MARION CENTER — In a pivotal showdown of two of the conference’s top teams, host Ligonier Valley registered three of the game’s four hits and used a two-run rally in the third inning to nip Marion Center, 2-1, in a Heritage Conference softball game Friday.
Ligonier Valley (9-2) snapped a six-game winning streak for Marion Center (10-2), which dropped its only other game this year to unbeaten Blairsville on April 18.
Kimmi Donaldson put Marion Center on the board first when she reached base on an error and scored later in the top of the first inning on a base hit up the middle from Meagan Robinson.
But in the bottom of the third, Ligonier Valley’s Brittney Lynch reached base on error to give the Rams their first base runner of the game, and some much-needed momentum.
Lynch made the most of the Stingers’ mistake, stealing second, advancing to third on a ground out, and then scoring a bloop single from Maddy Grimm with one out. Grimm stole second and third, and then with two outs, scored on a base hit up the middle from Jackie Berry for the eventual game-winning run.
Ligonier Valley ace Hailey Umbaugh, who struck out 17 and tossed a no-hitter Thursday against Homer-Center, fired a one-hitter. Umbaugh struck out seven and walked two.
Marion Center sophomore Megan Risinger tossed a three-hitter, striking out four and walking none.
Grimm singled twice to lead Ligonier Valley.