WELLSBORO—Two errors and two singles proved to be the difference as Mifflinburg fell to Northwest 2-0 in seven innings during the second round of the 8-10 State Softball Championships at Wellsboro.
Mifflinburg will have little time to process the loss as it takes the field this afternoon to face the loser of Ingomar and Avon Grove in its first elimination game of the postseason. The game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start and will be played at the back field of the Wellsboro Little League Complex.
As for Friday afternoon’s game, Taylor Stewart tossed another gem as she limited Northwest to just two hits. She also finished with 16 strikeouts to move her totals in two State Playoff games to 31.
“Taylor’s going to put all the pressure on herself and think the loss is on her,” Mifflinburg manager Heath Stewart said. “She’s that type of kid. She just needs to learn to let it go. She pitched great. If you don’t score you can’t win.”
Mifflinburg went against Natalie Lilly, who went all seven innings. She scattered four hits and overcame four errors in the field to shut down Mifflinburg’s lineup.
“Throughout sectionals and here we’ve played exceptional defense,” Northwest manager Chris Tomac said. “I think we’ve committed maybe three or four errors in all the games we’ve played. That’s the whole key. If you can force the other team to get hits on you and get runners on base that way Natalie (Lilly) isn’t going to walk anybody. She’s not an overpowering pitcher, but she hits her spots and changes the speed on her pitches.”
It seemed to frustrate Mifflinburg’s hitters throughout the game. Chloe Showalter recorded the Wildcats’ first hit with a single to lead off the second inning. She was eventually caught trying to steal third for the second out of the inning. Maggie Rubendall hit a single in the fourth and was caught at home as she tried to steal on a passed ball. Kinley Seebold opened the seventh with a single, but was caught off the base after a catch on a line drive at second.
“We didn’t hit at all,” Heath Stewart said. “We’ve seen better teams than that. If we hit, we win that game. They have to get their minds right. They got a little overconfident on where we were at and they just didn’t hit.”
Baserunning mistakes haunted Mifflinburg throughout the game. In the third inning, a Mifflinburg runner was picked off attempting to steal third.
“We have to be smarter than that,” Heath Stewart said. “They know better than that.”
8-10 Softball Pennsylvania
Line Mountain 8, Lewisburg 7
at Charleston Street Athletic Complex, Wellsboro, PA
Mifflinburg 0 (7 innings)
Northwest 000 000 2—2 2 4
Mifflinburg 000 000 0—0 4 3
Natalie Lilly and Payton Besecker. Taylor Stewart and Maggie Rubendall.
WP: Lilly. LP: Stewart.
Northwest hitters: Addy Smith 1-3, run; Adrianna O’Neil 1-3, run.
Mifflinburg hitters: Chloe Showalter 1-3.