TAMAQUA – There's an old cliche that states "good things come in small packages."
That certainly proved to be the case in yesterday afternoon's Schuylkill League Division 3 tiebreaker between Marian and Mahanoy Area.
The Fillies, needing a win to advance to today's Schuylkill League playoffs, got their biggest hit from their smallest player, en route to a 4-1 victory over the Golden Bears.
Standing at just 5-3 and weighing just 102 pounds, sophomore Lindsay Nemeth muscled a two-run single in the bottom of the third inning to deep center field to give Marian its second straight Schuylkill League Division 3 championship.
The two teams split during the regular season with Mahanoy Area winning 11-0 and Marian answering back with a 3-0 victory.
The win advances the Fillies (11-9) to today's Schuylkill League semifinals, where they'll meet Division 1 champion Pottsville (19-1) at Blue Mountain's Patton Field at 7:00 p.m.
The Crimson Tide defeated Pine Grove 6-5 in 10 innings in yesterday's Division 1 tiebreaker.
The game began as a pitcher's duel between Marian's Bethany Schaud and Mahanoy Area's Ashley Hullihan.
Schaud retired the first nine Mahanoy Area batters and Hullihan held the Fillies hitless the first time through the batting order.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, leadoff hitter Gabby Cann walked and Sam Faust recorded the game's first hit with a bunt single.
Nemeth then stepped to the plate and blasted a double to deep center field to score Cann and Faust. Nemeth then came home on Abbey Hill's RBI-single to left field.
"I almost got in trouble with the umpire for calling timeout earlier in the at-bat," stated Nemeth. "Then I figured, oh my gosh, I better hit the ball or else I might be in trouble with my coaches. It was all or nothing and I just wanted to try to score us some runs."
"We know a lot of times that games are going to be tight and low scoring, so you wait for that opportunity to get the right people up to deliver the clutch hit," added Marian head coach Joe DeAngelo. "In that particular inning, we got some girls on base that are good base runners and obviously Lindsay and Abbey came through to get them in."
With a 3-0 lead, Marian began the fifth inning with a Faust infield slap single and she advanced to third on a two-base throwing error. Nemeth once again stepped up to the plate and delivered a clutch insurance run with a single to center to plate Faust.
Nemeth ended the day 2-for-2 with a run scored and three RBI. Her double was the game's lone extra-base hit. Faust also added two hits and two runs for the Fillies.
While Nemeth did a good job producing runs, freshman pitcher Bethany Schaud did an even better job preventing them.
Schaud retired 15 of the first 16 Golden Bears to step to the plate, with the lone exception being Amanda Kramer's leadoff single to begin the fourth inning.
Mahanoy Area's (11-9) lone run came in the sixth inning after Shaina Leshko reached base following a Marian throwing error and she later came around to score on a Kramer groundout.
Schaud finished the day allowing one unearned run on two singles. She struck out three, didn't walk a batter and induced 12 ground ball outs.
"For a freshman, she certainly kept her composure in a big-game atmosphere and she's gradually gotten better throughout the course of the year," lauded DeAngelo. "She relishes the opportunity to take control and lead her team."
Yesterday, she helped lead Marian right into the Schuylkill League playoffs.
Mahanoy Area 000 001 0 - 1 2 1
Marian 003 010 x - 4 6 1
Hullihan and Finneran; Schaud and Hill. W - Schaud. L - Hullihan.