Jun. 8—SCRANTON — Easily it could have been the tipping point, a rocket down the third-base line that hooked foul by millimeters, denying West Scranton’s Isabella Summa a two-run double in the first inning of Monday’s PIAA Class 5A playoff game with Elizabethtown.
Undaunted by misfortune, Summa responded by turning the tables and erasing the Bears’ early lead.
Instead of a two-run double, the sophomore center fielder-turned-catcher lashed a 3-2 pitch into the gap in right-center field to drive in a pair, and start the Invaders on their way to a 6-2 win and a date in Thursday’s quarterfinals against West Chester East.
“I thought it was fair and I thought we had two runs, but I just had the mentality of doing the same thing, just getting a base hit, not doing too much and making contact,” said Summa, who tripled twice and drove in three runs. “I just knew I just needed contact on the next pitch and to do what I know how to do, and I just did that and went with the pitch.”
Her rip erased a 1-0 deficit after losing pitcher Kristin Geesey blooped a double to left and scored on Ava Fair’s squeeze bunt.
“It was a really big at-bat for me, especially with a two-out rally going and a 3-2 count,” Summa said. “I think it was really big for us to score, even though we were only down by one run.”
Leadoff hitter Maddy Maloney set the tone with the first of her three hits, stroking a solid single, and Gianna Russo belted a double to deep center to set the table for Summa.
“I have to get off to a good start for the team,” Maloney said. “I was just in there thinking that I needed to get on for my team. I knew as soon as I got on my team was going to back me up and we were going to score.
“I know what my job is being leadoff.”
Maloney reached four times, and West kept tacking on runs.
Isabella Gigliotti worked a 10-pitch walk, swiped second and scored on an error to make it 3-1 in the second, and Summa lined a second triple to almost the same spot as the first, scoring Olivia Dougher, who singled.
“That’s one thing that we did today. Everybody put the bat on the ball, one through nine,” West Scranton coach E.J. Dougher said. “And we used 12 players today, and that’s something that you have to do as you advance through the state tournament.”
A familiar pattern added a run in the fourth, with Maloney reaching on a two-out single, stealing second and scoring on winning pitcher Mia Butka’s single.
Butka had plenty of help behind her, too, center fielder Gianna Russo making a pair of sparkling catches to rob Elizabethtown in the second and fourth innings.
“She made some great plays,” said Butka, who scattered four hits and fanned two. “I’m not as much a strikeout pitcher as I am a placement pitcher, so we really rely on our defense to make the plays and they all did today.”
Russo, playing her third game in the outfield after moving from first base, made another above-average catch and cleanly retired six hitters.
“She doesn’t think about nerves or anything like that,” E.J. Dougher said. “She goes after it. She wants the ball hit to her every single time and that’s what you want in the field.”
Sydney Stewart’s double and a sacrifice fly from Sophia Finch pushed across a run for Elizabethtown in the fifth, but West was in control by then, and Maloney’s RBI single in the sixth capped the victory.
“First time we win a district championship, so to win a game in states is really exciting,” Burka said.
West Scranton 6, Elizabethtown 2
West Scranton 6, Elizabethtown 2
Elizabethtown 100 010 0 — 2
West Scranton 211 101 x — 6
WP: Mia Butka 7IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2SO
LP: Kristin Geesey 6IP, 9H, 6R, 5ER, 3BB, 3SO
2B: Gianna Russo (WS), Tori Herne (WS), Kristin Geesey (ELI), Sydney Stewart (ELI).
3B: Bella Summa (WS) 2.
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