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NTL SOFTBALL: NORTH PENN-LIBERTY D4 TITLE DEFENSE STARTS WITH WIN OVER HUGHESVILLE (2024-05-22)

Northern Tier WEST Sports Report
MANSFIELD, PA — Defending District 4 champ and top-seeded North Penn-Liberty used a two-hit shutout by Mackenzi Tice to down the No. 8 seed Hughesville Spartans 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs here Wednesday. 

Tice walked just one batter and struck out six as the Mounties didn’t allow a Hughesville runner past 2nd base, keeping an early 1-0 lead safe as the Mounties struggled to find many gaps in the Hughesville defense.

Liberty has routinely racked up double-digit base hits throughout their 18-0 season, and they had 13 against the same Hughesville pitcher they faced early in the season, but despite consistently putting the ball in play Wednesday they’d collect just six base hits. 

“You cant hit the ball much better than we did today,” said Liberty Head Coach Jason Chapel, “It felt like they had 20 girls on defense. But Mackenzi was great, the defense played well and we only struck out twice in 26 at-bats .. I told the girls I would take a game like that every night .. win or lose.”

The Mounties struck early as Tice led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a walk and stole 2nd base before Megan Spohn drove her in with a single. The 1st frame also revealed a common theme throughout the rest of the game as the Mounties had three hard-hit balls all go for outs as they settled for the one run lead.

Spohn finished 3-for-3 with an RBI, while Haley Litzelman had a double, Mckenna Lightner had a hit, Maddie Smith scored a run and Addie Smith had a hit and scored a run. 

In the bottom of the 6th, Spohn singled and Maddie Smith pinch ran and eventually scored .. along with Addie Smith, who singled .. on a Hughesville error off the bat of Payton Chapel. 

Tice would cruise through the Spartans’ final at-bat and the Mounties claimed the playoff win. 

Chapel is thankful for the competitive, first-round playoff game. 

“We’d rather play a game like that than win 10-0 and the girls don’t stress at all,” says Chapel, “They need tough games to mentally prepare for the next one.”

The next one is scheduled for Friday at Elm Park when the Mounties face Midd-West at 5:00 p.m. in the Class 3A semifinals.
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