There is no question that Friday was one of the great days in Tyrone softball history.
Moving up to 4A for the first time, the Lady Eagles got the No. 3 seed in the postseason. After a rainout Thursday, Tyrone finally got the chance to travel to Mount Aloysius College after only playing one game in the last two weeks.
The extra rest must have done a lot of good for the Lady Eagles judging by their performance on Friday.
Tyrone slugged 10 hits while pitcher Cate Baran held No. 2 Cambria Heights to two hits as the Lady Eagles beat the Highlanders, 7-2, putting them a win away from their first district title in school history.
“This is awesome,” said Tyrone head coach Doug Myers. “This was a goal at the beginning of the year. We wanted to get in the playoffs and win. The kids were great today. Even our outs were good hard-hit balls. They’re a good team. No. 2 seed in District 6 4A. This is good for our program. It’s what we envisioned when we came here. To be here at Tyrone and be talking about playing for a district title is pretty exciting.”
Tyrone will now face a very familiar opponent in No. 4 Bellefonte in the district championship. Bellefonte defeated top-seeded Johnstown, 7-0, on Thursday.
Baran had a perfect game going until the bottom of the fifth inning, and struck out eight of her first nine hitters using a lot of curveballs and rise balls.
“It feels great,” said Baran. “I never pictured getting to the district championship. This is awesome.”
“I think it took her about two or three innings to get really loose,” said Myers. “The rise ball wasn’t going up as much as it usually does. But by the fourth and fifth inning, it was moving up pretty good.
“The nice thing about Cate is we can go to three or four different (pitches) and that’s really tough for hitters to square on. She’s phenomenal. We’re lucky to have her. She’s worked real hard to get to this point.”
Tyrone’s lineup got things going right away as Maci Brodzina walked to start the frame. After Baran hit an infield single, Callie Maceno drilled a double over the Cambria Heights center fielder’s head, which scored both runners. Maceno tried stretching the double into a triple, but was thrown out at third base.
The Lady Eagles also manufactured a run in the third as Brodzina hit a one-out single. She then stole second base and took third after the ball got into center field. Baran followed with a sacrifice fly to give Tyrone a 3-0 lead.
After Baran struck out eight of her first nine batters, she only got two more strikeouts the rest of the way, both of them coming in the seventh inning.
Cambria Heights’ Karli Storm doubled in the fifth inning with one out to break the perfect game, but was stranded there.
Tyrone had runners at second and third with one out after a Maceno single and an Ella Pearson double. After a groundout for the second out, Maceno sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
The Lady Eagles put the icing on the cake in the seventh with three runs off Highlander relief pitcher Paige Jones. Brodzina hit an RBI single that scored Victoria Reese. On the play, the ball got away from the Cambria Heights catcher, and Macey Tuskovich also ran home on the play as Brodzina ended up at third.
Baran singled home Brodzina to give Tyrone a 7-0 lead.
“It was a total team effort,” said Myers. “That’s probably the best we’ve hit all year.”
Cambria Heights’ Ari Westrick and Abby Lobick both reached on errors to start the bottom of the seventh before Emma Stockley tripled home both runners.
However, Baran put a stop from there getting a pair of strikeouts and a pop-up to end the game.
Tyrone is now 14-7 on the season as they head to the District 6 4A championship game on Thursday against Bellefonte. The Lady Eagles split a pair of games in the regular season against their Mountain League opponent.
“We have to come out and hit, and we know Lexi (Rogers) is a tremendous pitcher,” said Myers. She’s one of the top pitchers in our league. We have to come out focused. It’s going to be fun to be at Saint Francis. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
The game will begin at 5 p.m. from Saint Francis University.
Tyrone 7, Cambria Heights 2
Tyrone — 7
Brodzina ss 3321, Baran p 3122, Maceno lf 4132, Pearson 2b 4010, Jones c 4000, Grot cf 3000, Reese dp 3110, Shaw 1b 2000, Tuskovich rf 2110, Coleman (flex) 3b 0000. Totals: 28-7-10-5.
Cambria Heights — 2
Jones cf-p 3000, Westrick c 3100, Lobick p-cf 3100, Stockley ss 3012, Storm 2b 3010, McMullen 3b 3000, Stiles lf 3000, Rodgers dp 1000, Bender ph 1000, Schreyer rf 2000, Thomas (flex) 1b 0000. Totals: 25-2-2-2.
Score by Innings
Tyrone 201 001 3 — 7 10 2 Cambria Heights 000 000 2 — 2 2 2 Errors: Coleman, Tuskovich; Westrick 2. LOB: Tyrone 4, Cambria Heights 2. 2B: Maceno, Pearson; Storm. 3B: Stockley. Sac: Shaw. SF: Baran. SB: Brodzina.