Home run in 8th seals Mt. Pleasant win over Indiana
It took Mt. Pleasant sophomore Chloe Poulich time to figure out Lauren Bertig’s changeup. When she finally did, it proved to be Indiana’s undoing.
Poulich homered off Bertig to lead off the top of the eighth inning, and the 12th-seeded Vikings upset No. 5 Indiana, 3-2, Wednesday in a WPIAL Class AAA first-round softball game at Latrobe.
“Never had a hit of that caliber in anything like the playoffs before,” Poulich said. “It’s very exciting.”
Mt. Pleasant advances to play No. 4 Southmoreland (13-2) in Monday’s quarterfinals at a time and site to be determined.
Poulich, who led off the sixth inning with her first hit of the game and scored the tying run on a two-out single by Madie Kromer to send it into extra innings knotted 2-2, lined the go-ahead run over the right-field fence for her ninth homer to lead off the eighth.
“I was surprised I hit it out. I was waiting to hear it clang off the fence,” Poulich said. “It was a high changeup. She got me on my first two at-bats on changeups. She has a really good one.”
Mt. Pleasant (10-5) ended Indiana’s best season since the Indians (16-3) last won a section title in 2001. Indiana claimed just its second section championship this year, winning in 5-AAA.
Logan Everett’s long fly ball to right off Mt. Pleasant’s Meadow Uncapher to lead off the bottom of the eighth was caught just in front of the fence by Christiana Czegan before Uncapher struck out Alley Bush and Madison Barker to end the game.
“I was sure hoping it would go out, but it was a little short,” Indiana coach Harold Wilson said. “And it was right at her. But it was a great effort.”
Uncapher, also a sophomore, gave up both Indiana runs in the first inning — one coming on an RBI-double by Everett — then hurled seven shutout innings. She yielded six hits while striking out 11 and walking one.
“We’ve been working on getting her to keep her composure, and she was outstanding today,” Mt. Pleasant coach Lauren Shaheen said.
“As a previous pitcher, I can tell you that it always makes me happy to see a pitcher do well.”
Shaheen was a two-time Tribune-Review Player of the Year at Hempfield who began her college career at Siena before transferring to Division II Cal (Pa.).
Poulich had two of Mt. Pleasant’s five hits against Bertig, who struck out eight, walked five and hit a batter. Bertig also had two hits for Indiana.
The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the first. Bertig led off with a single and scored on Everett’s double before Everett scored from second on a wild pitch that trickled into the Indiana dugout.
After that, Uncapher settled in, striking out the side in the second and surviving two hits in the fourth and some shaky play in the field resulting in two errors in the seventh.
“This shouldn’t have been as close as it was,” Shaheen said. “We made a couple of mental errors running the bases. But we got outstanding pitching and some clutch hitting.”
Mt. Pleasant cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second.
After back-to-back walks to Uncapher and Czegan — Uncapher later was caught stealing — Jenna Schultz reached on Barker’s error at first, allowing Czegan to score.
Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.