WINDBER — The DuBois Central Catholic Lady Cardinals took advantage of five Meyersdale errors and got a clutch grand slam to seal the game off the bat of Carley Semancik to give them an 8-1 victory in the first round of the PIAA State Softball Playoffs Monday afternoon.
Junior starting pitcher and leadoff hitter Ashley Wruble led the way for the Lady Cardinals (20-2). She tossed seven, two-hit innings and struck out five batters to go along with three walks (two intentional). Wruble also had a base hit and scored two runs.
“We’ve been here before, except for the three freshman, most of the girls participated last year and were big contributors,” said DCC head coach George Heigel. “We thought we could win today and we beat a good pitcher obviously.”
Meyersdale ace, Shawna Leonard, wasted no time getting through the first three Cardinal batters. In just seven pitches, she retired DuBois Central Catholic in order which brought the Lady Red Raiders to bat.
Leonard pitched all seven innings for Meyersdale and surrendered seven runs on seven hits to go along with 10 strikeouts and two walks (one intentional).
Leonard doubled with two outs in the home half of the first. Stephanie Haer was walked intentionally to put two on with two outs. Wruble induced a ground ball off the bat of Kortni Schurg to end the threat.
Freshman catcher Mia Meholick walked to leadoff the top of the 2nd and took second base on a passed ball. After a strikeout, Maia Cogley laid down a bunt single to put runners on the corners with one out. A delayed steal and a throw down by Meyersdale catcher Lakyn Roadman allowed Meholick to score to make it 1-0 Lady Cardinals.
No. 7 hitter Chelsea Busatto brought home DuBois Central Catholic’s second run on a sacrifice fly to left that chased home Cogley to make it 2-0 going into the home half of the second.
Meyersdale (18-3) once again put runners on in the second but could not bring home a run when Olivia Kretchman popped out to shortstop for the third out.
Neither team could mount any offense in the third inning as both were sat down in order to take the game to the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Meyersdale would put up its only run of the day. Schurg doubled to left center to start. Following a strikeout, Emily Schafer reached on a throwing error and that allowed Schurg to come around from second to cut the deficit in half. It was 2-1 DuBois Central Catholic heading to the fifth inning.
Busatto reached on an error to get something started for the Cardinals in the top half of the fifth. After back-to-back groundouts, she was on third base with two outs.
Wruble was intentionally walked to bring Shayleigh Gulvas to the plate. Wruble took second base on the next pitch to set two runners in scoring position. Gulvas made the Red Raiders pay for the intentional walk with an RBI single to center.
The ball was late getting back into the infield, which allowed Wruble to come home to make it 4-1 DuBois Central Catholic going into the botttom of the fifth.
The Lady Red Raiders put the ball in play in the fifth and sixth innings, but could not push any runs across.
No. 9 hitter Maddie Nasuti reached on an error to begin the seventh. Wruble and Gulvas both hit back-to-back singles to load the bases for Semanick.
Semancik put the final nail in the coffin for the Lady Red Raiders with a grand slam to straight away center field to make it 8-1 Lady Cardinals. That would be the final as Meyersdale was retired in order to end the ball game.
For Meyersdale, the loss brings an end to a season where they captured a WestPAC Conference title and a District 5 Class A Championship.
DuBois Central Catholic now advances to the quarterfinals that will be played on Thursday at a site to be determined against Claysburg-Kimmel.
Heigel tries to keep the same message for his team no matter who the opponent is.
“The message is always, it’s not the other team. It’s us. We talk very little about the other team. It’s all about us defending, putting the bat on the ball, and holding our strikeouts down,” added Heigel. “I think the key is that we hit up and down the lineup. When we get through our first four batters, we still got offensive power.”