Tunkhannock heads to 4A state softball title game

By John Erzar - [email protected] | June 12th, 2017 10:34 pm

EDWARDSVILLE — That powerful Bangor offense rumbled at times Monday, but never could quite figure out Tunkhannock pitchers Hope Jones and Kendra Schultz enough.

The result — Tunkhannock is heading to a PIAA state softball championship game for the first time in school history.

The pitching tandem quieted an offense which scored 11 or more runs 16 times and Tunkhannock used a big fourth inning to post a 9-4 victory in a Class 4A semifinal game at Wilkes University.

The next stop for District 2 champion Tunkhannock (19-5) is Penn State where it will play D7 third seed Mount Pleasant at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the 4A state championship. Mount Pleasant defeated D7 runner-up Yough 7-2 in the other semifinal.

“Our pitching was tough today,” Tunkhannock coach Bob Hegedty said. “Our hitting came through. We scored when we had to. The girls just kept battling. Now we’re going to State College on Thursday.”

With Hazleton Area advancing to the 6A state championship game, the Wyoming Valley Conference will have two teams playing for softball titles for the first time in the same season.

D11 champion Bangor (26-2) came into the game with five starters hitting .472 or better, with Penn State recruit Dani Fey leading the way at .638. The Slaters finished with nine hits, but Jones surrendered just two hits from the second through fifth innings when the Tigers turned a 2-2 tie into a 9-2 advantage.

“Coach emailed some coaches and got some information on them,” Jones said. “I personally looked up some videos of them, so I sort of knew what to expect coming in. We had a good idea of what kind of team they were.”

Bangor had a reputation of being able to hit its way out of mistakes. Not so Monday. The Slaters made two of their five errors in the first inning, helping Tunkhannock to score two runs despite not getting a hit.

Then came Tunkhannock’s six-run fourth where the Tigers pounded out four hits and were once again aided by two errors.

Paige Mokychic had an RBI double in the fourth, part of her 3 for 3 day at the plate. Sarah Traver added an RBI single. The final two runs scored when Erin Dunn’s routine grounder was misplayed for Bangor’s fifth and final error.

“I’m just seeing good pitches and trying to get the ball on the bat,” said Mokychic, who is 7 for 10 with two doubles and a triple in the state playoffs.

Tunkhannock struggled to score runs in the District 2 tournament, posting three 3-0 wins. But since scoring three runs in the seventh in a 7-0 state victory over Shikellamy, the Tigers’ offense has picked up steam. The had a nine-run inning against Eastern York in their 15-4 quarterfinal win.

Jones gave way to Schultz in the circle after allowing two singles to start the sixth. Schultz surrendered an RBI infield single and a sacrifice fly for another run in the inning. The Slaters got two on with one out in the seventh, but Schultz got a strikeout and foul pop-out to end the game.

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PIAA 4A Semifinals

Tunkhannock 9, Bangor 4

Tunkhannock`AB`R`H`BI

HJones p`3`2`0`0

FJones ss`3`3`1`0

Mokychic cf`3`1`3`1

Simmons 3b`2`0`0`0

Carpenter pr`0`1`0`0

Schultz rf`3`1`0`2

Traver lf`4`0`1`1

Dunn dp`3`0`1`0

Farr 1b`3`1`1`0

Bulford 2b`3`1`1`0

Krispin c`0`0`0`0

Totals 27`9`7`4

Bangor`AB`R`H`BI

NKessler lf`4`1`1`0

LKessler 2b`1`0`0`0

Holmqvist cf`4`1`2`0

Fey 1b`4`1`1`0

Caleen c`4`0`3`2

Learn cr`0`1`0`0

JHess ss`3`0`1`1

England rf`3`0`0`0

Groller 3b`2`0`0`1

DHess dp`1`0`1`0

DeAngelis lf`2`0`0`0

Gannon p`0`0`0`0

Totals`28`4`9`4

Tunkhannock`201`600`0`—`9

Bangor`200`002`0`—`4

E: Tunkhannock 2, Bangor 5. LOB: Tunkhannock 8, Bangor 7. 2B: Mokychic 2, Caleen. CS: LKessler. SAC: FJones, Farr, Simmons, Bulford, LKessler. SF: Groller.

Tunkhannock`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

HJones (W)`5.0`7`4`3`1`3

Schultz`2.0`2`0`0`1`1

Bangor`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Gannon`1.0`0`2`0`3`2

DHess (L)`2.1`4`5`5`2`0

NKessler`0.0`0`2`0`1`0

DeAnglis`3.2`3`0`0`0`0

Tunkhannock third baseman Jenna Simmons gets swarmed by teammates after catching a foul pop for the final out in their 9-4 victory over Bangor on Monday as the Tigers advanced to the PIAA Class 4A championship game.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Tunk-BangorSB_1.jpgTunkhannock third baseman Jenna Simmons gets swarmed by teammates after catching a foul pop for the final out in their 9-4 victory over Bangor on Monday as the Tigers advanced to the PIAA Class 4A championship game. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock shortstop Faith Jones chases down Bangor’s Lexi Kessler in a rundown between first and second.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Tunk-BangorSB_2.jpgTunkhannock shortstop Faith Jones chases down Bangor’s Lexi Kessler in a rundown between first and second. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock’s Hope Jones is congratulated in the dugout after scoring.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Tunk-BangorSB_3.jpgTunkhannock’s Hope Jones is congratulated in the dugout after scoring. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock’s Taylor Lynn cheers on her team against Bangor.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Tunk-BangorSB_4.jpgTunkhannock’s Taylor Lynn cheers on her team against Bangor. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock’s Faith Jones leads her teammates off the field through the Tunkhannock 11-12 softball team after defeating Bangor.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Tunk-BangorSB_5.jpgTunkhannock’s Faith Jones leads her teammates off the field through the Tunkhannock 11-12 softball team after defeating Bangor. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By John Erzar

[email protected]

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar


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