Veteran Team Awaiting Youthful Lady Bison in District Final

HYDE — The District 9 Class AAA softball championship game at DuBois Wednesday will pit No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Karns City’s experience against No. 2 seed Clearfield’s youth.

The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Heindl Field in City Park.

While the Lady Bison (11-9) have only three players who saw postseason action last year, the Lady Gremlins (16-1) boast most of the cast that defeated Chestnut Ridge 5-3 two years ago and Everett 6-2 last spring in the Districts 5-8-9 finals.

They are led by Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Player of the Year Alyssa Stitt, a senior shortstop.

Senior center fielder Emily Wolfe and junior third baseman Mackenzie Dunn joined her on the All-KSAC First Team, and senior pitcher Logan Byers and junior second baseman Kate Allen were named to the second team.

Though no statistics are available, recaps of the Lady Gremlin games on D9sports.com show Stitt and Dunn as the most consistent hitters and cleanup hitter Allen, Wolfe and senior Taylor Ekis with a number of multi-hit games, too.

Byers has logged most of the innings in the circle and leads the team in wins, with Dunn and Makenzie Shay, the winner in relief of Byers in the 2017 playoff victory, also taking turns in the circle.

Karns City’s lone loss was 2-1 to Leechburg, 17-2 after losing in the District 7 (WPIAL) Class A semifinals but hopeful of advancing to the state tourney through the consolation game.

The Lady Gremlins’ signature wins were 7-6 in 10 innings over Grove City, which is in the District 10 AAAA finals against Warren, and 2-1 over District 9 Class A finalist Clarion.

Karns City defeated Brookville 7-2 on April 6 with Dunn working the first five innings and allowing seven hits to earn the victory, while Clearfield ousted Brookville from the district playoffs last Wednesday, 12-0 in five innings. as Emma Hipps fired a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts.

“You go 16-1 you’re pretty good, but we’ve played great competition all year, and I think that’s prepared us for this kind of game,” second-year Lady Bison coach Derek Danver said.

A district title was preseason goal No. 2 for the Lady Bison, who crossed off the first one when they beat Brookville to clinch a winning record.

They’ll be seeking the program’s first District 9 championship since 2007, when there were four classifications and the Lady Bison reigned in Class AAA.

Since then, two Lady Bison teams appeared in the finals, losing 4-2 to Punxsutawney in 2010 and 1-0 to Punxsy in 2016.

The PIAA made the change to six classes for the 2017 season, and the Lady Bison wound up in AAAA before moving down to AAA this year.

A year ago, the Lady Bison lost 5-4 in extra innings at St. Marys in the Class AAAA semifinals with Karly Rumsky and Kyra Mollura in the starting lineup in center field and behind the plate, respectively, and Casey English making a pinch-hitting appearance.

Rumsky (.286) anchors the outfield as the lone senior starter, with sophomore Morgan Cheek (.203) in left and freshman Alexis Benton in right.

Mollura, a junior, has made the transition to shortstop and will be joined on the inner defense by freshman first baseman Lauren Ressler (.338, 14 RBIs), freshman second baseman Kylee Hertlein and junior third baseman English.

Freshman catcher Olivia Bender (.365, 14 RBIs) is batterymate for Hipps (.439, 18 RBIs).

In the circle, Hipps (10-8) has pitched 122 innings with a 1.84 earned run average. She has racked up 200 strikeouts and allowed only 34 walks.

The winner will advance to the state tournament and a first-round game Monday against the Districts 5/6 runner-up, either Mountain League rival Bald Eagle Area or Chestnut Ridge.

Lady Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
3/26 BALD EAGLE AREA 2 – 17 0 – 1
3/29 HUNTINGDON ppd. 0 – 1
4/01 @ Philipsburg-Osceola ppd. 0 – 1
4/02 CURWENSVILLE 9 – 1 1 – 1
4/04 TYRONE 7 – 5 2 – 1
4/06 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 1 – 3 2 – 2
4/09 @ Penns Valley 3 – 4 2 – 3
4/10 HUNTINGDON 11 – 1 3 – 3
4/11 BRADFORD 15 – 3 4 – 3
4/12 CENTRAL ppd. 4 – 3
4/15 @ Bellefonte ppd. 4 – 3
4/16 CENTRAL 4 – 1 5 – 3
4/18 @ Bald Eagle Area 0 – 9 5 – 4
4/22 @ Glendale 2 – 6, 9 inn. 5 – 5
4/23 @ Huntingdon 9 – 4 6 – 5
4/26 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA ppd. 6 – 5
4/29 @ Tyrone 0 – 1 6 – 6
4/30 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 1 – 4 6 – 7
5/02 PENNS VALLEY 4 – 1 7 – 7
5/06 @ Bellefonte 7 – 1 8 – 7
5/07 @ Central 2 – 6 8 – 8
5/08 HOLLIDAYSBURG 10 – 1 9 – 8
5/10 BELLEFONTE cancelled 9 – 8
5/13 @ Punxsutawney ppd. 9 – 8
5/14 @ Punxsutawney ppd. 9 – 8
5/15 @ Altoona 9 – 4 10 – 8
5/17 @ Punxsutawney 0 – 1, 8 inn. 10 – 9
5/22 District 9 AAA Playoffs
5/22 BROOKVILLE 12 – 0 11 – 9
5/29 Karns City @ DuBois

Lady Bison Capture D-9 AAA Softball Title, Stop Karns City 5-1
Bison, Chucks To Renew D-9 Rivalry in Class AAAA Final

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