St. Mary's of Lancaster rode a big inning and a gargantuan one to capture its second Monsignor Martin Association softball championship in three years.
The Lancers defeated Mount Mercy, 14-7, Wednesday afternoon at Sunshine Park in a clash between regular-season league co-champions that took nearly 2.5 hours to complete.
An estimated crowd of more than 300 watched St. Mary's rebound from a 1-0 deficit in a big way in the third inning by scoring four runs. The big blow came off the bat of freshman Ava Miller, who crushed a three-run homer to left center. Earlier in the inning, Riley Malicki's fielder's choice grounder on what appeared to be a contact play scored Sarah Hapeman from third.
Leading 5-2 after six, the Lancers put up a nine-spot in their half of the seventh, putting together an inning that featured seven hits and three walks. Senior and league player of the year Erin Hufford hit a three-run double as St. Mary's (14-4) sent 14 batters to the plate.
With the victory, the Lancers advance to the state Catholic final four Tuesday in New York City.
Miller finished 4 for 5, singling twice during the seventh-inning eruption and driving in two runs. Maggie Kellner went 2 for 2 with two walks and three runs scored. Hufford, a holdover from the Lancers' last championship, finished 1 for 4 and recorded the final two outs to preserve the win for starting pitcher Mackenzie Suto.
Emily Lewandowski went 2 for 4 with a homer for Mount Mercy (8-3).
— Miguel Rodriguez (@miggyrod33) May 24, 2017