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July 10, 2014

McLane upends Cochranton in extras

COCHRANTON — After two days of tense, heartpounding softball action, the first championship contender in the District 1 9 & 10 Year Old softball tournament has been determined.

McLane earned its spot in Friday’s championship game on Wednesday evening with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning when Haley Bloomquist scored on a passed ball to give the Edinboro-area girls a 4-3 win over Cochranton.

Other than a few skips up the first base line and a couple of high fives, though, McLane kept the celebrating rather low-key.

It was, after all, one of the few times this summer that Beth Schaller’s club has celebrated without Cochranton sharing the same dugout. McLane and Cochranton have played together on travel teams, and Schaller and Cochranton coach Don Harvey and their players have developed great friendships.

“I’m very, very close to that team,” Schaller said, fighting back tears. “Don Harvey is one of my best friends. We’ve been playing against each other since our older daughters were 9 years old. So we’ve been going back and forth — McLane and Cochranton — for a number of years.

“I coached three of those girls on a travel team. Yet we’re still hashing it out.

“But at the end of seven innings, (Harvey) is still one of my best friends.”

What makes it even harder, perhaps, is the route in which Cochranton and McLane took to get to a final decision yesterday.

Both teams came to win when the contest first got underway Tuesday at Cochranton High School. Riley Harvey was in a groove in the circle and Bailey Cannon was equally efficient on the rubber for McLane. In fact, through three innings neither team had a hit.

Cannon broke up the no-hitter with a single in the fourth inning. McLane also scored in the inning when Sarah Banta was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It added two more runs in the fifth inning on RBI singles by Anna Chernicky and Cannon to take a 3-0 lead going into the sixth.

That’s when Cochranton woke up its sticks.

Faith Glancy recorded the first baseknock for Cochranton in the fifth. But in the sixth inning, Cochranton collected four hits, including RBI triples by Harvey and Makaylee Stearns and an RBI single by Jaylin McGill that tied the game at 3-3 with one out in the sixth. Then came the rain.

With playing conditions deteriorating and daylight hours fading, the game was suspended.

The contest resumed Wednesday with McGill at first base and just one out for Cochranton. McGill put herself in scoring position with two outs, but was left stranded.

A new day, Cochranton, which put in a relief pitcher in the fourth inning on Tuesday, had Riley Harvey well-rested and ready to go again against McLane. She retired the first two batters she faced looking at strike 3 and left a runner stranded at second when she coaxed a pop-up for the third out.

Cochranton then went back at the plate. Ella Gallo put together a nice at-bat to draw a leadoff walk in the seventh. She stole second and advanced to third on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt off the bat of Kaylin Rose with just one out. That is where she remained.

Harvey got two quick outs to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Bloomquist smacked a line drive up the middle to extend the inning for McLane. She stole second, moved to third on a single by Soboleski and scored the game-winner on a passed ball.

“Our oldest daughters did this six years ago when they were 9 & 10 battling in the winner’s bracket final,” Harvey said. “Same teams. Same coaches almost. Now we’re here in the same spot six years later and still having exciting games. It’s hard, but hats off to those guys.

“We’re all friends. When it’s all said and done it’s 9 & 10 softball and we’re still all friends. That’s what it’s all about.”

McLane will play for the District 1 title on Friday at 6 p.m. back at Cochranton High School. It will face the winner of today’s loser’s bracket final between Cochranton and Lakeview/Commodore Perry. That game is also slated for 6 p.m.

 

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