Tunkhannock advances to Softball World Series semifinals

Ella McNeff hit an RBI double in the top of the seventh and Elaina Kulsicavage followed with an RBI single as Tunkhannock advanced to the semifinals of the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon, with a 2-1 extra-inning victory over the Asia-Pacific champion from the Philippines on Monday night.

Tunkhannock will play the Oregon District 4 champion, Lake Oswego, at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.

Erin Van Ness started the seventh with a single to left. She moved to second on a throwing error on Emily Patton’s popout and then to third when Hannah James grounded out. McNeff then scored her with a double to right and was awarded third when she was interfered with while running the bases.

Kulsicavage’s single to left brought home McNeff for a 2-0 lead.

Tunkhannock starting pitcher Kaya Hannon was strong through six innings, striking out 10, but gave way to reliever Sydney Huff in the seventh to remain eligible to pitch Tuesday.

Huff gave up a one-out single to Jhaycel Roldan, who then moved up two bases on wild pitches. She scored on a groundout, but catcher Cali Wisnosky snagged a foul pop to end the game.

Tunkhannock had opportunities to score in the first six innings, but couldn’t cash in.

The Pennsylvania and East Region champ had the lead-off batter on bases in the first three innings.

In the first inning, McNeff was hit by a pitch, but three popouts ended the inning.

Tunkhannock got its first hit in the top of the second when Wisnosky lined a single down the left-field line. But a huge defensive play by Philippines second baseman April Ann Mongcal cut off the momentum when she speared a liner over her head off the bat of Huff and threw to first for a double play.

The third inning presented a good scoring opportunity, yet Tunkhannock failed to capitalize. Alexis Gilroy opened the frame with an infield single and two outs later moved to third on Serenity Kerr doubled to right. Another pop ended the threat.

In the fifth, McNeff singled with two outs and stole second, only to be stranded there. Likewise, the Philippines stranded a runner at second in the same inning.

Tunkhannock’s Paige Marabell lined a one-out single to center in the sixth. She got no farther as the inning ended on a popout and groundout. The Philippines got its first runner on in the bottom of the sixth, but Hannon came back with three strikeouts to send the game into the seventh.

The Philippines loaded the bases with one out in the first on three consecutive bunt singles. Hannon, though, got out of the jam with a fly to shallow left field and a strikeout.

Hannon got out of even bigger trouble in the third as the Philippines loaded the bases with no outs on a double, fielder’s choice and a hit by pitch. A pair of popouts and Hannon’s fifth strikeout ended the threat.