NORTH HUNTINGDON — Mount Pleasant coach Chris Brunson spoke of the adversity his softball team has overcome this season after the Lady Vikings’ win in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
The Lady Vikings, as well as Avonworth, have another level of adversity to deal with after their PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal playoff game was called in the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday because of heavy storms that doused Norwin’s field.
Mount Pleasant’s Abby Swank was batting with one out when heavy rain, thunder and lightning swept through Westmoreland County.
The game will resume today at noon at Fox Chapel High School.
“Mentally, we’ll start at 0-0 and a brand new game,” explained Chris Brunson. “I think for our kids, they’ve been through different kinds of adversity this year. We have an older team and their goals are their goals, and they’ve done a good job.”
The Lady Vikings defeated Avonworth in the WPIAL semifinals, 8-0, and looked to pick up where they left off after Katie Hutter started the bottom of the first inning with a hustling triple.
However, Alivia Lantzy settled in and left Hutter standing on third with a short fly to center field, a strikeout and ground out.
“We made a couple mistakes early. We had the non-tag up (in the first inning,” said Chris Brunson.
The Lady Antelopes (14-6) put pressure on Mount Pleasant’s Mary Smithnosky in the top of the second inning.
Rylee Gray opened the inning with a single up the middle. Smithnosky struck out Cassie Henauer and Gray was forced at second on Emily Davis’ ground ball to shortstop.
Leah Kuban singled Davis to second. Abby Stanley’s hot shot was not handled for an error, but Swank’s throw from left field and catcher Lexis Shawley’s sweeping tag got Davis at the plate to end the threat.
Mount Pleasant (18-3) took the lead in the second inning.
Hannah Gnibus was hit by a pitch to open the inning. She stole second with Shawley striking out.
Gnibus stole third and Sophia Smithnosky was hit by a pitch. Smithnosky rolled into second base for a stolen base, and both came home on Swank’s double.
Mary Smithnosky stranded a runner in both the third and fourth innings, and the Lady Vikings added to their lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Haylie Brunson opened the inning with a shot to the center field fence, but was thrown out at third base trying to extend her double into a triple.
“I brought a girl to third I shouldn’t have brought and got her thrown out,” said Chris Brunson. “We were just feeling the game out a little bit.”
Mary Smithnosky followed the out at third base with a double that plunked on the right field line. Courtesy runner Emma Scanlon moved to third on a passed ball.
Courtney Poulich popped out to third base for the second out.
Gnibus followed with a tailing hit that kept sliding away from Avonworth right fielder Abby Stanley whose valiant diving attempt came up short for an run-scoring triple.
“Everything was starting to come around. Our intensity was really good,” said Chris Brunson.
The winner will face Punxsutawney in the state semifinals on Monday. The Lady Chucks defeated Cambria Heights, 6-4.