PHOTO: Tunkhannock’s Emily Schultz rounds first base on the way to a double. She finished 2-for-3 with a sacrifice when the Lady Tigers beat Danville, 1-0, in nine innings Monday. (Zachary Allen Photo)
With the starting pitchers combining for 30 strikeouts and allowing just 11 hits, Tunkhannock’s Nicole Howell and Emily Schultz found a way to finally produce the game’s only run in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday.
Howell doubled and scored the run when the Lady Tigers defeated Danville, 1-0, at Marywood University in the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A softball tournament.
The Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 and District 2 Class 4A champion Lady Tigers (22-2) advance to Thursday’s state quarterfinals. They will play Patriots Park in Allentown at 2 p.m. against District 3 runner-up Hamburg (20-3), which routed Archbishop Ryan, 20-0, in its first-round game.
Howell’s aggressive base-running turned a bloop hit over the infield to shallow center field into a double when she never stopped running with both the shortstop and second baseman going after the ball.
Schultz, who joined Danville’s Cameron Hess as the only players with two hits in the game, was called on to bunt. The bunt drew a throw to first to try to retire Schultz and when that throw sailed away, Howell made it home with the winning run.
The play ended a rain-delayed game in which both pitchers were excellent.
Kaya Hannon struck out 14 while holding District 4 champion Danville to five hits. She walked just one.
Hannon struck out all three batters she faced in the top of the ninth and did not allow a hit after a leadoff single in the seventh.
Danville’s Morgan Wagner struck out 16 in six-plus innings. She gave up six hits and walked two.
Howell, Schultz and Danville’s Wagner each had doubles.
Wagner struck out every Tunkhannock batter at least once while Hannon struck out all but Danville clean-up hitter Lindsey Cashner.