Willow’s HR leads EJ to late win over rival Juniata
May 11, 2023

By Kenny Varner

MIFFLINTOWN –  Another exciting chapter has been written!

The Juniata County rivalry has gotten a little bit more intense after the East Juniata softball team traveled to their rivals, Juniata.

In a pitcher’s duel, it would be the the Tigers that would come out victorious 2-0.

It would be an Emma Willow 2-run shot that would decide the TVL rivalry contest.

“I’m very proud of the girls. They started off from the very beginning and didn’t let up.I’m very proud“, said East Juniata coach Lauren Cheran. “This has been the best we looked all season.”

Throwing tough in the circle for the Lady Indians was phenom Liz Gaisior as the Lady Tigers countered with ace hurler Brenna Watts.

Watts scattered only five hits and struck out seven en route to the victory.

Picking up the hard luck loss, Gaisior still shined as she struck out 14 in the contest.

Both pitchers controlled the tempo from the circle, holding the others offense off the scoreboard until the  .

Both hurlers got ahead of their batters forcing them to defend the plate and bat unbalanced in the process.

Going into the fifth, Juniata tallied two hits and East Juniata also had two.

Twice in the first five innings, the Tigers had runners on first and second but could not score.

As the game wore on, the intensity level and anticipation had grown.

Going into the sixth the game was still scoreless. With both pitchers bringing their A-game, it seemed like the first team to score a run might come out with the win.

“Hopefully this will be a good wake up call for us. We’ve been playing pretty good going forward but we just didn’t do the little things “, said Juniata coach Erin Cressman. “We didn’t get our bunts down. We made some errors in the field. We’re going to have to clean that up if we are going to make a deep run. Some times you play well, sometimes you don’t. They (East Juniata) did everything they needed to win this game and we did not.”

In the top of the sixth East Juniata struck first. Brenna Watts led off the inning reaching on a Juniata miscue.

With two outs, Emma Willow blasted a shot to left centerfield that cleared the fence for the 2-run home run, making it a 2-0 lead.

Juniata knocked on the door in the bottom of the sixth.

With one out, Savannah Marshall and Shaelyn Armstrong ripped consecutive singles.

Teammate Cheyenne Kirk moved both up a base on a sacrifice bunt.

But the Lady Indians were left stranded with one inning to go.

In the seventh, Juniata had one last rally, with two outs Regan Lowry and Gaisior put runners on on consecutive walks.

But it wasn’t to be this night as the Tigers held onto to the 2-0 shut out victory.

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