “We were looking forward to who we played next. I was happy how we responded and hopefully we’ll carry the momentum on to the next game.”

Brunson allowed most of his players to participate in some travel tournaments Friday and Saturday, but they were back at work preparing for the rematch with Elizabeth Forward on Sunday night.

“I’m glad we’re playing at Seton Hill,” Brunson said. “We’ve played there a few times, so the girls are used to the field. I like the dirt circle for the pitchers.”

Alincic struck out 12 and allowed four hits against Elizabeth Forward, and Larcinese allowed three hits and struck out eight.

Elizabeth Forward coach Harry Rutherford said there won’t be any surprises because the teams have played a few times. He said they will be ready.

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

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