NEPA Sports Nation

Summa, Butka, Maloney lead West to successful state softball debut

PHOTO: Mia Butka pitched a five-hitter for West Scranton Monday. (Zachary Allen Photo)

Isabella Summa’s second position change of the season put her in a familiar place, behind the plate, catching Mia Butka.

Together, they led the West Scranton softball team through unfamiliar territory Monday.

Summa tripled twice to drive in three runs and support a five-hitter by Butka as the Lady Invaders made their state tournament debut a successful one with a 6-2 victory over Elizabethtown in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 5A tournament opener at Marywood University.

As her sophomore season progressed, Summa moved into the middle of the action. She went from right field to center field midway through the regular season before a teammate’s injury opened the catcher position heading into the playoffs.

“I’ve actually played catcher for 10 years and caught Mia for 10 years,” Summa said of NEPA Hurricanes travel teammate. “ … I was really excited to be back there with Mia.”

Summa also seems to be getting more comfortable at the plate.

While leading the West Scranton offense Monday, Summa improved to 5-for-11 for the playoffs, extended her hitting streak to 10 games and raised her season average to .375.

Batting fifth in the order, Summa made the most of the production of the players ahead of her in the lineup.

Summa erased the only West Scranton deficit with a two-run triple with two out in the bottom of the first for a 2-1 lead.

Leadoff hitter Madison Maloney, who finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, got the Lady Invaders started with a single.

Gianna Russo, whose home run put West Scranton in the state tournament with a 1-0 District 2 championship game victory over Abington Heights, doubled with one out.

After just missing foul on a hit that would have driven both runners in, Summa came through on the next pitch with a deep flyball.

“The one that I missed, it was just foul by a couple of millimeters,” Summa said in a telephone interview the next day. “ … I knew I just had to get the runners in.

“I knew I hit it hard. I was just hoping it wasn’t at someone, then I realized it was over the center field’s head.”

West Scranton built a lead by scoring in each of the first four innings.

Summa got involved again in the third when her triple scored Olivia Dougher, who had singled, and made it 4-1.

Maloney and Butka also drove in runs during the win while Tori Herne had the team’s other extra-base hit with a double.

Butka did not walk a batter while throwing 58 of 78 pitches for strikes. She allowed just one run after the first and struck out two.

West Scranton used the win to advance into Thursday’s state quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown at 4 p.m. against West Chester East.

The Lady Invaders have won seven straight since a stretch where they lost three of five games. They are 13-3 overall.

“Midseason, we had a big turnaround,” Summa said. “We stopped the errors on defense and we started working as a team real well and we started realizing we could get far.”

West Chester East is 17-7 after beating Daniel Boone, 8-0, in Monday’s first round of state play.

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