DALLAS TWP. — Untested and out of her rhythm, Bailey Slacktish landed on her feet and let the defense do the work.
Slacktish received the call after Back Mountain coach Brent Berger decided to keep his ace — Sam Kern — in his pocket. Slacktish, who had not pitched since the league’s last regular season game, took the mound for the team’s biggest game of the season.
“Because you have to have a day’s rest and we kept (Kern) for tomorrow night if we needed it,” Berger said.
After a sloppy pair of innings to start the game, Back Mountain relied on its rookie pitcher and defense to claim the District 31 Little League major softball championship with a 7-4 victory over Northwest/Harveys Lake Tuesday at its home field.
Slacktish allowed one earned run in six innings to secure the championship. She struck out four and allowed five hits. Slacktish proved duly effective with runners in scoring position, stranding five.
“It was scary at first,” Slacktish said. “But halfway through the game, I felt better. People on my team kept encouraging me to pitch better.”
Her counterpart Abbey Hogan was equally effective. Hogan struck out 13 batters and did not allow an earned run. Errors and passed balls allowed Back Mountain to tack on seven runs.
Holding a one run lead, Back Mountain boosted its lead with two runs in the top of the sixth. Peyton Ross struck out with Cassandra Konopki on second, but an errant throw down the rightfield line allowed both Ross and Konopki to come around to score.
Errors hampered both teams with a total of five through the first two innings. Northwest/Harveys Lake scored three in the bottom of the first after Alicia Carr produced an RBI double.
“I don’t think the kids realized up until this point what they were playing for,” Berger said. “Once they realized it was the championship game, it was a little bit of nerve. We’ve been fielding the ball very well all tournament. It was a little bit of a struggle in the early innings.”
Konopki led Back Mountain with two hits and a triple. Korn produced the team’s lone RBI.
Carr hit safely in all three of her at-bats. Hogan and Brooke Harvey each produced a hit.
Back Mountain will host will the Section 5 softball championships on Tuesday.
“The difference for us was being fundamentally sound. In the late innings, us making outs when we could make outs was big for us.”
WP: Bailey Slacktish 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; LP: Abbey Hogan 6 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K
Top Hitters: BMT Cassandra Konopki 2-4 triple, Gianna Spacino 1-2, Sam Korn 1-2 RBI, Megan Bartan 1-2, Christina Schappert 1-2; NHL Alicia Carr 3-3 double, run, RBI; Abbey Hogan 1-3 run, Brooke Harvey 1-2 run