PHOTO: Old Forge’s Madelyn O’Hearn had three hits and drove in four runs in the district final. (Zachary Allen Photo)
By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
OLD FORGE – Madelyn O’Hearn provided the hitting, Karen Sickle took care of the pitching and Makayla Parker came up with the timely defense.
Together, they led the way as Old Forge took a commanding lead, then shut down a Forest City comeback on a way to a 9-5 victory Wednesday in the District 2 Class A softball championship game.
O’Hearn doubled in a run to complete the scoring in the three-run bottom of the first and went on to finish 3-for-4 with three RBI.
“In the middle of the season, I had a little bit of a slump, but my Dad (assistant coach Jason) gets me in the cage as much as I can and ultimately that’s what brings the doubles and the other hits,” O’Hearn said.
Sickle struck out all 3 batters in the top of the first and finished with 13 strikeouts, ending 5 of the innings with strikeouts that stranded a total of 6 runners.
Old Forge built a 7-1 lead through four, but when Forest City started to come back, Parker came up with one of the game’s most important plays.
Listed as the center fielder, but lining up closer to left field in Old Forge’s frequent use of a five-infielder, two-outfielder alignment, Parker came charging on a single that gave Forest City its third straight baserunner to begin the sixth.
Instead of loading the bases with none out, however, Forest City tried to cut its deficit to 8-3, only to have Parker make a throw to the plate for the first out.
“What a great throw,” Old Forge coach Pat Revello said. “She’s been doing that for us since freshman year.
“She came up big in a big spot for us.”
Catcher Talia Piragas also threw out a runner attempting to steal a base in the seventh.
From the seventh spot in the order, O’Hearn led an offense that got hits from 9 of the 10 players that batted.
“During the season, at times she batted third or fourth,” Revello said. “To have her come up big in the seventh spot really helped us out.”
Mazzie Musgrave also went 3-for-4 while scoring three runs for Old Forge.
Rachel Murray had two hits and drove in two runs. Olivia Shimonis lined a home run to center field for a 5-1 lead after two innings and also scored another run.
Ariana Brown had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored.
O’Hearn’s two-run single in the fourth gave Old Forge a 7-1 lead before Forest City scored four runs in the last three innings.
Bella Pleska doubled in a run with two out in the fifth and homered to begin the seventh.
In between, the Lady Foresters had the first five runners reach base in the sixth, but Parker’s throw helped make sure only two of them scored.
Pleska and Madelyn Shema had two hits each for Forest City.
The Lady Devils(16-6) open the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament Monday at Central Columbia at 4:30 against District 4 champion Montgomery (20-1).
Forest City finished 12-10.
Photo Gallery: Zachary Allen’s photos from Old Forge-Forest City championship game. https://nepasportsnation.com/old-forge-forest-city-softball-photo-gallery/.