By Kenny Varner
DUBOIS – A team of destiny!!!
Looking to make history,
the Juniata softball team was one win away from heading to its first PIAA State Championship game Monday as they went head-to-head against the Jamestown Muskies.
The Lady Indians pitching sensation Liz Gaisior was her dominating self, notching six strike outs in the first two innings en route to a total of 20. She went up against Muskies’ hurler Miranda Biles.
In the end, it was that the total team effort by the Lady Indians as they secured the trip to Beard Field at Penn State and a championship berth.
“So proud of these girls. Everything we’ve been through. Erin losing her dad and me losing my best friend. Her not being able to be out there today. These girls left it all out there, “ said coach Craig Bubb who was filling in for coach Erin Cressman. “It was everybody. Every single player had something to do with this win. That’s what we preach. It’s never just about one player. Liz threw a two-hitter, she struck out 20 batters but we don’t win without six runs and seven hits.”
It was a pitchers duel early on as only one combined hit was accomplished in two innings.
In the first, Alexea Frontz reached on a walk. But she was stranded as the Muskies held strong.
The bottom of the inning, Gaisior struck out 3-of-4.
Juniata went down in order in the second.
With one out in the second, Jamestown posted the first hit of the game when Madilyn Enterline singled back up the middle.
However, the stay would be a short one as Gaisior struck two in-a-row, keeping the game scoreless.
The Muskies got a runner on in the third when Kiley Matters on a Juniata miscue.
But it didn’t matter as Gaisior again struck out three in the inning, running her strike out count to nine after three.
Juniata busted out with three in the fourth.
With one out, Frontz once again walked. Savannah Marshall followed with a walk as well.
Sophie Smith blasted a shot that soared over the left fielders head scoring Frontz and putting Marshall at third via a stand up double.
Alexa Kuhn brought in both base runners as she hit a shot to center, making it a 3-0 contest.
Holding steady with the lead, Gaisior continued to roll through the batters notching strike out 10-11-12, sending the game into the fifth inning.
Adding fuel to the fire, the Indians adding another run in the top of the sixth.
Regan Lowery hustled out an infield single. Gaisior helped her own cause with a screamer between short and third.
Frontz was clutch with the bat as she pushed a single into left scoring Lowery who was hustling from second on the sound of the bat, upping it to a 4-0 advantage.
Offensively, the Indians continued to get runners on.
In the sixth, Alexa Kuhn and Ashley Piper walked. Ava Lauver loaded the bases as she pushed a bunt single through, loading the bases.
Gaisior added to the lead as she blasted a shot to centerfield scoring two more crucial runs.
Jamestown was down to their last six at bats trailing 6-0.
From there the Indians continued to soar through the batters as Gaisior struck out five of the last six to capture the victory and securing etching their names in the school’s distinguished history book.
The group will try to successfully cap off its journey with a Friday contest at Penn State University.
Juniata 6, Jamestown 0
JU 000 312 0 – 6 7 1
JA 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
WP: Liz Gaisior
LP: Miranda Biles
Multiple hits: Jamestown- None , Juniata – Gaisior 2-for-4.
2B: JUN – Sophia Smith, Gaisior . JA – None