Muncy has had days like Thursday before this season. The Indians were a team which has had its defensive struggles before, but never with a state playoff berth on the line.
Muncy committed five errors, allowing Bloomsburg to score four unearned runs and top the Indians, 4-1, in the District 4 Class A semifinals at Elm Park. Bloomsburg earned its first berth into the state tournament in at least 20 years and faces defending champion Northeast Bradford today at 4:30 for the Class A championship.
"We had the defense. This is what we've been stressing for three weeks. Defense has been carrying us," Muncy first-year head coach Chris Ebner said.
Caitlin Dauberman of Muncy is blocked out by Bloomsburg’s Courtney Adamchick on a loose throw Thursday at Elm Park. In back is Muncy’s Jordan Jones.
Muncy's last five-error game this season coincidentally came in a 6-2 loss to Bloomsburg three weeks ago. The other two times the Indians committed as many errors in a game as they did Thursday, they were able to win.
A ground ball could have gotten Muncy out of the second inning unscathed, but it was missed, setting the stage for Panthers eight-hole hitter Courtney Adamchick to drive a ball to left field which was misjudged allowing two runs to score.
Emily Wawroski reached on an error for Bloomsburg to lead off the fourth inning and scored one batter later on a triple by Michelle Smith. Muncy pitcher Amanda Kustanbauter worked out of the rest of the inning without giving up another run. Mallory Fry then led off the fifth inning by reaching on an error and scored one batter later on a Dom Luxardo ground ball.
"Sometimes with kids one mistake compounds the next, then they put pressure on themselves," Ebner said. "Frustration is not the word. I'm disappointed for them. I'm disappointed because I know they're a great group of athletes and it just didn't go their way."
Kustanbauter was otherwise brilliant Thursday. She allowed just four hits, struck out seven and walked just one. She threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 32 batters she faced and threw 72 of her 102 pitches (70 percent) for strikes despite a stifling heat.
"I thought she hit her spots well. It was a tough night," Ebner said. "She threw well. She threw very well."
Bloomsburg freshman Wawroski was equally impressive, although with maybe not quite as dominant stuff. But Wawroski's defense behind her was flawless. Fry took away what looked like a sure RBI single in the third inning with two outs when she got a great jump on a line drive to center field with two Muncy baserunners on base.
The Panthers didn't commit one error and allowed just one Muncy baserunner to reach third base. Wawroski induced 13 infield outs. After Muncy scored a run in the third on a Haley Gyurina RBI single, Wawroski retired the next 10 she faced before giving up a leadoff single in the seventh.
Wawroski allowed just five runs in three games against Muncy this season.
""She's kept us off-balance now all year," Ebner said. "I thought we were ready batting and we didn't get the sticks going like I know we're capable of."
Bloomsburg020 110 0 - 4 4 0
Muncy001 000 0 - 1 5 5
Emily Wawroski and Lauren Yocum. Amanda Kustanbauter and Crystal Good. W-Wawroski. L-Kustanbauter.
Top Bloomsburg hitters: Mallory Fry, 1-4, run; Michelle Smith, 2-2, triple, RBI, run; Courtney Adamchick, 1-2, double, 2 RBIs. Top Muncy hitters: Crystal Good, 1-3, run; Rachel Gresh, 2-3; Haley Gurina, 1-3; Jordan Jones, 1-2.
With runners in scoring position: Bloomsburg 1-9; Muncy 2-6.
Runners left on base-in scoring position: Bloomsburg 7-4; Muncy 5-3.
Pitches-strikes: Bloomsburg, Emily Wawroski 78-53. Muncy, Amanda Kustanbauter 102-72.
Batters faced-first pitch strikes: Bloomsburg, Emily Wawroski 27-18. Muncy, Amanda Kustanbauter 32-20.