McCartney drives Canon-McMillan into state softball finals
One could almost hear the “One Shining Moment” song playing in the background as Michele Moeller spoke about Abby McCartney and how her right fielder launched Canon-McMillan into the PIAA state finals.
McCartney smacked a two-run homer in the sixth and a run-scoring double in the first frame to pace the Lady Macs to victory, 3-1, over Pennsbury in a semifinal softball game played at Carlisle.
“I say all the time,” Moeller began, “Big-time players shine in big-time moments. We don’t shy away from them. We relish them.”
Regardless of how much pain the players are in, the Lady Macs rise to the occasion. McCartney certainly did. After tweaking her ankle and knee attempting to slide home in the fourth frame, McCartney crushed the game-winning round tripper with Linda Rush aboard with a single to start the sixth stanza.
“Yaszmin Kotar called my home run. She said that I’d have to win one so I wouldn’t have to sprint,” McCartney said with a laugh. “The pitch was right in my zone. It felt right, right off the bat.”
Because she waited for her pitch, the home run came says Moeller.
“Even the last game she got more patient and wasn’t jumping out on the pitches,” she explained. “But, we were worried about her because she jammed her knee and ankle. There were tears and pain but Abby kept saying ‘I can go’. But it was inning by inning.”
The Lady Macs, who improved to 24-1 overall, knew they were in for a game as Pennsbury featured a handful of Division I recruits, three of whom are bound for LaSalle. Plus, the Falcons, like C-M played in last year’s state semifinals. Two years ago, they were state runners-up.
“We scouted them and we knew there weren’t going to be many strikeouts for Alayna,” Moeller explained.
Astuto struck out three, scattered six hits and walked one. She gave up an unearned run in the fifth.
The Lady Macs also walked once, struck out twice and slugged eight hits, three by Kotar in the lead-off spot. Kotar led off the game with a base hit, moved to second on a sacrifice by Engle and scored on McCartney’s double.
“Even on that first run, Yazmin set the tone,” Moeller said. “She did what had to be done.”
By winning, what Canon-Mac has accomplished is a first in the program’s history. The Lady Macs will play in the state final set for June 14 at Penn State University.
“We are ready to go to states,” McCartney said. “Amazing,” she added of the feat.
Moeller, meanwhile, was speechless. She said she could not put into words what she was feeling.
“This is a small part of their life and they will all go on and do big things, but this is something that they will never forget. They will always remember what they did here with their team and their friends. This is special. A great feeling,” she concluded.