Trio of Mt. Pleasant pitchers combine to no-hit Highlands in season-opener
By: Michael Love
Thursday, April 5, 2018 | 8:54 PM
After waiting two weeks through all manner of weather roadblocks, the Highlands and Mt. Pleasant softball teams kicked off their seasons Thursday with a Section 1-4A contest.
The top-ranked Vikings collected 11 hits and Carolyn Alincic, Meadow Uncapher and Mary Smithnosky combined for a no-hitter in a 10-0 victory.
“The girls were just so anxious to play,” Mt. Pleasant coach Lauren (Shaheen) Armanious said. “With all of that hard work in the gym and the preparing, it's nice to come out and see where all the parts fit and see what we need to work on. It's hard to figure that out until you play a game. They needed to get out there, see live pitching and get the rust off.”
Highlands had four games postponed since the first permitted play date March 23, while Mt. Pleasant was unable to play three games.
“If we had an indoor softball playoff, we'd probably do pretty well,” Highlands coach Jennifer Koprivnikar said. “It was nice to be outside. The wind was a factor at times, but it was great to get the girls real-game experience.”
Thursday's game concluded after six innings. Mt. Pleasant scored twice in the first and added single runs in the second and fifth for a 4-0 lead before tallying six runs in the sixth to put the 10-run mercy rule in effect.
Alincic, a junior, got the start for the Vikings and struck out five over three innings. A hit batter was the only blemish.
Uncapher then delivered two scoreless innings. The senior struck out two and walked one.
Smithnosky, a freshman, made her varsity debut and pitched the seventh. Highlands leadoff hitter Emily Cochran reached on an error in the frame and moved to second on a groundout. But she was not able to advance any farther as a strikeout ended the game.
Armanious said the game plan heading in was to have all three pitchers get some work.
“They pitched really well, and that's the expectation we have for them,” she said.
Koprivnikar said her hitters could've been more selective at the plate at times.
“We've only been outside a couple times, so we haven't seen that much live pitching,” she said. “It was a tough first game to go up against pitchers that good.”
Cochran allowed 11 hits, struck out seven and walked one. Only one of the six runs Mt. Pleasant scored in the sixth was earned, as the Golden Rams committed four errors.
“We played pretty well but just fell apart that one inning,” Koprivnikar said. “Emily pitched well against a good-hitting lineup.”
Mt. Pleasant scored all the runs it would need in the first.
Ava Gnibus drew the Vikings' only walk of the game to lead off the inning. She stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on the first of two triples from Chloe Poulich.
Uncapher plated Poulich with a groundout. Poulich finished with three hits and three RBIs.
“It was a nice start and a good win,” Poulich said. “Everyone's learning their role and how they can help the team,”
Alyssa Keslar added three hits — a double and two singles — and Sydney Kanuch also knocked in a pair of runs for the Vikings. Addy Kubasky tallied a run-scoring single in the sixth.