Mt. Pleasant softball gets 2nd chance to win a title

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Sunday, June 2, 2019 | 8:52 PM


Mt. Pleasant will try to get ramped up for another postseason run after falling short in the WPIAL Class 4A softball final Friday to first-time champion Elizabeth Forward.

The PIAA playoffs give teams a second chance to win a title, and the Vikings plan to take full advantage of that opportunity when state play opens Monday against District 6 champion Bellefonte (13-8).

Their perfect record took a hit. Their ego did not.

“Obviously, I hate to lose, but sometimes you just do,” said Vikings pitcher Carolyn Alincic, the team’s lone senior. “I’m a firm believer in it’s not about how many games you win, but how strong you come back once you get knocked down.

“I think my team will have blood in their eyes come Monday.”

The Vikings (17-1), nationally ranked by MaxPreps heading into the district title game, finally were solved by an Elizabeth Forward team intent on correcting last year’s championship near-miss against Belle Vernon.

“There are going to be some tears and things,” Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Brunson said after the title-game loss. “Sometimes it’s not our turn. Last year, (Elizabeth Forward) lost to Belle Vernon, and it wasn’t their turn. This year, it was their turn.”

The loss also will serve as fuel for Mt. Pleasant, which hopes to channel its inner 2017 team to spark another playoff push.

Mt. Pleasant lost to Belle Vernon in the WPIAL semifinals that season but won the third-place game to get into the state tournament, then proceeded to defeat Harbor Creek, Belle Vernon, Yough and Tunkhannock to win the PIAA title.

“I hope it’s exactly like 2017,” Alincic said. “Our 2017 run was absolutely insane. Coming off a loss, going into the first round of states really got us fired up and hungrier than we started because we felt like we had something to prove.”

Mt. Pleasant’s bats were silenced by Elizabeth Forward and sophomore pitcher Kailey Larcinese, who struck out eight in a three-hit, 3-0 shutout of the top-seeded Vikings. Alincic struck out 12 and allowed just four hits, but the Warriors won by manufacturing runs by way of the bunt.

“Offensively, they did their job and we didn’t,” Brunson said. “We couldn’t get that two-out hit. We couldn’t get anything going except in that one inning. It didn’t work out, but our season isn’t over yet.”

The Vikings have a young team, that, truth be told, is mostly inexperienced in the playoffs, but they also have the talent to recharge – like another local team did three years ago.

Yough also proved a loss in the WPIAL playoffs doesn’t have to be crushing. The Cougars rallied from a district semifinal defeat to bring home PIAA gold in 2016.

“It usually wakes them up and gets them hungry,” Brunson said of the second-chance season. “Everybody would like to be holding the trophy who is wearing blue (and red). If it was a team that it was their turn and not our turn, hats off to (Elizabeth Forward). I am happy for them.”

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

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