BROCKWAY — The Elk County Catholic softball team got hot at the plate during districts and rode them all the way to a District 9 Class A title.
Unfortunately for the Lady Crusaders, those bats went cold Monday against Union Area, the third place team from the WPIAL, in a 10-0 full-length contest in the opening round of the state playoffs at Brockway High School.
Lady Scotties starter Sarah Seamans had a lot to do with ECC’s struggles at the plate, as the senior tossed a four-hit shutout. She struck out 13 and walked none in the shutout.
Brandi Clyde was the lone lady Crusader to really solve Seamans on the day, as she ripped a pair of triples to left field in three at-bat but never scored following those extra-base hits.
As for Seamans, she also was a menace at the plate for ECC starter Michelle Gerber. Seamans, Union’s leadoff hitter, went 2-for-4 with a triple, home run, two RBIs and three runs scored. He homer was a two-run shot in the seventh to dead center field.
Teammate Skylar Fisher finished 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs in the victory, while Haelena Blakley went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. The trio accounted for seven of the Lady Scotties’ 13 hits on the day.
“As well as we hit during the district playoffs, we turned that around and couldn’t put the bat on the ball today,” said ECC coach Wes Meyer. “She (Seamans) had a nice riseball, but I thought we would have caught her here and there.
“It was a good season though. I’m proud fo the fact they won the district championship when not too many people expected them too. Now, we just have to build on this for next year, but this is a tough end to this season.
“Our seniors have done a great job all year, and we lose five of them going forward. I wish them nothing but the best in college. We have some big shoes to fill for next year”
Those seniors ECC is losing are Clyde, Maggie Dinsmore, Josie Smith, Brianna Weisner and Emily Wolf.
Union (19-3) grabbed an early lead with a pair of two-out doubles in the top of the first by Shaelynn Quinn and Skylar Fisher. Quinn scored on Fisher’s two-bagger to put the Lady Scotties up 1-0.
That run proved to be enough for Seamans, who struck out nine of the first 10 Lady Crusaders she faced. The lone blemish in that stretch was a leadoff single by catcher Rosina Nero in the second. Coutesy runner Morgan Wolf then stole second with two outs but was left standing there after a strikeout ended the inning.
Union broke the game open with a four-run third that featured four hits and an ECC error.
Seamans started the inning with a one-out triple to left and scored on a double by Shelby Ligo, who in turn came home on Fisher’s two-out single. Fisher took second on the throw in the from the outfield, then stole second and scored on the play to make it 4-0 when the throw went down the left field line.
Elk County (15-9) got a leadoff triple from Clyde in the bottom of the fourth.
Seamans then got Josie Smith to popup to short before she snagged a hard line drive off the bat of Nero. Seamans promptly fired to third to double-off Clyde for an inning-ending double play.
“That line drive was big there in the fourth doubling off the runner,” said Meyer. “That was a tough play and a momentum killer, and we didn’t recover after that.”
Union tacked on a run in the fifth when Quinn reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Rachel Bowen after a two-out error extended the inning.
Gerber singled with one out in the bottom half of the inning, but Seamans recorded two quick outs to end the inning.
The Lady Scotties were back at it in the sixth, plating a pair of runs on a Ligo groundout and single by Fisher to go up 7-0.
Elk County nearly broke the ice against Seamans in the bottom of the sixth.
Clyde tripled with two outs and Smith followed with a grounder into the hole at short. However, Ligo fired across the diamond from her knees to get Smith to end the inning and preserve Seamans’ shutout.
Union put the finishing touches on its victory with three more runs in the top of the seventh.
Hannah Meeks ripped a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by Blakley. Seamans then stepped to the plate and blasted a Gerber pitch over the fence in center to put the Lady Scotties up 10-0.
Seamans then retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to finish off her shutout.
With the win, Union advances to play WPIAL runner-up Monesson, which edged District 10 champ Cambridge Springs, 3-2, on Monday.