CATAWISSA RR - Wipe out the first inning and Southern Columbia was better than Warrior Run Thursday.

But as any veteran sports fan knows, you can't just get rid of the innings that don't go your way.

As it was, the Defenders (13-2) took advantage of Southern Columbia's only error and the only walk issued by Tigers' pitcher Mallory Tomaschik to put up three runs in the first inning and hang on to beat Southern 3-1 in their Heartland Conference Division II meeting.

"It was a good game, except for our mistakes," Southern Columbia coach Al Cihocki said.

It's the second time the teams have met this season after both made the PIAA state finals last year, the Tigers in Class A and the Defenders in Class AA, which they won, but it may not be the last time. Southern (11-5) is now a Class AA team and both teams area headed to the district playoffs.

And Southern really is right there with the Defenders.

After that first inning, Tomaschik dueled admirably with Taylor Parker, who set the Warrior Run career strikeout mark during the game.

"Mal settled down and threw very well, I thought," Cihocki said. "She threw well enough to beat them, but we have to manufacture runs."

But the Tigers couldn't make up for the mistakes made in the first frame.

After Tomaschik struck out the first batter, Devin Nichols reached base on a dropped fly ball. Then Tomaschik walked Parker and got another strikeout before Katie Swartz laced a ball into the outfield to bring home both runners and then came home herself on a triple by Lynn Vermilya.

Just that small crack in the Tigers' defense led to three quick runs.

"The first inning hurt us and we left too many people on base," Cihocki said.

As much as the first inning provided Tiger faithful with discomfort, so too did the five runners left on base and the two thrown out at the plate.

Both outs at home plate were the last of their respective innings and came with other runners on base behind them.

In the second inning, McKenna Lupold was caught trying to take advantage of a wild pitch, but Vermilya, the Defenders' catcher, recovered nicely and flipped the ball to Parker, who was covering home.

But the out that really hurt was in the bottom of the sixth inning.

With one out, Kayla Lavella reached base on an error and behind her Taylor Hoffman drew a walk. Nicole Hoffman was brought in to run for Taylor.

After Parker struck out the next batter, freshman Blair Johnston came up and tripled down the line in right field. Lavella scored easily, but Hoffman was out at the plate, or at least that's the way it was called.

"You know, I couldn't see the play, but they said from over there (the bench) that the ball rolled out," Cihocki said. "But I couldn't see it. They get tangled up under there and who knows."

And just like that, the Tigers best chance at a rally came up short.

"We're there," Cihocki said. "It's just a matter of getting breaks and making the most of them."

Game Summary

WARRIOR RUN (AB-R-H-BI) - Shrawder 4-0-1-0, Nichols 4-1-0-0, Parker 2-1-0-0, Clemens 3-0-1-0, Swartz 3-1-3-2, Vermilya 3-0-1-1, Riel 3-0-1-0, Bastian 3-0-0-0, Stahl 3-0-0-0. Totals 28-3-7-3.

SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (AB-R-H-BI) - Blass 3-0-1-0, Tomaschik 3-0-0-0, Lavella 2-1-1-0, N. Hoffman 0-0-0-0, Levan 3-0-0-0, Johnston 3-0-1-1, Lupold 2-0-0-0, Yoder 1-0-0-0, Vought 1-0-0-0, Herr 1-0-0-0, Reigle 0-0-0-0, Dunkleberger 2-0-0-0, Troup 0-0-0-0. Totals 23-1-3-1.

Extra-base hits: 2B - Swartz. 3B - Swartz, Vermilya, Johnston.

IP H R ER BB K

Warrior Run

Parker (W) 7 3 1 2 2 12

Southern Columbia

Tomaschik (L) 7 7 3 2 1 9