Montgomery erases late deficit to top rival Muncy, 6-3, in softball
MUNCY — Each game was tied entering the seventh inning and Montgomery trailed by a run late Thursday at rival Muncy.
The Red Raiders are 2-0. A good nucleus remains from the 2019 co-Mid-Penn champions. What Montgomery has revealed these first two games, however, is that it possesses the toughness to match its talent.
A day after edging South Williamsport, 1-0, Montgomery erased a one-run sixth-inning deficit and scored three seventh-inning runs to defeat Muncy, 6-3. Faith Persing threw three hitless innings of relief, Brynn McRae hit a game-tying RBI double, and Jenna Waring and Kaitlyn Raemsch displayed their versatility as Montgomery won its second straight game in its final at-bat.
“I talked to the girls and said just because a team goes up on you doesn’t mean it’s time to get down. This is what makes a team better. You have to determine whether you’re going to be a good team or a mediocre team. Good teams don’t give up and you saw the results,” Montgomery coach Chris Glenn said. “That’s what makes a good team. It’s about the team being able to play through adversity. I was very pleased with the way our kids carried themselves and the way they stayed up and didn’t give up.”
Muncy (2-1) scored three fourth-inning runs and took a 3-2 lead before Taylor McRae opened the sixth inning with a walk and scored when her sister Brynn smashed an RBI double into the right-center field gap. It stayed 3-3 entering the seventh, but like it did against South, Montgomery made something good happen there.
Persing reached on an error before Morgan Tupper dropped a perfectly placed bunt between home and the pitching circle. When the throw sailed into right field, both players scored and Montgomery went up, 5-3. Raemsch singled a batter later and later scored on another outstanding bunt, Waring putting it where the only place Muncy could go was first base.
“Muncy-Montgomery is always a rivalry game and South-Montgomery is too, so they’re big games,” Glenn said. “To come right out of the box and play two tough games like that makes me feel good that we came out on top in both of them.”
Like Montgomery, Muncy has an excellent young foundation to build its present and future upon. Despite missing some key players due to contact tracing, the Indians showed why they can be a serious league title contender, coming within six outs of victory. Freshman pitcher Nolah Moyer threw a six-hit gem and struck out 10 while Meredith McCahan hit a two-run fourth-inning double which gave Muncy a 3-2 lead and capped a three-run flurry.
“They battled all the way to the end, and they never gave up,” Muncy coach Joe Tedesco said. “I can’t say enough about how well they did. It’s sad that we lost but after playing them I’m not worried about playing anyone else because I think we can stay with anybody now.”
Muncy looked like it may have Montgomery on the ropes in that fourth inning before Persing entered and stranded a runner on third with consecutive strikeouts. The junior pitcher has been dominant on consecutive days and retired all nine batters she faced, striking out five. Over her first two games, Persing is 2-0, has allowed no runs, surrendered just three hits and struck out 18 in 10 innings. With both games being tied until the seventh inning, the margin for error has been tiny and Persing has come up big.
“I take it as a challenge. I’m going to challenge myself to do well and not give up the runs,” Persing said. “It’s nice having insurance runs but if I can do what I can best and not give up any runs when it’s an even score that’s just as good.”
Persing was expected to be one of Montgomery’s top pitchers last year before the season was canceled. While the season was erased, she never stopped working, playing both travel ball and working out with her pitching coach. That dedicated offseason work has helped her surge early this season.
Persing also is pitching confidently with a strong defense behind her. An injury had Raemsch moved to catcher in the third inning for the first time in her scholastic career and she has played three positions well these first two games. That goes ditto for Waring who threw four solid innings yesterday after playing right field Wednesday. Waring has not practiced at shortstop this spring but shined there against Muncy and made an excellent play to open the seventh inning, rocketing a snap throw which just beat the speedy Nicolette Johnson.
Raemsch made an excellent relay throw to second baseman Tupper in the first inning who then threw a perfect strike to Brynn McRae at third to prevent Johnson from hitting a lead-off triple. Two batters later, left fielder Courtney Smith and Persing teamed up to do the same thing on the opposite side of the field and throw Moyer out at third following her single and an error.
“Our defense is definitely our strong point,” Persing said. “Comparing my freshman year to now I think I’ve gotten better, and we’ve gotten better as a team. After last year and not being able to grow from having another season, I think that we’re great starting off where we are now, and we can continue to get better.”
Moyer also is off to an excellent start and was outstanding against Montgomery’s dangerous lineup. After earning wins in her first two starts, Moyer collected a strikeout in each of the first six innings and struck out the side in the second.
Persing opened the game with a bloop single, stole second and scored on an error. Taylor McRae also singled that inning and Raemsch scored on a wild pitch. Moyer settled in from there and did not surrender another run until the sixth inning. She also ignited the three-run fourth-inning rally with a lead-off walk before Alaina Brelsford doubled, Lily Frederick came home on an error and McCahan belted her go-ahead, two-run double.
“Nolah pitched a real nice game. That’s really exciting. She’s firing on all cylinders,” Tedesco said. “I’m really happy with the way everybody played today. They battled and they did everything we asked of them.”
Montgomery 200 001 3–6 6 1
Muncy 000 300 0–3 6 3
Jenna Waring, Faith Persing (4) and Shelby McRae. Kaitlyn Raemsch, Nolah Moyer and Lily Frederick. W–Persing. L–Moyer.
Top Montgomery hitters: Raemsch 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Brynn McRae 2-3, 2B, RBI; Persing 1-4, 2 runs, SB; Taylor McRae 1-3, run. Top Muncy hitters: Nicolette Johnson 2-4; Moyer 1-2, 2 BB; Alaina Brelsford 1-3, 2B, run; Rory Oden 1-3, run; Meredith McCahan 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs.
Records: Montgomery (2-0, 1-0 Mid-Penn), Muncy (2-1, 2-1).