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Morgan Tupper comes up clutch against Muncy as Raiders secure share of Mid-Penn championship

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montgomery’s Faith Persing throws against Muncy during a high school softball game on Thursday at Montgomery. Montgomery won 7-0.

MONTGOMERY–An all-state second baseman two years ago, Morgan Tupper already achieved a lot entering her senior season.

But after losing her junior year because of COVID-19 last season, Tupper may have been pressing to try and do even more throughout Montgomery’s first 11 games. The 2019 Sun-Gazette batting champion, though, stayed confident and kept working. Maybe even more importantly, she relaxed and enjoyed the moment Thursday afternoon.

Then Tupper helped her teammates own a big moment and become a champion again.

Tupper delivered three hits, every starter reached base for a second straight game, and Faith Persing threw a three-hit shutout as Montgomery defeated Muncy, 7-0, and captured a share of its second straight Mid-Penn championship. Tupper ignited a four-run second-inning rally and Persing struck out 16 for the Red Raiders (12-0, 10-0) who will win the title outright if they defeat either CMVT or Sugar Valley in their final league games. Montgomery also completed a season sweep of Muncy (10-3, 10-2) and snapped its eight-game winning streak.

“I was very motivated because they are a rival, so you want to put them down and having that many wins in a row you want to shut it off,” Tupper said. “I was struggling with my hitting and I really focused on that in practices the last couple days so it felt good to go out there and do that and see it pay off.”

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Muncy pitcher Nolah Moyer winds up during a high school softball game against Montgomery on Thursday at Montgomery. Montgomery won 7-0.

It paid off in a big way when Tupper fueled the second-inning flurry. After Jenna Waring (2 for 3) hit a lead-off single, Tupper went the opposite way with an 0-1 pitch, roping an RBI single into right field and producing the game’s first run. Tupper reached base in all four at-bats, adding singles in each of her last two while scoring a run and stealing a base.

“I told her you just have to go out there and have fun. That’s what this game is about. It’s not about whether you get a hit every time,” Montgomery coach Chris Glenn said. “She loosened up today and look at what happened. I couldn’t be happier with that. That’s a great thing for her.”

Montgomery has done a lot of great things through 12 games and its winning formula was on display again yesterday. Persing was dominant, the hitting balanced and the defense strong with center fielder Kaylei Snyder’s brilliant catch ending the game. Montgomery put runners on in every inning and eight players combined for 12 hits against tough Muncy left-hander Nolah Moyer.

Moyer is enjoying a super freshman season and struck out 13 the first time these rivals played last month. She threw well again yesterday but ran into a surging team which built off the momentum generated in Tuesday’s 10-0 win against defending District 4 Class A champion Bucktail. Montgomery struck out just three times and Tupper, Persing, Waring and Brynn McRae all had two hits. The Raiders consistently delivered timely hits as well, and scored five two-out runs, including three in the second when they built a 4-0 advantage.

“We can count on each other with our hitting, especially,” Tupper said. “We can pick each other up if we’re down.”

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montgomery’s Faith Persing throws against Muncy during a high school softball game on Thursday at Montgomery. Montgomery won 7-0.

“When one of us strikes out or gets out we keep each other up and keep going,” Persing said. “If we don’t, then we’re all down so we keep each other up the whole time.”

Montgomery’s balance is making every hitter in the lineup a threat. Often if one player is not having a good day, another one is. And when all of them are hitting at the same time like they have the last two games, the Raiders become really dangerous. It was that way in the second inning when Montgomery produced five hits and Sammy Ulrich delivered a two-out RBI single. Persing followed with a double before Kaitlyn Raemsch belted her second two-run single in two games, giving Montgomery a 4-0 lead.

Two innings later, Montgomery broke out again. Persing used her power and speed to smash her fifth home run, rocketing a fly ball to the center field fence and beating the throw home. Taylor McRae then drew a two-out walk and her sister Brynn scored her with a triple. Waring followed with an RBI single and Montgomery led 7-0.

“We’ve been doing some new things and they’re working. That’s two strong performances with the bats and we’re getting better every time,” Glenn said. “We’d like to be hitting our stride later on here and I think there’s more room for improvement and I think we’re going to improve. They’re absorbing what we’re giving them and they’re really working hard to get better. I couldn’t be happier at this point.”

Muncy battling back from seven runs down would not be easy against any pitcher. Facing Persing, though, the Indians had better odds locating Big Foot than they did of coming back to win. The junior right-hander added another masterpiece to her growing collection, throwing her ninth shutout and allowing three or fewer hits for the 10th time. Persing struck out the side in each of the first four innings, fanned 14 through five innings and let just two runners past first base.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montgomery’s Faith Persing (17) is safe at home as the ball gets away from Muncy catcher Kaylyn Rice (21) during a high school softball game on Thursday at Montgomery. Montgomery won 7-0.

Persing reached double figures in strikeouts for a sixth straight start, never surrendered multiple hits in an inning and improved to 11-0. She has struck out 135 in 62 innings pitched while allowing just 14 hits and four walks.

“I definitely was cautious that they saw me when we played them the last time but I knew if I could hit my spots I would do well,” Persing said. ” I expected myself to be decent and I kept working in the offseason because I couldn’t base anything off last year since we didn’t have one. But I’m definitely happy with where I’m at and I’m working to continue from here.”

Muncy 000 000 0–0 3 1

Montgomery 040 300 x–7 12 1

Nolah Moyer and Lily Frederick. Faith Persing and Shelby McRae. W–Persing, (11-0). L–Moyer, (6-3).

Top Muncy hitters: Rory Oden 1-3, 3B; Casey Fry 1-2, BB; Alaina Brelsford 1-3. Top Montgomery hitters: Morgan Tupper 3-4, RBI, run, SB; Persing 2-3, HR, 2B, 2 runs, RBI; Brynn McRae 2-4, 3B, RBI, run; Jenna Waring 2-3, RBI, run; Taylor McRae 1-3, run; Kaitlyn Raemsch 1-4, 2 RBIs; Shelby McRae 1-4.

Records: Montgomery (12-0, 10-0 Mid-Penn), Muncy (10-3, 10-2).

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