Meadville Tribune

July 13, 2013

DISTRICT 1: Smart baserunning, clutch pitching leads MET to title

By Pete Chiodo
PETE CHIODO/Meadville Tribune

SAEGERTOWN — The philosophy for the Mid-East/Titusville 9 and 10 Year Old All-Stars for Friday night’s meeting with Conneaut Valley/Linesville was a simple one:

If you get on base, don’t just stand there. Go get another one.

That method paid off as MET needed just one base hit to defeat CVL 4-0 in the District 1 9 and 10 Year Old softball championship game, held yesterday at Bertram Park.

“The theory behind it is, until they prove that they can stop you on the base paths, you have got to be aggressive,” said MET coach Terry Doolittle. “When you’re facing a great pitcher like (Ashton) Andrews you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get.”

It helped that Mid-East/Titusville had a terrific pitcher of its own in McKenna Houck. She fired a no-hitter at CVL, including just one walk with a dozen strikeouts. She and the defense recorded the final 14 outs in order.

“They’re a tremendous team,” said Conneaut Valley/Linesville coach Sharon Thompkins “They had great pitching, solid defense and they were very aggressive on the bases. They pushed us hard on defense.”

Friday’s win caps off a perfect 4-0 run through the District 1 bracket for MET, during which the team outscored its opponents by a total of 28-1.

MET now advances to the Section 1 tournament, which begins Monday in Corry.

Among the team’s victories was a 14-1 win over Conneaut Valley/ Linesville in the winner’s bracket     final on Tuesday.

Yesterday’s rematch was a much closer affair. The credit for that belongs in large part to Andrews, who yielded just one hit through six innings and struck out 11.

She did, however, walk seven batters. And that gave MET the opportunity to create some havoc on the base paths.

After two scoreless innings, MET finally broke through in the third. Darcy Christy drew a lead-off walk, sTole second, and then was knocked over to third on a bunt single by Taylor Kerr — the only base hit of the game.  

Christy never stopped around third but headed right for home. The throw back to the plate was off the mark, allowing Christy to score and Kerr to move to second.

Kerr later stole third and, afterwards, made it 2-0 on a wild pitch.

That’s where the score remained until the top of the sixth.

With two outs, Emily Finley was hit by a pitch. She then stole second and later hustled towards third on a wild pitch. CVL catcher Mya Bartic tried to gun Finley down at third, but the throw got by the third baseman, allowing Finley to come all the way home.

Alaina Gallegor put the final run on the board soon after. She walked, and then moved all the way round the diamond on a wild pitch, a stolen base, and then home on another wild pitch.

CVL had three more outs in the bottom of the sixth to mount a comeback, but Houck ran through them 1-2-3.

Houck was only in trouble twice in the game. In the first, CVL’s Emily Bortnick drew a lead-off walk and then made it to third on a wild pitch and a grounder by Hallie Bortnick. But Houck fanned the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Then in the second, Beth Johnson reached on MET’s lone error of the game. She got into scoring position on a passed ball. However, Houck once again got the final two outs on strikes to bail her team out.

“She’s a very good pitcher,” Doolittle said about Houck. “She’s had a very good tournament.

“And (CVL) is a very tough team,” he added. “That’s what I told them after the game, they were very good.”

Coach Thompkins was happy with her team as well, saying, “They did fantastic. I’m very proud of them. They played hard. They came together from two different teams and they played well together. They’ve really improved over the last month that we’ve been together.”