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LORETTO, Pa. – The clock struck midnight on Punxsutawney’s Cinderella run through the PIAA Class 3A softball playoffs Monday.
Mount Pleasant pounded the ball, to the tune of four home runs and three doubles, en route to a 13-0, 5 inning win in the semifinals at St. Francis University. The Lady Chucks, meanwhile, were held to just one hit-a Kaylee Guidice single-as Mary Smithnosky ran her scoreless innings streak to 38.
The Vikings wasted little time getting the offense going. Katie Hutter hit a leadoff single to start the game and Haylie Brunson followed with a 2-run homer to give Mount Pleasant a 2-0 lead just two batters into the contest. One out later, Courtney Poulich hit a solo home run to make it 3-0.
After a quiet second, the Vikings offense went to work again in the third. Brunson reached on an error to start the inning and Smithnosky launched the first pitch she saw over the left field wall to extend the lead to 5-0. Poulich was hit by a pitch, then moved to second on a ground out. She came home on Abby Swank’s 2-out double to center to give the Vikings a 6-0 advantage.
Mount Pleasant’s offense erupted for seven runs in the fifth. Hannah Gnibus led off with a single, then Sophia Smithnosky was hit by a pitch and Swank walked to load the bases. Back-to-back doubles by Krista Brunson and Lexi Puskar brought in four runs and pushed the lead to 10-0. Mary Smithnosky hit a sac fly to make it 11-0 with two outs in the inning. Poulich followed with her second homer of the game, a 2-run blast to left for the final runs.
Poulich was 2-3 with two homers, three runs scored and three RBI. Haylie Brunson scored three times and drove in a pair, while Krista Brunson and Puskar also had two RBI. Mary Smithnosky had three RBI.
Mary Smithnosky was dominant in the circle. She allowed just one hit and didn’t walk a batter while she struck out six in the 5-inning shutout.
Mount Pleasant will face either Central Columbia or Mid-Valley for the Class 3A championship on Friday.