As badly as things transpired in the fifth inning Monday, Duryea/Pittston Township wasn’t about to concede a loss.
Those two costly errors. The suddenly alive Nanticoke bats. A two-run lead switched to a one-run deficit. None of that seemed to matter when DPT got its turn at the plate in the sixth.
DPT sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six times to win the District 16 Little League Major Softball title with a 9-4 victory over Nanticoke.
DPT, which finished undefeated in the double-elimination tournament, advances to the Section 5 tournament. It will play at the District 17 champ, which hasn’t been determined yet, at 5:30 p.m. on July 1.
“We were there last year, the 11-12’s,” DPT head coach Jeff Herbert said. “Our 9-10 team made it the last three years. This is all at least their second (trip to sectionals). For some it’s their third. And actually for some it’s their fourth.”
A return to sectionals looked likely as DPT held a 3-1 lead entering the fifth and pitcher Alexa McHugh was getting out Nanticoke batters on routine grounders for the most part. That changed in the fifth as a couple errors, a two-run single by Emilee Bobos and an RBI single by Abby Kotch gave Nanticoke a 4-3 lead.
Through the first four innings, Nanticoke had just one hit — an RBI double by Bobos.
“They were used to hitting me,” McHugh said. “It was their third time through the lineup.”
Kylie Herbert came on in relief to get the final out of the fifth. Then DPT went to work to regain the lead.
McHugh opened the sixth with an infield single, her third hit of the game. Kaehler Kivler tied the score 4-4 two batters later with an RBI single. Alexis Fortini brought home the go-ahead run by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“It stung,” said Fortini, who was hit in the hand. “But it was good to get on the base and go around.”
Fortini eventually crossed the plate, along with Bailey Loyack, on a throwing error on McHugh’s second at-bat of the inning. Lexi Felinski (sac fly) and Loyack (single) drove in runs earlier in the frame.
“It was very exciting,” McHugh said. “That’s all I have to say about it.”
Nanticoke managed to get runners on first and second with one out in the sixth, but couldn’t cut into the 9-4 deficit.
“The fifth inning was rough for us. Mistakes. Mental mistakes,” Herbert said. “But they were not giving up. They worked way too hard.”
The victory was DPT’s second over Nanticoke in the tournament. It topped Nanticoke 6-3 in the winners bracket finals last Thursday. DPT outscored its three opponents 27-6.