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July 16, 2014

DuBois too much for MV

COCHRANTON — DuBois’ defense hasn’t been as tight as coach Justin Bundy would like throughout its all-star run.

And on Wednesday evening the miscues continued, allowing McLane/Vernon to jump on top early in the winner’s bracket final of the Section 1 Junior League softball tournament at Cochranton High School.

Outstanding pitching and an arsenal of offensive weapons capable of putting a game out of reach with one swing of the bat, though, can go a long ways in avenging those mistakes.

Molly Nosker allowed just two hits and DuBois pounded out 11 base knocks, including three for extra bases, on its way to a 12-1 six-inning win over McLane/Vernon.

With the win, DuBois advances to today’s Section 1 title game. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. DuBois will face the winner of the 3:30 p.m. loser’s bracket final between Union City and McLane/Vernon.

“We’ve been hitting the ball really well,” said Bundy, noting DuBois has outscored its opponents 75-19 over its last five games. “We had a few hiccups defensively, but luckily our hitting bailed us out.”

DuBois scored a total of 24 runs yesterday. The defending Section 1 champions beat Union City 12-9 thanks to a couple of big swings from Rachel Gildersleeve. Gildersleeve had a solo home run for DuBois and in her next at-bat crushed a grand slam.

Gildersleeve did some more damage against McLane/Vernon. This time she kept the ball in the park, lacing a two-out two-run double in the sixth inning. But DuBois did have itself another great big hit, one that closed the door on a tight game in the third inning and sent DuBois cruising.

McLane/Vernon did strike first, though. Abbie Staley reached on an error with one out in the first inning and scored on a two-out single by Mia Schaller. The second inning required just six batters to complete with Staley, McLane/Vernon’s starter, and Nosker barely breaking a sweat to close the inning. Then came the third.

Staley coaxed a grounder back to the circle for the first out of the third inning. Then Danessa Allison won a long battle to draw a walk, Laura Fatula singled to move Allison to second. She scored on a fielding error to tie the game at a run apiece with just one out. DuBois loaded the bases, but McLane/Vernon got a big out at home on a ground ball off the bat clean-up batter Lexi Ray.

It looked like McLane/Vernon might works itself out of the jam. Gabi Wayne had other plans.

Wayne cleared the bases for DuBois with a home run to left-center that fell at least six feet beyond the fence.

DuBois finished the third inning, leading 5-1. Nosker and her filthy change-up did the rest. She pitched the minimum through the final three-and-a-half innings.

McLane/Vernon’s leadoff batter in the third inning reached on an error, but was thrown out by DuBois catcher Kacie Means on an attempted steal. Miah Ewing drew a walk after, but was eliminated on a 6-3 double play.

McLane/Vernon also got its leadoff hitter aboard in the sixth inning when Megan Kingston roped a single, just the second hit of the game. She too was thrown out on a double play when DuBois second baseman Kylee Bundy tagged Kingston and then threw on to first to get Ewing on a ground ball for the second out. Nosker picked up her sixth strikeout for the final out of the inning and the game.

“That’s a real nice team,” McLane/Vernon coach Jerry Davis said. “They hit the ball real well. We didn’t.”

A credit to Nosker.

“She did a heckuva job,” Davis said. “She threw a lot of change-ups and we don’t typically see pitchers who throw a lot of change-ups. It kind of caught the girls by surprise. We tried to make adjustments. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.”

Now McLane/Vernon will have to get past Union City for another shot at DuBois.

“Another good team,” Davis said. “They have a really nice pitcher. They hit well. We have to come out and play hard. We played hard all through districts. I think we’ll rebound.”

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