HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Shamokin qualifies for District 4 playoffs
COAL TOWNSHIP - Finally.
After being stuck at nine wins for three games, Shamokin (10-9) punched its ticket to the District 4 Class AAA playoffs with a 16-0 win over Midd-West Wednesday.
Indians' hurler Carley Nash had a lot to do with that, notching a perfect game, facing minimum nine Mustangs batters over the course of the three-inning contest.
"We came out ready to play," Shamokin head coach Christi Cryder said.
The Indians couldn't have asked for a better time to be this dominant.
After an 11-3 loss at home to Southern Columbia, Nash and her teammates were a little dejected.
Now, they couldn't be higher, because after a one-year hiatus the Indians are back in the playoffs.
"After last game, (Carley) was pretty down, but I told her to forget about it and she pitched today like she knows how to pitch," Cryder said. "She let the defense do the work and that's what happened today."
Nash also worked economically, not running a full count on any batter, while the defense flashed its range and took away a couple potential hits.
On offense, the Indians connected on pitches and ran the bases well. Shamokin needed just two innings, batting around in each of them, to score its 16 runs.
Jenny Hornberger went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, and Helena Supsic added two doubles. The Indians also took advantage of four walks and two hit batters.
Olivia Bonshock had a run-scoring double and, along with Hornberger and Supsic, scored three runs.
The Indians' run in the first inning with one out. Hornberger singled, followed by Supsic, then Hornberger scored on a passed ball. Supsic later scored on an error on the second baseman. Courtney McGrath then reached on an error, one of four by the Mustangs, and Bre Bonshock was hit by a pitch. Both scored before the Indians were retired.
Then the Indians more than doubled that total in the second inning, scoring 11 runs while sending 16 batters to the plate.
The only player in the starting lineup not to score a run was Catie Augustitus, but she caught a foul popup for the second out in the third inning and seems to have a rapport with Nash.
This is the team - the powerful offense and reliable defense - that Cryder expected to see from the beginning of the season. But in the games that counted, particularly in the second half of the season, the Indians have shined.
"Game to game, I was never sure which team would come to play," Cryder said. "But this is one of their goals, to get into the district playoffs. We're not satisfied with this now. We lost some games we should have won and they were here to play today."
The Indians will most likely be the sixth seed in what seems to be shaping as a six-team district playoff pool. The possible first-round opponents for the Indians are Athens, an unknown, or Danville, who the Indians split their regular-season series with.
"We'll be ready to play," Cryder said.
If Wednesday is any indication, the Indians are heating up at the right time.
MIDD-WEST (AB-R-H-BI) - Zeigler 1-0-0-0, Shambach 1-0-0-0, Brown 1-0-0-0, Gesselman 1-0-0-0, Sharp 1-0-0-0, Hackenberg 1-0-0-0, Sims 1-0-0-0, Cunningham 1-0-0-0, Walter 1-0-0-0. Totals 9-0-0-0.
SHAMOKIN (AB-R-H-BI) - Wolfe 3-1-1-0, Hornberger 3-3-3-2, Supsic 2-3-2-1, O. Bonshock 2-3-1-1, McGrath 2-2-1-1, B. Bonshock 0-2-0-0, Chapman 1-0-1-1, C. Augusitus 3-0-0-0, J. Augustitus 3-1-1-2, Forbes 1-1-1-0, Nash 0-0-0-0. Totals 20-16-11-8.
Extra-base hits: 2B - O. Bonshock.
IP H R ER BB K
Gesselman 1.1 9 14 11 3 1
Yoder .2 2 2 1 1 1
Nash 3 0 0 0 0 1