Muncy senior Emily Shnyder entered the pitching circle with the go-ahead runs on base and on a cold, rainy night, wore a jersey featuring no sleeves.
Loyalsock senior Kay Kay Lupo suffered a painful thumb injury Thursday and just standing outside the dugout after the game still experienced that pain. Both seniors embraced the challenges, painful and others, Friday at Elm Park. Both players excelled too.
Shnyder stranded the go-ahead runners in the sixth inning and helped Muncy defeat Montoursville, 7-3 while Lupo went 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs as Loyalsock routed Towanda, 12-2 in five innings in the opening round of last night's Williamsport Tournament.
Muncy's Amanda Kustanbauter is congratulated after a strikeout Friday night vs. Montoursville at Elm Park.
Kendall Watkins of Loyalsock adjusts a contact lens in the cell phone reflections of coaches Craig Weaver Jr. and Craig Weaver Sr.
Williamsport players cheer from the bench during their win over Troy Friday night at Elm Park.
"That is not easy, coming into pitch on a cold, wet night like tonight and for Emily to pitch like that is really impressive," Muncy coach Chris Ebner said. "As a coach I just have to appreciate the competitiveness in that athlete."
"Kay Kay is a character. She comes out with cowboy boots, headbands and bandanas and then plays really well," Loyalsock coach Craig Weaver Sr. said. "She's all taped up tonight and she did a great job. She's really tough."
Muncy (9-1) recorded a big win over a solid Class AA team and earned a spot in today's semifinals against Williamsport. Loyalsock (7-4) plays Mifflinburg (10-1) in the other semifinal.
Montoursville (6-5) trailed 4-1 in the sixth inning but Lexi Marchioni's lead-off triple and Kelsey Stine's perfect RBI squeeze bunt ignited a comeback for a team that has made many the last two seasons. Stine, who threw out two runners when catching, scored on an error to make it a one-run game and consecutive walks gave the Warriors runners on first and second with one out.
Ebner decided to replace starter Amanda Kustanbauter (8 strikeouts) with Shnyder at that point. It is a luxury he did not have last year but one that Muncy has made work throughout the season. It worked again as Shnyder struck out the first hitter she faced before receiving an assist from catcher Crystal Good who threw out the lead runner trying to steal third for the final out.
Muncy put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three times as Natalie Lamoreaux tripled and Katherine Ebner hit a two-run double.
"I love coming in at the end of games. I don't like starting them as much and my ultimate goal is to pick up Amanda because she does such a great job," said Shnyder, Montgomery's top pitcher the previous three seasons. "I have a great defense behind me and they always have my back and make great plays and Crystal throwing out the runner at third was big."
Muncy went ahead to stay 2-1 in the third inning, scoring runs off a Jordan Jones RBI single and Shnyder's RBI fielder's choice. As they did in the sixth, the Indians delivered with two outs in the fifth as Caitlin Dauberman drilled a two-run triple to deep right and made it 4-1.
An inning later, Lamoreaux and Good, a catcher who made a highlight reel catch in the first inning, perfectly executed a first and third double steal before Ebner made it a four-run game. Dauberman and Lexie Temple each delivered two hits and Good reached base three times.
"Everybody hung in there and we weathered that storm in the middle of the game," Chris Ebner said. "Hat's off to them for keeping their composure. That's a good sign of character by them and it was a complete team effort."
"It's a really good feeling beating a strong team like that," Shnyder said. "We played hard and going against these types of teams is going to help us."
Loyalsock beat a similar quality team in the night's opening game, routing a squad that it edged 1-0 in nine innings in last year's district quarterfinals. Towanda entered with only one loss but Loyalsock hammered it from the start, opening the game with four straight hits, scoring four first-inning runs and cruising from there.
Lupo, who reinjured a right thumb that has given her problems since her freshman year, showed little sign of being hurt, slamming everything thrown her way. The senior first baseman hit a RBI single in the first inning to make it 1-0, crushed a 2-run home run in her next at-bat to make it 6-0 and added a RBI double in the third inning that made it 10-0. In three at-bats in three innings, Lupo was just a triple away from hitting for the cycle.
"It (the thumb) didn't bother me too much but in the back of your mind you're thinking about it," Lupo said. "But this is my senior year and I'm not going out. I'm staying in there."
Loyalsock's first four hitters were 10-for-10 at one point and all four finished with at least two hits. Allie Pagana ignited the offensive barrage, leading off the first inning with a triple. She went 3 for 3 with three runs and finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Pagana's two-out single and stolen base set the stage for Lupo's second-inning home run. She later added a RBI double in the four-run third inning.
Kendall Watkins went 2 for 3 with a two-run first-inning single while winning pitcher Kayla Gee went 2 for 3. Gee also threw an excellent game, scattering two hits and striking out nine.
"We came in high spirited," Lupo said. "That's what did it for us."
Loyalsock 12, Towanda 2, 5 innings
Towanda000 02-2 2 1
Loyalsock424 2x-12 11 1
Alaina Wickwire, Tara Welliver (2) and Sarah Dawsey. Kayla Gee and Allison Czap. W-Gee, (7-4). L-Wickwire.
Top Loyalsock hitters: Allie Pagana 3-3, 2B, 3B, 3 R, RBI; Kay Kay Lupo 3-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R; Gee 2-3, R; Kendall Watkins 2-3, 2 RBI, R.
Records: Loyalsock 7-4. Towanda 6-3. Next Game: Loyalsock vs. Mifflinburg, 10 a.m.
Muncy 7, Montoursville 4
Montoursville001 002 0-3 7 1
Muncy002 023 x-7 7 2
Cayla Treaster and Kelsey Stine. Amanda Kustanbauter, Emily Shnyder (6) and Crystal Good. W-Kustanbauter, (8-1). L-Treaster, (6-5). SV-Shnyder, (2).
Top Montoursville hitters: Lexi Marchioni 3-4, 3B, RBI, R; Stine 1-3, RBI, R; Treaster 2-3, 2B. Top Muncy hitters: Natalie Lamoreaux 1-3, 3B, R; Katherine Ebner 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Caitlin Dauberman 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Lexie Temple 2-3, R.
Records: Muncy 9-1. Montoursville 6-5.
Next Games: Muncy vs. Williamsport, 10 a.m.; Montoursville vs. Troy, noon