By Rich Rhoades
NEW BETHLEHEM — With 11 runs in its final three at-bats, defending Class AA softball champion Curwensville notched a 13-3 win at Redbank Valley Wednesday afternoon at the New Bethlehem Little League Field.
The Lady Tide (10-10), who went into the postseason losers in six of their final seven games, advance to Wednesday’s semifinal matchup with top-seeded and unbeaten Moniteau at 4:30 p.m.
Last year, Curwensville beat Redbank Valley to win the district title, 2-0. That was the score going into the fifth inning before the Lady Tide pushed home two more runs to take a 4-0 lead. After three Redbank Valley runs in the bottom of the fifth, Curwensville put the game away with two more runs in the sixth and seven in the seventh when it sent 11 batters to the plate.
Seven different players had at least two hits for the Lady Tide. Alaina Stiles, Nikki Harker and Keely Wassil each had three hits while Abby Dugo, Tiara Shope, Megan McCartney and Melanie Milliron each had two hits.
Stiles doubled twice, setting up Harker’s two-run single in the first inning, and singled in a run in the seventh. Shope hit a two-run single in the seventh and finished with three runs batted in.
Also singling in runs in the seventh were Bethany Carns, Milliron and McCartney.
The late offensive surge made things much easier for Shope on the mound. She was efficient in her eight-hitter, striking out three and walking just one batter. Aside from Redbank Valley’s three-run fifth, the Lady Bulldogs had just four hits. Shope retired 11 of 12 batters at one point, starting with stranding runners at second and third in the first inning.
Megan Nolf singled twice for the Lady Bulldogs, who finished 8-8. Darian Gruver led off the sixth with a double, but didn’t score as Shope got out of that right before Curwensville’s seven-run seventh put the game away.
CURWENSVILLE 13, REDBANK VALLEY 3
Score By Innings
Curwensville 200 022 7 – 13
Redbank Valley 000 030 0 – 3
Curwensville – 13
Abby Dugo ss 4220, Tiara Shope p 5223, Alaina Stiles c 5332, Nikki Harker 1b 5132, Megan McCartney lf 5022, Keely Wassil dp 4030, Hannah Dixon cf-pr-ph 1100, Riley Young 2b 2100, Bethany Carns 3b 4011, Kaylee Harnet pr 0100, Melanie Milliron rf 3221. Totals: 38-13-18-11.
Redbank Valley – 3
Kimberly Shick ss 4011, Megan Nolf cf 4020 cf, Kara Hicks dp 4010, Megan Bain pr 0000, Alyssa Burkett p 0000, Emma Kennemuth 1b 4010, Lauren Rearick lf 3000, Darian Gruver 3b 3010, Jess Walter c 3010, Carly Gruver cr 0100, MacKenzie Pence 2b-pr 1100, Maycee Shumaker ph 0000, Tessa Troup rf 3112. Totals: 29-3-8-3.
Errors: Redbank Valley 5, Curwensville 1. LOB: Curwensville 8, Redbank Valley 7. 2B: Gruver, Dugo, Stiles 2. 3B: Troup. SAC: Pence, Young. HBP: Young (by Burkett).SB: Harker.
Curwensville: Shope-7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.
Redbank Valley: Burkett-7 IP, 18 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.
Winning pitcher: Shope. Losing pitcher: Burkett.