From staff reports
MOUNT UNION - If there's an exciting way to begin the season, the Mount Union softball team found it.
The Trojans' first two games were marked by double-digit scoring efforts for the win. Thursday, Mount Union only scored four runs, but one was earned on a solo walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth by Katie Smith that gave Mount Union a 4-3 extra-innings win over Inter-County Conference opponent Claysburg-Kimmel.
Mount Union was behind 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, but Liza Feagley and Brittany Brumbaugh found a way on base. Feagley scored on a Claysburg-Kimmel error after teammate Lauren Shugarts put the ball in play, then a Marissa Dimoff sacrifice bunt brought Brumbaugh home to set the stage for Smith.
From there, with two outs and two strikes, Smith stroked one over the right-center field fence to propel Mount Union to its third-straight victory.
"She has a real nice swing, and if she catches it it goes. It couldn't happen to a nicer girl. She works hard and is great to be around," Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus said of Smith.
Smith's co-hero was rookie pitcher Marissa Aurand, who went all nine innings to earn the win.
With injuries keeping the Trojans' other pitchers out of the game, Aurand came through in a big way.
"Marissa Aurand played one heck of a game. She pitched all nine innings and kept them off balance," Fiscus said.
Mount Union (3-0, 3-0) hosts Juniata Valley on Tuesday.
Millersburg 9, Greenwood 2
MILLERSTOWN - The Wildcats were hanging right with Millersburg to open their season on the softball diamond Thursday, but in the top of the seventh Millersburg's Kelsey Snyder ripped a grand slam to put her team way up for the 9-2 Tri-Valley League win.
"We made a couple changes, and then we strung a couple walks together, and they had a timely hit there that cleared the bases," Greenwood coach Troy Gantt said.
Katie Osborne and Jess Heichel - who was also the starting pitcher for Greenwood - both recorded RBIs for the Wildcats, which came in the fourth and sixth innings.
Gantt said some young players stepped up and did well for the Wildcats, and a few others played in new positions, so there were some definite positives in the loss.
"I thought overall we did a good job, we just need to string some hits together," Gantt said.
Greenwood (0-1, 0-1) travels to Line Mountain Tuesday.
Jersey Shore 10, Midd-West 0
JERSEY SHORE - The Midd-West softball team hoped for a positive start to the 2013 season as the squad traveled to Jersey Shore but the Mustangs committed four errors in the first inning that plated five Bulldogs and the Heartland Conference foe cruised to a 10-0 victory.
"The biggest thing was the four errors in the first inning, giving them five runs," Midd-West coach Pete Voss said.
There were a few bright spots for the Mustangs as starting pitcher Adrianne Gesselman fanned four Bulldog hitters in her first outing of the season. Brii Zeigler paced the Mustangs at the plate, going 2-3 with two singles.
"We didn't play bad ball and we had a couple of hard hits," Voss said.
The Mustangs (0-1) look to notch their first win of the season Monday when the team hosts Milton.
Upper Dauphin 14, East Juniata 3
ELIZABETHVILLE - East Juniata held a lead briefly against Upper Dauphin, but surrendered 12 runs in the bottom of the third to see that erased.
The Trojans, behind 13 hits and aided by a pair of Tiger errors, got their first win in the five-inning game, 14-3.
East Juniata 5, Upper Dauphin 2
ELIZABETHVILLE - Ryan Stuck pitched 5 2/3 innings and blasted a second-inning leadoff home run to propel East Juniata to a 5-2 victory over Tri-Valley League foe Upper Dauphin in the season opener.
"He (Stuck) led the way for us tonight," East Juniata coach Tim Brubaker said. "He got us going in the second inning with a leadoff home run and that got us pumped up."
The home run, a no doubter to left field, gave the Tigers a lead that they would not relinquish. The team plated two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to seal the deal.
Despite committing two errors on the afternoon, the Tigers defense made key plays when it mattered most.
"We had some good defensive plays," Brubaker said. "We were able to get out of the couple jams that Stucky got in."
The Tigers drew nine walks on the day and had five hits. Nick Stahr and Dalton Rowe each collected two RBIs in the season-opening victory.
East Juniata (1-0) hosts Juniata April 5.
Claysburg-Kimmel 4, Mount Union 2
MOUNT UNION - Mount Union's Klayton Heffner fanned seven Claysburg-Kimmel hitters and allowed just one run Thursday but an error in the top of the seventh opened the flood gates and the Bulldogs plated three to take a 4-2 Inter County Conference victory.
With the score standing at 1-0 heading to the sixth, the Trojans took the field hoping for a three-up three-down inning, but the Bulldogs loaded the bases. Cole Boozel battled though and struck out the side to keep visitors at bay and the score to within striking distance.
With the momentum heading to the bottom of the frame, the Trojans capitalized on the Bulldogs' pitching change and plated two runs to take the lead, 2-1. Mount Union had the opportunity to tack on some insurance runs but the effort was thwarted.
"It was a tough game to lose," Coach Nick Imperioli said. "What really hurt us was when we scored two runs in the sixth and left the bases loaded."
Claysburg-Kimmel's leadoff man reached base on an error to start the final frame, which proved to be costly as the next two hitters wrapped singles. Boozel settled back in and retired the next two batters. The next Bulldog hitter worked the count to 3-2 then hit a flare down the right field line for a three-run triple.
Mount Union was able to get a man on second in the final half of the seventh but was unsuccessful in driving him in.
Heffner tossed five innings, surrendering one run on three hits and striking out seven Bulldog hitters. Boozel worked two innings of relief, allowing four hits while striking out five hitters.
Mount Union (1-1) is back in action at home Tuesday against Juniata Valley.