Best season ever ends one shy of final
Mohawk’s two-run fifth inning stops Trojans in PIAA?semifinal contest
DUBOIS — Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus was on repeat for the past two weeks, saying the competition was going to get tougher as the Trojans advanced through the PIAA Class 2A softball tournament.
He also knew the pitching the Trojans were going to see would get tougher, but had the utmost confidence his lineup would adjust.
It did just that, but the ball kept finding its way into Mohawk’s gloves as the Trojans fell to the District 7 team 3-1 Monday.
Mount Union’s season concludes at 23-2, the best in program history.
“What do you want me to say?” Fiscus asked after the game. “It’s been an awesome season. We won 22 games in a row and came in here and just didn’t hit in the clutch like we usually do and that’s just something that’s going to happen after a bunch of games.
“I couldn’t be any prouder for this team. I told them that every team that comes along now is going to measured against this team. They went to the semifinals and won 22 games straight. It’s going to be, ‘But can you do it against that 2018 team? Can you get as far as they did?'”
The Warriors were able to do something the Trojans couldn’t: find a gap to hit the ball to. It proved to be one of the biggest differences in the game.
With the game tied at one and pitcher Sarah Gearhart having retired 11 of the previous 12 Warrior hitters, Mohawk struck quickly for a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Ashley Young got things started with the first hit of the game the went over the infielders on a well-struck ball to left.
Her sister, Alyssa Young, followed with a well-struck ball of her own to right-center field that rolled to the fence for a run-producing triple.
That was all the Mohawks needed to win the game, but they added an insurance run when Young scored on an RBI single by Kaylee Boring.
The Trojans looked as if they made the needed adjustments to get around on Trinity Voss’ pitching.
Gearhart hit the ball hard, but a great reaction by Boring at third base robbed the Trojans’ No. 2 hitter of extra bases to start the frame.
The Warriors weren’t done showing off their defensive skills with Ashley Young making a diving snag at first base to rob Madison Harris of extra bases.
Mount Union was also on the wrong end of an exciting play in the third inning.
The Trojans’ Taylor Fortney gave the ball a ride to deep right-center field — a home run in some of the parks they’ve played in — but Courtney Upham stuck with it and made a play like a wide receiver with an over-the-shoulder grab.
“That’s a home run in any other high school field,” Fiscus said. “Sometimes, it’s just not your day. They made three really great plays and that’s what it’s about this time of year. … Sometimes the ball falls in for you, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Pitching and defense had the upper hand throughout the game with 29 hitters seeing a two-strike count. Voss accounted for 14 of those, 10 of them ending in strikeouts.
Gearhart had the other 15 occurrences, striking out six.
Neither team had a defensive error.
The Trojans’ lone run scored in the second.
They managed to load the bases with no outs thanks to a walk to Madison Harris, double by Kadyn Crisswell and walk to Morgan Brumbaugh.
Voss then got two quick strikeouts, but a passed ball allowed Harris to cross the plate. The Warriors got out of that by getting Crisswell into a rundown.
“Today, we didn’t get the job done like we usually do,” Fiscus said. “You really have to tip your cap to their pitcher. She obviously got the job done.”
Crisswell was shaken up on the play and replaced by Payton Low for much of the game. She re-entered in the sixth and had an at-bat in the seventh.
Mount Union is set to return a majority of the squad with three — Gearhart, Diana Roher and Taylor Fortney — having graduated. That makes it already a potentially promising season for the Trojans who look to rebound from the tough loss.
“We played so calm, especially at the end of the year here,” Fiscus said. “We didn’t get nervous. I think I was more nervous than they were and they played with great determination and great poise. That’s going to help us. I said a year ago whenever we made the district finals and lost that we would be back. That experience helped us and this experience will help us continue on as well.”
As for the three players set to go in a new direction, the coach can’t be more proud of them as athletes or people.
“All three senior starters have done a great job,” Fiscus said. “I mean Fortney hit a ball to the fence, and the pitcher and catcher have done it for a long time. It’s really sad to see them all go. They’re great people and they’re going to have great lives because they’re great people and that’s what you’re trying to produce at the end of the day.”
Mohawk 3, Mount Union 1
Mount Union 010 000 0 — 1-3-0
Mohawk 100 020 x — 3-7-0
WP: Trinity Voss. LP: Sarah Gearhart. SO: Gearhart 6 (MU); Voss 10 (M). BB: Voss 3 (M). 3B: Alyssa Young (M). 2B: Kadyn Crisswell (MU). MH: Young 2-for-3, Kaylee Boring 3-for-3 (M). RBI: Young, Boring, Courtney Upham (M).