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Westmont tops Juniata 8-7

MIFFLINTOWN – The road through the post season was cut short for the Juniata girls softball team Thursday after running into a very opportunistic Westmont Hilltop team, falling 8-7.

However, what might be remembered in this game by the Indians fans and the team itself is how the team rallied for four runs in their final two at bats to almost tie the game and send it into extra innings.

What proved to be the game winner for the Hilltoppers was a late seventh inning launch of a solo homerun by leadoff hitter Alyssa Miller, putting her team up at the time 8-5.

“They fought hard until the very end. They never quit,” Juniata manager Brian Schaeffer said. “They never quit even when they had some rough innings in between. We hit the ball tonight. I feel really bad for our girls. They are a great group of kids.”

Leading the way offensively for the Hilltoppers were Alyssa Miller (3-for-4) and Lauren Crisswell 2-for-3.

Juniata got top hitting performances from Kristen Pray (2-for-4), Victoria Cisney (3-for-4), Summer Swab 2-for-3 and Maddie Zendt (2-for-4).

The Indians got the game off and going on the right foot, posting two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Leadoff hitter, Kristen Pray roped out shot out into the outfield and blazed her way around the bases finishing with an inside-the-park homerun, making it 1-0.

Cisney followed with a single. Cisney was replaced by pinch runner Emilee Wagner. Wagner moved to second on a Micheh Horning sacrifice bunt. Wagner moved on from second and third to score Juniata’s second run via two wild pitches.

Westmont cut the lead in half, plating its first run in the top of the second. Its defense held in the bottom of the inning, keeping the score 2-1.

In the top of the third, Juniata kept the Westmont bats silent.

Pray led off the third with her second base hit of the game, smacking a liner up the middle. Cisney followed with a hit, placing runners on the corners.

After a stolen base by Cisney, Summer Swab picked up an RBI single that allowed Pray to score.

The wheels start to fall off for the Indians in the fourth and fifth inning as the Hilltoppers combined to score seven runs in the two innings, putting them in the lead for the first time, 8-3.

Miller and Tessa Weeks highlighted the two innings with both picking up doubles.

After going scoreless in the fourth and fifth, Juniata started their climb back to the lead, posting two runs in both innings.

Megan Shoop led off the fifth inning hustling out an infield single. Teammate Maddie Zendt followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on first and second. Shoop scored when a simple fly was caught and thrown to first for a double play. However, the ball sailed wide, allowing Shoop to score and Zendt to go from first to third.

Zendt made it 7-5 when she scored on a wild pitch by Westmont pitcher Kaylee Grassmyer.

Despite the two run advantage, Westmont’s Miller roped a towering homerun, upping the lead to 8-5.

Seeing that the season was hanging in the balance, the Indians made one last run at the lead.

With one out, Horning reached base on an error by the leftfielder. Swab once again laid down a picture perfect bunt, setting the stage for Maddie Zendt.

Facing a two out situation, Zendt was clutch under pressure unloading a 2-run single, cutting the Westmont lead to 8-7.

However, it was too little too late as Westmont was able to stop the Indians’ drive just a run short, ending Juniata’s season in District 6 action.

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