Brown, Jayne lead Wyalusing past Holy Cross.

By: Brett R. Crossley | Towanda Daily Review | June 5, 2018 | Photo courtesy Brett R. Crossley

Brown, Jayne lead Wyalusing past Holy Cross.

TURBOTVILLE—In the biggest moment of Wyalusing’s season, head coach John Loomis looked to his bench to finish the winning moments in the opening round of the PIAA Class A Softball playoffs.

Moments after a single by Madalyn Valoroso put the winning run on first, Loomis called to the dugout and asked for Daphne Fassett.Fassett moved the runner to second with a bunt and Catherine Brown came through with a hit to give (4-1) Wyalusing a 2-1 win over (2-1) Holy Cross.

The win advances Wyalusing to play the winner of Conwell Egan and Bristol. The game is slated for Thursday at a time and place yet to be named.

As for Monday’s opening round game, it was the combination of a freshman pitcher, a perfectly put down bunt by a pinch hitter, and a pinch-runner being ready when her number was called that helped the Rams advance.

“We’ve bunted the ball well all season,” Loomis said. “I’m really proud of these kids. The sub came off the bench and moved the runner. A pinch runner came in and did her job.”

With a pinch-runner and a pinch-hitter getting everything setup for the Rams, it came down to Brown, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup. Brown, the DP in the lineup, drove the first offering of her at bat deep into centerfield, allowing the run to score.

The Rams’ offense held a brief lead in the game after Sarah Bird scored in the fourth inning. She reached base on a walk and moved around off a single from Hailey Jayne and a bunt from Valoroso.

For Jayne, the game was just another chapter in an already brilliant career. She’s a freshman, but came up big for her team on multiple occasions against Holy Cross, which eliminated the Rams last season.

“It’s been awhile since Wyalusing was winning an advancing in the state tournament,” Jayne said. “Last year we played Holy Cross and they pounded us. We came back this year and got our revenge. It feels so good.”

Jayne struck out 11 batters in her first state playoff game. She ended the first and second innings with strikeouts and she scattered six hits and was tagged for just one run against Holy Cross.

“It’s a little bit of pressure and that’s alright,” Jayne said. “I have faith in my defense. They scored a run and we came in and just smacked the ball.”

The offense came through in the bottom of the seventh, but the day belonged to the defense as Jayne and company kept Holy Cross in check throughout the game.

The defense turned a double play in the first inning and Jayne retired Holy Cross in order to end the second inning. In the seventh, an inning after Holy Cross tied the game at one, Jayne struck out two batters and forced a foul out to the catcher.

“She did a great job for us today,” Loomis said. “She kept the ball down. She kept them off balance all day and our defense played really well. This kid is only a freshman, but she’s battled tested. She did a terrific job.”

Wyalusing survived a tight game to open the PIAA Tournament, but it surely won’t be the last. The Rams played in tight games all season and it has helped the young team grow and stay strong.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year and she’s used to that pressure,” Loomis said. “She played a lot of summer and has a lot of experience for a freshman. The defense was very solid and they did a good job.”