Host Blairsville bounced back from its first loss of the season and inched closer to securing the conference title by besting Penns Manor, 8-4, in a Heritage Conference softball game Thursday.
The Bobcats (13-1), who fell to Marion Center, 7-0, on Wednesday, set up a winner-take-all showdown with second-place Ligonier Valley on Tuesday in Blairsville.
The Bobcats trailed 4-1 before plating seven runs on three hits, two walks and three errors in the bottom of the sixth inning to take an 8-4 lead.
Blairsville ace Emilie Okopal, who walked a season-high seven batters against Marion Center on Wednesday, fired a one-hitter. She struck out nine.
“She came back strong,” Blairsville coach Frank Harsh said. “She knew she had a bad game yesterday so she came out today and threw a lot more strikes and eliminated the walks. It was critical for her to respond like that, especially with Ligonier (Valley) coming up on Tuesday.”
Mackenzie Livingston singled and doubled to lead Blairsville. Abby Peace added a pair of singles.
Emily Stupic notched Penns Manor’s lone hit, a double.
Megan McCunn struck out four, walked two and allowed eight hits in a complete-game losing effort.
Penns Manor plays host to Homer-Center on Tuesday.
MARION CENTER 13, PURCHASE LINE 1: Marion Center racked up 13 hits and provided ace Megan Risinger with more than enough run support to thump host Purchase Line in a Heritage Conference game.
Risinger, who fired a three-hitter in Wednesday’s win over Blairsville, tossed a two-hitter, striking out 13 and walking none. Risinger notched her 13th complete-game win of the year and her 16th complete game. She also singled three times and tripled.
“Her control is what does it,” Marion Center coach Ed Peterson said. “She’s so conditioned from throwing at least 100 pitches a day. She’s in the gym in the preseason in January and February, and when you put that glove up, she hits it every time.”
Kimmi Donaldson singled twice and drove in three runs for Marion Center. Heidi Peterson, Katie Dotts and Amber McClure each drove in two runs.
Marion Center (13-3) travels to United on Monday. Purchase Line concluded its season.
HOMER-CENTER 18, UNITED 3: Homer-Center outhit United 12-4 and smacked a pair of homers to score an easy win in a Heritage Conference game rule at Floodway Park.
Homer-Center led 9-3 before plating nine runs on five hits, two walks, two errors and a hit batsman in the bottom of the fourth inning to enforce the mercy rule.
Allison Kishlock singled and cracked a three-run inside-the-park homer for Homer-Center. Julia Buggey hit a two-run shot, and Abby Plowcha singled three times.
Plowcha tossed a four-hitter, striking out two and walking two.
Leah Magalich struck out four and walked six in a complete-game losing effort.
Both teams play Monday. Homer-Center (5-11) travels to Penns Manor and United plays host to Marion Center.