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Hayley McGowan's two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning led the St. Marys Area Lady Dutch to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Lady Crusaders of Elk County Catholic on Friday afternoon at the Benzinger Park softball field.
The Lady Crusaders took the early lead in the game, but a seventh-inning rally by the Lady Dutch proved to be the difference in a very close, well- played, hard-fought game.
"I am extremely proud of the way the girls played today," said Coach Manny Gerarge of the Lady Dutch. "We were down early in the game but, the girls never gave up and came up with the win in a very exciting finish. This was a great game, as both teams played very well and we are very happy to come out on top of this thriller."
"Kelsey Fritz did a fantastic job for us on the mound as she came on in the fourth inning for Rachel Ginther, who was injured running to first base in the fourth," noted Gerarge. "Kelsey held Elk to just one hit as she pitched really well, giving up just one hit in her four innings of relief."
Kelsey Ginther picked up the win for the Lady Dutch. She went four full innings striking out five, walking just one and giving up just one hit. Rachel Ginther, who was injured in the fourth inning and had to leave the game, pitched three innings, giving up three hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking no one.
Elk Catholic's Taylor Schlimm also pitched an excellent game, as she gave up just two hits in taking the loss. She struck out five and issued no walks. She gave up one earned run.
Neither team was able to score in the first two innings, as the pitchers were in control of the ball game. St. Marys opened the third by getting their first batter on first on an infield error. The next batter hit a ground ball to second baseman Lyndsey Trumbull, who tagged the runner, then fired to first to record a double play. The next batter hit a shot to right, which Anna Hawkins fielded and fired to first to retire the side.
In the bottom half of the inning with two outs, Hannah McGowan singled, stole second, then scored on a single by Jessie Ginther to give the Lady Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Dutch and Lady Crusaders went down in order in the fourth. Both teams had a runner on in the fifth, but couldn't score. In the sixth, Elk had another runner reach second base but couldn't score.
In the top half of the seventh, the first Lady Dutch batter was retired on a ground ball to second, then Mia Keener reached first on an infield error. She advanced to second on a passed ball. Hayley McGowan then ripped a shot to deep center field which turned into an inside-the-park, two-run homer to give the Lady Dutch a 2-1 lead after six and a half innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Fritz retired the first two ECCHS batters on fly balls, then walked Michelle Imbrogno, but she came back to strike out the next batter to end the inning and the game, thus giving St. Marys a 2-1 victory over ECCHS.
St. Marys Area is now 6-2 on the season, while the Lady Crusaders fell to 6-1 in games played and 6-2 overall.
The Lady Crusaders will return to action today when they host the Bradford Area Lady Owls at 1 p.m. at Benzinger Park.
The Lady Dutch will return to action on Monday afternoon when they play host to the Punxsutawney Lady Chucks at the St. Marys Area High School softball field. Earlier this season, the Lady Dutch were defeated by the Lady Chucks.
St. Marys Area 2
Erica Sorg 3-0-0, Kali Quagliani 3-0-0, Rachel Ginther 2-0-0, Mia Keener 1-1-0, Hayley McGowan 3-1-1, Mandy Gerarge 3-0-0, Savanah Krivonyak 3-0-1, Cassie Wonderling 2-0-0, Taylor Bellina 2-0-0, Raelyn Cunningham 2-0-0, Kelsey Fritz 0-0-0. Totals 24-2-2.
Elk Catholic 1
Hannah McGowan 3-1-1, Jessie Ginther 3-0-1, Anna Hawkins 3-0-1, Jenny Cappiello 3-0-0, Lyndsey Trumbull 3-0-0, Taylor Schlimm 3-0-1, Kristy Hanes 3-0-0, Michelle Imbrogno 2-0-0, Torie Gradizzi 2-0-0, Jena Struble 1-0-0, Jessie McLaughlin 0-0-0. Totals 26-1-4.
Score by Innings
St. Marys 000 000 2 2
ECCHS 001 000 0 1