MU’s season ends against Mounties

PHILIPSBURG – Coming off a one-run victory over Marion Center in its District 6 Class AA first round game, Mount Union tried to outlast perennial powerhouse Philipsburg-Osceola Monday, but four errors left the Trojans short and the team fell to the Mounties 5-1.

Marissa Aurand started the game from the circle and after hitting the leadoff batter on the hands with two strikes, she settled in to get the next two hitters. But the Mounties were quick to cash in on the free base runner when cleanup hitter Abby Showers stepped to the plate and blasted an 0-1 pitch to deep center that carried onto the Mounties’ track surface, giving the home team the quick 2-0 lead.

“I thought (Marissa) did a good job,” Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus said. “She got a pitch up in the first inning that cost her but other than that, we just made mistakes behind her.”

The Trojans weren’t phased by the two-run blast in the first and got a run back in the top of the second – thanks to a two-out triple from Marissa Dimoff that plated Chapin Guiliante. Dimoff, swinging from the left side, took an outside pitch the other way and drove it over the left fielder’s head. The run would mark the team’s first and last of the afternoon.

Philipsburg-Osceola hurler Kate Burge settled down after surrendering the run. The righty went on to strike out nine Trojans while only distributing one free pass.

Fiscus said, his squad doesn’t normally leave it up to the umpire on the third strike.

“We watched an awful lot of called third strikes,” he said. “We preach not to do that and we did that today which is uncharacteristic of our team you just can’t do that.”

After a strikeout to lead off the third inning, two hitter Ashlyn Drake stepped to the plate and hit a seed to center field. Unfortunately for the Trojans, the Mounties’ Megan Bainey was stationed in perfect position to make the grab. The Trojans would hit two more liners later in the game, but Bainey snagged both of them.

“We hit some shots that could have fallen,” Fiscus said. “We hit it right at the center fielder a couple times.”

The next hitter, Liza Feagley, reached on an error by the otherwise sure handed center fielder, but a ground ball back to the pitcher off the bat of Brittany Brumbaugh left Feagley stranded and ended the inning.

Mount Union stranded one runner in six of the seven innings played.

The Mounties added a run in the third after a leadoff hit and sacrifice bunt that moved Alyssa Shedlock to second base. A double from McKenzie Burge scored Shedlock and extended the Mounties’ lead to 3-1. An error in the inning could have cost the Trojans another run but Aurand worked her team out of the jam, inducing two flyouts to end the frame.

Guiliante led off the fourth with another hard hit ball to center but Bainey was there to snag the liner. Trojan center fielder Katie Smith later reached on a two-out walk and after stealing second base, was stranded as the next batter grounded out to third.

The Mounties reapplied the pressure in the home half of the fourth, forcing the Trojans to commit two errors. Philipsburg only notched one run out of the deal though as Aurand was able to get two ground balls to end the threat.

One more Trojan error in the fifth helped Philipsburg score its fifth and final run of the game.

Fiscus said the errors were costly for the Trojans and an uncharacteristic part of their game.

“We made a lot of mistakes in the field that we don’t normally make,” he said. “We just made too many mistakes for this time of year.”

Aurand struck out three batters in the final outing of the season and walked three Mounties. Dimoff went 2-for-3 on the day for the Trojans. Guiliante, Drake and leadoff hitter Kristin Miles also had a hit for Mount Union.