The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 15, 2014

Philipsburg drops Central Cambria

Philipsburg — This game at Philipsburg-Osceola on Thursday did not look promising for Central Cambria from the very beginning.

The No. 2 seed Mountaineers’ first three batters slashed extra-base hits, and before Philipsburg-Osceola sent five batters to the plate, the Red Devils were down by three runs.

Philipsburg kept it up. The Mounties scored four more in the third and then two each in the fourth and fifth to wrap up an 11-1, five inning victory in the first round of the District 6 Class AA girls softball playoffs.

Philipsburg third baseman Abby Showers, in her first game back from an arm injury, had three hits and Haley Frank, Kenzie Burge, Chelsea Henry, and Ann Kost each had two RBI as the Mounties advanced into the second round against the winner of the Mount Union, Central game.

To its credit, Central Cambria (7-10) kept fighting and strung together three of its four hits in the fifth inning, scoring a run and stranding two runners at second and third.

But the early onslaught by Philipsburg-Osceola was too much to overcome.

“I knew they (Philipsburg) were going to be really good competition,” Central Cambria coach Jamie Dixon said. “We didn’t hit as well as I thought we would. We had strong hitting pretty much all year, but it kind of died off here at the end.

“Other than that, we played solid defense. They just hit. I mean, they are power hitters, and one through nine, they hit.”

That hitting started when Showers led off the first inning. She took a strike and then sent a line drive off the very top of the right-center field wall for a double.

Frank followed with a double down the right field line, scoring Showers, and then Frank advanced to third on the throw. Kenzie Burge followed with a double that scored Frank, and then she scored one out later on a single by Megan Bainey.

“I did my physical therapy,” Showers said, “trying to come back strong for my team because they need me and I need them. I was anxious to get back, and that pitch was there so I took a whack at it.”

In the third, Philipsburg struck for four runs on a walk, a hit batter, an error, and run-scoring hits by Henry and Kost. Kost’s two-run single gave the Mounties a commanding 7-0 lead.

Two more runs in the fourth inning on consecutive doubles by Haylee Hayward and Henry (her second run-scoring double of the game) and then a run-scoring single by Maggie Peck put Central Cambria on the brink  at 9-0.

But the Red Devils still had some life and started seeing some of Philipsburg pitcher Henry’s deliveries. They got a walk and consecutive singles by Grace Grata, Chelsea Long, and Katelyn Novitsky that pushed across a run in the top of the fifth.

“That’s kind of how we were all year,” Dixon said. “I can’t tell you how many time we came back and ended up winning. They really come together as a team, and that’s one of the things I really look forward to with this team in the future is to keep that chemistry going.”

It was too late in this game, though, as Philipsburg rallied again for two more in the bottom of the fifth to end the game, 11-1, under the 10-run rule.

The loss ended Central Cambria’s season, but with only one senior on the roster, Dixon is optimistic about the future of the Devils.

“I’m proud of the girls,” she said. “We have one senior starter, so I have eight if my starters back next year and I’m really proud because when I played against Philipsburg, we would get murdered like 20-0.

“So I am proud of the way they played today.”

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