BERWICK — The St. Marys Junior League All-Star softball team opened state tournament play Wednesday with a 6-1 victory against Section 8 champ Middletown at Ber-Vaughn Park in Berwick.
St. Marys actually fell behind early, as Middletown pushed an unearned run across the plate on a groundout in the top of the second against starter Kendall Young — who once again enjoyed a strong day in the circle.
She allowed just the one earned run on five hits while striking out 13 and walking four. She stranded runners on scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings before leaving the bases loaded in the top of the seventh — an inning in which Middletown recorded three of its five hits.
The ability of Young and her defense to keep Middletown from scoring when it had opportunities gave the St. Marys offense a chance to get going later in the game.
St. Marys grabbed the lead with a two-run bottom of the third.
Emma Sorg and Morgan Wolf opened the inning with back-to-back singles, with an error on Wolf’s hit putting both runners in scoring position. Young plated Sorg on a sacrifice fly two batters later, and Wolf also scored on the play on an error by the left fielder.
Clinging to a slim 2-1 lead, St. Marys gave itself some much-needed breathing room with a four-run bottom of the fifth.
The team exploded for five hits in the inning, with Olivia Eckels, Young and Caitlyn Vollmer ripped back-to-back-to-back RBI double safter a one-out single by Wolf. Janelle Krug plated the fourth run with a clutch two-out single.
Wolf had a big game in the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 wit htwo runs scored. Krug also had three hits as the duo were the lone players on either team to have multiple hits.
With the win, St. Marys advances to play Section 7 champ Caln Township today at 3 p.m. Caln blasted South Williamsport, 13-1, on Wednesday.
The other winners’ bracket game (5 p.m.) pits Section 2 champion Fairchance against host Berwick, which got a bye in the seven-team tournament. Fairchance upended Mountaintop, 8-2, Wednesday.
Middletown and South Williamsport play an elimination game at 1 p.m.