CATAWISSA R.R. - Southern Columbia knew things were going to be a bit tougher this season, moving up to Division II of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference after winning Division III last year and advancing to the Class A state title game.

But it's doubtful any of the Tiger players or coaches were prepared for what happened in their season opener Tuesday against South Williamsport. Southern scored seven runs in the first inning and eventually built a 9-1 lead, and pitcher Mallory Tomaschik was cruising, giving up one hit, striking out eight and not walking any through the first four innings.

Then, almost like a switch was turned on, South Williamsport started blasting away. The Mounties scored 13 runs on 13 hits in the final three innings, with six extra-base hits and three home runs, to stun the Tigers, 14-10, at Southern in a Division II game.

Mounties' leadoff hitter Rachel Floyd was the biggest culprit. After striking out her first two times at bat, Floyd hit a grand slam home run, a two-run double and a two-run single for eight runs batted in. Sarah Maul and Kelsey Wheeland also hit home runs, and Alana Stugart went 3-for-4 with a triple, double and three runs scored.

"We got what, eight runs up, and then I think we sort of relaxed," said Southern coach Al Cihocki. "But they really tattooed the ball. They'll be tough. But we'll be okay."

It definitely was two different ball games in one.

Tomaschik quickly retired South in the first inning. Then, as a snow squall moved in for a about five minutes, Kirstin Blass led off for Southern with a home run, and the next six batters all reached base before South pitcher Anna Steer retired a batter. By that time the Tigers were ahead 7-0 and it looked like it would be a total laugher.

Tomaschik led off Southern's second with a home run, and although the Mounties scored an unearned run in the fourth, Kayla Lavella doubled in Blass, who singled, to answer back in the bottom of the inning, making it 9-1.

Tomaschik retired the leadoff hitter in the fifth, but Steer singled, Stugart doubled and Jordan Bohmer singled to score Steer. Sabrina Musser singled to load the bases and Floyd followed with a long home run, and Wheeland later singled home Liz Cummings, who had singled, for another run, cutting the lead to 9-7.

Southern got a run back in its half of the inning when McKenna Lupold doubled in Blair Johnston, who reached base on an error.

But the Mounties scored five more runs on four hits in the sixth inning. Stugart singled, Musser reached base on an error and Floyd doubled them in. Maul hit a two-run homer and Wheeland followed her with another dinger and it was 12-10.

Stugart led off the seventh with a triple, Musser walked and Floyd delivered again, singling them home for two huge insurance runs.

Cihocki, reminded that no teams were going to lay down for a team that was state runner-up, agreed.

"No doubt about that," he said.

Game Summary

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (AB-R-H-BI) - Floyd 5-2-3-8, Cummings 5-2-2-0, Maul 5-1-1-2, Wheeland 4-1-2-2, Gentz 2-0-0-0, Steer 4-1-1-0, Stugart 4-3-3-0, Bohmer 3-1-1-1, Keller 1-0-0-0, Musser 3-3-1-0. Totals 36-14-14-13.

SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (AB-R-H-BI) - Blass 4-2-3-1, Tomaschik 2-1-1-1, Dunkleberger 1-1-0-0, Lavella 3-1-1-1, T. Hoffman 4-1-1-1, Levan 0-0-0-0, Johnston 4-1-1-1, N. Hoffman 0-1-0-0, Vought 1-0-0-0, Troup 3-1-0-0, Lupold 4-1-2-2, Yoder 4-0-0-0, Reigle 2-0-0-0, Chaundy 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-10-9-7

Extra-base hits: 2B - Floyd, Stugart; Lavella, Lupold. 3B - Stugart. HR - Floyd, Maul, Wheeland; Blass, Tomaschik.


South Williamsport

Steer (W) 7 9 10 8 3 6

Southern Columbia

Tomaschik (L) 6.1 14 14 12 2 9

Herr .2 0 0 0 0 0