Kehler's single ends slugfest in Indians' favor

Apr. 23—COAL TOWNSHIP — Autumn Kehler had an inkling she might get a chance to end Tuesday's Heartland Athletic Conference-Division II slugfest with Montoursville.

The Shamokin third baseman figured the Warriors would be careful with three-hole hitter Ava Hughes — one of two Indians to hit two homers in the game — and give her a chance with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.

"I was a little nervous, but I knew I had to stay disciplined with my pitch selection," Kehler said.

Kehler rolled a single to center on a 1-2 pitch after fouling off three two-strike pitches to drive in two runs and lift Shamokin to a 13-12 victory over Montoursville at Eddie Griffiths II Field.

In a game that featured 30 hits and four Shamokin homers — Ava Bonshock had the Indians' other two blasts — it was a ball that landed foul that might have been that most important in the game. Kehler flipped an outside curveball foul down the right-field line after falling behind 1-2, and making contact on that two-strike pitch boosted Kehler's confidence.

"Yes," Kehler said. "Then I just started looking for a pitch to hit."

Shamokin (7-2 overall, 5-0 HAC-II) dropped a one-run game Saturday to rival Lourdes Regional, which has a co-op, and plays in Mount Carmel. The Indians have a showdown for first place in the division today with Mifflinburg (8-3, 4-1), but they didn't look past the Warriors.

"I really think losing on Saturday really pushed us to play better in this game," Shamokin senior Kennedy Petrovich said.

Petrovich got her school-record 139th hit Tuesday with a double to open the first inning, breaking Kaia Bonshock's record set from 2015-18.

The Indians jumped ahead 7-0 — Bonshock and Hughes each had two-run homers in the second and third innings, respectively. Bonshock hit a solo homer and Emma Kurtz added a two-run double in the fourth.

Kurtz cruised through the first five innings, allowing just an unearned run in the fifth and getting help from an inning-ending, pitcher-to-catcher-to-first double play in the third.

Montoursville's (5-6, 2-3) bats came alive in the top of the sixth.

The Warriors took advantage of two errors, and they had five hits to pull within 7-6. Emily George and Natalie Bennett had back-to-back, two-run singles. Kayleigh Sheleman then followed with an RBI double before Jillian Stone just missed a three-run homer as Gabby Parks caught her fly ball at the fence.

Nina Wilk singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, and Petrovich — who reached base in all five plate appearances and scored four runs — worked a walk. After a pop out to the pitcher, Hughes lined a homer over the right-center field fence to stake the Indians to a 10-6 lead, but they couldn't hold on in the top of the seventh.

Montoursville had seven straight batters reach base with one out — six with hits. George had a two-run double, and Bennett added a two-run single. Ava Cozzi ripped an RBI single, and Neveah Montonya's RBI hit made it 12-10. The Indians got out of the inning when a Felica Zigner-to-Libby Nye-to-Hughes relay got the trail runner for the final out.

The Indians' game-winning rally in the bottom of the seventh started with walks to Bonshock and Parks, before Wilk's perfectly placed bunt moved the runners into scoring position. Petrovich was intentionally walked, before a pop out for the second out. Hughes was walked on four pitches to force in a run for her sixth RBI of the game, cutting the lead to 12-11 and setting up Kehler's heroics.



Montoursville;000;015;6 — 12-17-2

Shamokin;022;303;3 — 13-13-5

Winning run scored with 2 outs

Julie Friel, Avery Stahl (6) and Neveah Montoya. Emma Kurtz and Ava Hughes.

WP: Kurtz; LP: Stahl.

Montoursville: Emily George, 2-for-4, double, 2 runs, 4 RBIs; Natalie Bennett 3-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs; Kayleigh Sheleman, 4-for-5, double, RBI; Montoya, 3-for-4, RBI; Jordan Chamberlin, 3 runs; Lia Bozochovic, 2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI.

Shamokin: Kennedy Petrovich, 1-for-1, double, 4 runs; Kurtz, 1-for-5, double, 2 RBIs; Hughes, 2-for-4, 2 home runs (3rd, 1 on; 6th, 2 on), 2 runs, 6 RBIs; Autumn Kehler, 2-for-5, 2 RBIs; Felicia Zigner 3-for-4; Ava Bonshock, 2-for-3, 2 home runs (2nd, 1 on; 4th, solo), 3 runs, 3 RBIs.