Smithnosky powers top-seeded Mt. Pleasant past Avonworth into Class 3A finals

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 9:02 PM


Taking ownership of another WPIAL playoff game, senior Mary Smithnosky propelled Mt. Pleasant into the Class 3A championship with her arm and her bat.

The top-seeded Vikings stood on the shoulders of Smithnosky, who tossed a one-hitter and went 3 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs, in an 8-0 victory over No. 4 Avonworth in a semifinal game Tuesday at Penn-Trafford.

After back-to-back playoff shutouts, Mt. Pleasant (16-3) moves on to face No. 11 Ellwood City (14-4) in the title game June 2 or 3 at Cal (Pa.). Game times have not been announced for the six finals.

Avonworth (12-6), the WPIAL champion in 2019, will play Southmoreland (11-5) in the WPIAL third-place game Thursday at a time and site to be announced. The winner will go to the state playoffs.

“We’re happy to punch our ticket to the state tournament,” Vikings coach Chris Brunson said. “We set those milestone goals at the beginning of the season. Winning the section, get to the semis and get into states. Our girls are excited to play for a WPIAL championship.”

Smithnosky would have seemed hard-pressed to top her performance in the quarterfinals when she struck out 14 and gave up three hits in a 6-0 win over Derry.

But this was a command performance as the Vikings put their faith in the coming-on-strong right-hander, who struck out nine and walked one.

“This one felt even better than the last one because going in, we knew Avonworth was a good team,” said Smithnosky, a Western Michigan commit as a position player who added a RBI double. “To beat up on a good team like that, it felt better.”

After an early run-scoring double by Smithnosky, the Vikings made it 3-0 in the third when senior Liberty recruit Courtney Poulich cracked a two-run single to right-center field.

A five-run fourth put the game out of reach.

Sophomore Krista Brunson knocked in sophomore Sophia Smithnosky, senior Pitt commit Hailey Brunson delivered a sacrifice fly and Mary Smithnosky launched a three-run blast to deep left to push the lead to 8-0.

“We were already up at that point,” Smithnosky said about her third homer of the season. “People say, ‘Go win and stomp on their throats.’ That was the stomp.”

Mt. Pleasant had six hits.

“We started to chip a little bit,” Chris Brunson said. “But the home run broke it open. Avonworth is a good team, but we knew they were young.”

Avonworth’s hit was a blooper to right by senior Abigail Stanley in the third.

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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