D2 softball: Walsh delivers lone run as Tunkhannock moves into 4A final

By Paul Sokoloski - psokoloski@timesleader.com
Tunkhannock starter Hope Jones delivers a pitch against Wyoming Area in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. -
Tunkhannock lead-off hitter Faith Jones bunts her way on base on a pitch from Wyoming Area’s Gwen Glatz in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal game Tuesday in Tunkhannock. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock’s Erin Dunn dives safey back to the bag ahead of the tag by Wyoming Area first baseman Cassidy Graham in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Wyoming Area starter Gwen Glatz delivers a pitch against Tunkhannock in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock’s Gina Walsh watches her drive against Wyoming Area in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

TUNKHANNOCK — As a freshman entering a team with a loaded lineup, Gina Walsh didn’t have much of a role last year in Tunkhannock’s run to the state softball championship game.

She may be the biggest reason the Tigers now have a chance to duplicate that success this time around.

Walsh bounced a two-out single past shortstop to bring home Hope Jones with the game’s only run in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday, pushing Tunkhannock past Wyoming Area 1-0 in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal at Tunkhannock High School.

“I was really just thinking my team needed me to come through with a big hit,” Walsh said. “We needed someone to do it. I wanted to be that person.”

The victory gives Tunkhannock a chance to defend its District 2 Class 4A championship against Nanticoke Area at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Wilkes University, but maybe more importantly, clinches a spot in the PIAA tournament for the Tigers.

“It feels good,” Tunkhannock coach Bob Hegedty said. “We lost some really good kids last year. We’re happy to be going back to the district championship and the state playoffs.”

To get there, Tunkhannock to win a classic pitchers’ duel with the Warriors in the district semifinals,after the two teams split two games during the Wyoming Valley Conference season.

Wyoming Area pitcher Gwen Glatz was outstanding, allowing only two bunt singles and Gab Roote’s double off the left field wall through five scoreless innings.

Meanwhile, Hope Jones retired Wyoming Area’s first 10 batters, allowed only two hits through her six innings and didn’t allow a runner past first base.

“Two really good teams playing it out,” Jones said. “Gwen threw great. We played them numerous times, we know what their batters like to hit.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Tunkhannock finally broke through.

Barely.

Hope Jones began the rally with a sinking, one-out line drive that fell just in front of Wyoming Area’s hard-charging right fielder for a single.

“As I was running down to first, I was like, ‘She might catch it,’” Jones said. “It got just under her glove, thankfully. I told my teammates in the dugout, ‘We need to get a run this inning.’”

After Hailey Farr sacrificed Jones to second base, Kendra Schultz was intentionally walked. Then Walsh wiggled a high-hopping single just to the left of diving shortstop Bri Pizzano and into center field.

“It was a huge moment at that point of the game,” Walsh said. “We didn’t want to go extra innings.”

Running hard as soon as Walsh made contact, Jones easily beat a strong throw to the plate and the Tigers had the winning run.

“She’s got ice in her veins,” Hegedty said of Jones. “That kid is as cool as they come. Couple hits have eyes, next thing you know you’re scoring a run.”

Jones wasn’t about to stop running.

“With two outs in a scoreless game, you’ve got to go on that,” Jones said. “Even if coach didn’t send me (home), no question, I’m going.”

Wyoming Area didn’t go home quietly.

The Warriors began the seventh inning against Tigers closer Kendra Schultz with a walk to Glatz — who fouled off seven two-strike pitches to reach base — and Kristi Skok’s looping single to left. But with the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base, Schultz struck out the next three batters in succession to wrap up a spot in the district finals and in states.

“I think being a part of this team, it’s amazing,” Walsh said. “I’m just trying my hardest. I think we can go far.”

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 4A SEMIFINALS

Tunkhannock 1, Wyoming Area 0

Wyoming Area`AB`R`H`BI

Pizzano ss`3`0`1`0

Silinskie cf`3`0`0`0

Glatz p`2`0`1`0

Skok 3b`3`0`1`0

Parente c`3`0`0`0

Kopetchny lf`3`0`0`0

Melberger 2b`3`0`0`0

Graham 1b`0`0`0`0

Karcutskie rf`2`0`0`0

Totals`22`0`3`0

Tunkhannock`AB`R`H`BI

F. Jones ss`2`0`1`0

Simmons 3b`3`0`0`0

H. Jones p-2b`3`1`1`0

Farr c`2`0`0`0

Schultz 2b-p`1`0`0`0

Walsh cf`2`0`1`1

Quick 1b`2`0`0`0

Larioni lf`0`0`0`0

Roote dp`2`0`1`0

Dunn rf`2`0`1`0

Totals`19`1`5`1

Wyoming Area`000`000`0 — 0

Tunkhannock`000`001`x — 1

2B — Roote.

Wyoming Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Glatz, L`6`5`1`1`1`3

Tunkhannock`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

H. Jones, W`6`2`0`0`0`3

Schultz, S`1`1`0`0`1`3

Tunkhannock starter Hope Jones delivers a pitch against Wyoming Area in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL053018Tunk-WASB_2.jpgTunkhannock starter Hope Jones delivers a pitch against Wyoming Area in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock.

Tunkhannock lead-off hitter Faith Jones bunts her way on base on a pitch from Wyoming Area’s Gwen Glatz in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal game Tuesday in Tunkhannock.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL053018Tunk-WASB_1.jpgTunkhannock lead-off hitter Faith Jones bunts her way on base on a pitch from Wyoming Area’s Gwen Glatz in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal game Tuesday in Tunkhannock. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Tunkhannock’s Erin Dunn dives safey back to the bag ahead of the tag by Wyoming Area first baseman Cassidy Graham in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL053018Tunk-WASB_4.jpgTunkhannock’s Erin Dunn dives safey back to the bag ahead of the tag by Wyoming Area first baseman Cassidy Graham in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Wyoming Area starter Gwen Glatz delivers a pitch against Tunkhannock in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL053018Tunk-WASB_3.jpgWyoming Area starter Gwen Glatz delivers a pitch against Tunkhannock in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Tunkhannock’s Gina Walsh watches her drive against Wyoming Area in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL053018Tunk-WASB_5.jpgTunkhannock’s Gina Walsh watches her drive against Wyoming Area in a District 2 Class 4A softball semifinal Tuesday in Tunkhannock. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Paul Sokoloski

psokoloski@timesleader.com

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski