Tyrone girls softball team defends Lady Rocket title in extra innings

The Tyrone girls softball team successfully defended their title at the Southern Huntingdon Invitational on Saturday at Orbisonia.
The Lady Eagles and host Southern Huntingdon went into extra innings in the title game, before Heather Stanton drove in the go-ahead run and winning pitcher Hilary McNelis set the Lady Rockets down without a score in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure the win.
Kim Cherry led off the top of the eighth inning with a single and Megan Turiano moved her up to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Designated player Meghan McAllister grounded out for the second out of the inning, before Stanton, the Lady Eagles’ first baseman singled to right center to drive in Cherry with what proved to be the winning run.
McNelis had belted a big two-run home run in the top of the seventh to give Tyrone a 3-2 advantage that proved to be invaluable when Southern Huntingdon scored a run in the bottom of the frame to knot the score at 3-3 and send the game to extra innings. Ashley Pennebaker had singled and scored ahead of McNelis on the homer.
Tyrone coach Lois Loncher was a little surprised that Southern Huntingdon would pitch to McNelis, who earlier this season set the Tyrone school record for career hits.
“This was one of those games where there are a lot of little things that contribute to the final score and a lot of people did those things well,” said Loncher. “They made plays and we made plays. I was surprised that they pitched to Hilary, but Missy Stager has really been hitting the ball.”
Stager just moved back into the batting order after being used as the Eagles flex player. In girls softball the flex player is hit for by the designated player, and plays defense. Due to a finger injury, that limited Missy to playing in the field, but not hitting, Stager has only moved into the offensive portion of the game since last week.
Stager continued her hot-hitting with a single and double, and every hitter in the Tyrone lineup had a base hit to help McNelis. The senior left-hander, who recently signed to attend school and play softball at Saint Francis University went the distance, scattering seven hits, with six strikeouts and two walks.
“With Missy hitting the ball so well, other teams are forced to pitch to Hilary. That makes us tougher on offense. We were able to move Ashley Ripka to second and insert Brooke Garbinsky into the outfield and that helped our defense. We just have to keep battling-that has to be our motto for the rest of the season,” said Loncher, who’s squad improves to 5-8.
Emily Wible was the big stick for the Lady Rockets with a triple and a home run and three runs scored, and Abby Woodward had two hits and two RBI for Southern Huntingdon.
Tyrone travels to Lewistown on Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. start, then is at home against Penns Valley on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Tyrone 4 Southern Huntingdon 3, 8 inn.
Tyrone – Whitby, cf, 3-0-1; McNelis, p, 4-1-1; Stager, ss, 4-1-2; Cherry, c, 3-1-1; Turiano, 3b, 2-0-1; McAllister, dp, 3-0-1; Stanton, 1b, 4-0-1; Ripka, 2b, 3-0-1; Pennebaker, rf, 4-1-1; Garbinsky, lf, 0-0-0. TOTALS 30-4-10.
Southern Huntingdon – Schmidt, cf, 4-0-0; Price, 3b, 2-0-0; Wible, lf, 4-3-2; Woodward, dp, 4-0-2; Snyder, 2b, 3-0-0; M. Sunderland, ss, 3-0-0; K. Hockenberry, c, 4-0-0; Goshorn, rf, 3-0-1; Foor, 1b, 3-0-2; E. Hockenberry, p, 0-0-0. TOTALS 30-3-5.
Tyrone 000 001 21 4-10-1.
Southern Huntingdon 001 010 10 3-7-1.
2B: (T) Stager.
3B: (SH) Wible
HR: (T) McNelis, (SH) Wible.
Multiple Hits: (T) Stager 2, (SH) Wible 2, Woodward 2, Foor 2.
RBI: (T) McNelis 2, McAllister, Stanton, (SH) Woodward 2, Wible.
SO: (T) McNelis 6, (SH) Hockenberry 3.
BB: (T) McNelis 3, (SH) Hockenberry 2.
WP: McNelis LP: Hockenberry