THORNDALE — After not playing their best in their Little League Major Division state softball tournament opener Tuesday, the Mifflinburg All-Stars got off to a great start in their second game Wednesday.
Mifflinburg scored seven runs in the top of the first on its way to a 13-4 win over West Suburban to advance to Friday’s winners’ bracket final against St. Marys, an 11-1 winner over Stroudsburg on Wednesday.
Mifflinburg manager Heath Stewart said he was pleased with how his team bounced back after a close win in the state opener, in which he didn’t feel his team left it all on the field.
Anna Pachucki led the game off with a double. She quickly scored when the West Suburban third baseman overthrew first base. Taylor Stewart followed with a double of her own to put runners on second and third.
Mifflinburg took advantage of some walks as its lead quickly increased to 4-0. After some errors by West Suburban and sacrifice ground outs, Mifflinburg took a 6-0 advantage. Pachucki stepped back into the box and kept her quick stroke, singling home the last run of the inning.
In the second inning, Mifflinburg added three more runs to take a 10-0 lead.
The West Suburban batters seemed to have trouble with Taylor Stewart, who threw her fastball past them early. When West Suburban started to catch up to the fastball, Taylor Stewart kept them off-balance with her drop ball and locating her fastball up in the zone.
Taylor Stewart allowed seven hits, but did not walk a batter and struck out seven. The win was an important step for Mifflinburg, as two years ago the team lost at this stage in the 8-10 Division softball state tournament.
“It feels good we’re at the point where we were two years ago and that we still have more coming for us,” Taylor Stewart said.
West Suburban scored one run in the bottom of the second, and one in the bottom of the third to extend the game. Mifflinburg scored three in the top of the sixth to add some insurance run. Olivia Fetterman led Mifflinburg with three RBIs. Pachucki and Maggie Rubendall each drove in a pair.
Heath Stewart said he was pleased with how his team continued to play after the big early lead.
“Our assistant coach Vicky (Pachucki) made a quote it’s 0-0 every inning,” Heath Stewart said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down 12-0 or up; you can’t look at that scoreboard, and that’s the approach they took.”
Mifflinburg has the day off today, while West Suburban will play in one of two elimination games that will drop the number of teams remaining at states to four.