Down to its last out of the seventh inning, the Union City Junior League softball team recorded three base hits, including a walk-off game-winner by Bree Kinney, while defeating McLane/Meadville/Vernon 3-2 in a thrilling loser’s bracket final of the Pennsylvania Section 1 All-Star tournament on Thursday at Cochranton.
“Down to our last out. And I think it was down to the last strike,” said Union City head coach Rob Thomas. “They pulled through. They’ve been pulling through on numerous occasions for me this season.”
There was no pulling through for Union City in its follow-up game on Thursday, however. The team faced DuBois in the section championship game, and DuBois ran away with the title and advanced to the state tournament with an 11-3 victory.
So, both Union City’s and McLane/Meadville/Vernon’s season came to an end yesterday. MMV’s summer simply ended a little earlier in the day.
“I’m really proud of these girls,” said MMV head coach Jerry Davis. “(On Wednes-day) we came out and we didn’t play our best game (in a 12-1 loss to DuBois). But I give the girls a lot of credit. They came back and they played hard. They could have hung their heads but they didn’t. It says a lot about their character. I think they’re a great group of girls.”
It was a back-and-forth battle between MMV and Union City in the day’s early game.
Union City struck for a run in the second when Kinney walked and Reagan Dougherty drove her home with a double into the left-center gap.
MMV tied it up with a run in the second. Kristine May — who was 2-for-2 on the day — hit a single and later scored on an error.
MMV then took a 2-1 lead in the third. Mia Schaller singled up the middle and stole second. Then Haley Wells scored her with a single to center field.
The score would remain that way for a couple innings as Union City’s Kinney and MMV’s Abbie Staley controlled the action from inside the pitching circle.
Staley ended the day allowing just three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out nine.
Kinney got the win, though, yielding two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
“We just couldn’t get that extra hit, score that extra run,” said Davis
Union City’s offense, however, finally broke through in the sixth. Brooke Chelton made it to second on a throwing error. Then Kinney sacrificed her over to third. And Kennedy Koe sent Chelton home on a fielder’s choice, knotting the score at 2-2.
Then came the seventh. Staley got the first two batters out on strikes. But Allie Vandee kept Union City alive with a single down the right field line. Ally Winkler then drove a hit up the middle to put two aboard. And Chelton reached on an error to load the bases.
Kinney then ended it with a walk-off hit to center. Vandee touched home to end the game.
“They didn’t get down,” said Thomas. “They kept plugging away, and that’s all I ask of them. You gotta play until the last out.”