Kait Constantino And Tori Vega Close Out Scholastic Softball Careers In D9 North/South Softball Challenge (07/16/20)

(All photos by Kim Constantino) Above Clarion Area’s Kait Constantino and Tori Vega one final hurrah together in D9 North/South Softball Challenge. Kait pitched in game one and played first in game two, Tori played the outfield in game one and played third in game two. Great job girls!

Chris Rossetti shares this fine article for Clarion Sports Zone readers:

(By Chris Rossetti) 

DuBOIS, Pa. – The last time we saw Kait Constantino take the circle in a high school softball game she was nearly unhittable. 

But that was back in the late Spring of 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic cost Costantino – and every other high school softball player in the country – her senior season.

What it didn’t cost the former Clarion Lady Cat was her dominance, however. 

Constantino was as good as ever in Game One of the inaugural District 9 North/South Softball Challenge at Heindl Field in DuBois.

The Grove City-bound righty gave up two unearned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out 13 in a six-inning game that also saw her drive in the winning run in the bottom of the sixth with a double down the down the left-field line in the South’s 3-2 walk-off win over the North. 

Kait in the circle in game one

Constantino had a pair of hits in the game and was only robbed of another RBI when the North squad made a nice play at the plate to cut off Clearfield’s Alyssa Twigg from scoring in the bottom of the third inning. 

But she wasn’t robbed in the sixth. 

After the North scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth on a double-steal following a strike out for the second out of the inning, former DuBois Central Catholic star Jordy Kosko got the ball rolling for the South in the bottom of the inning when she singled to left and then stole second.

DCC’s Jordy Kosko sliding in to second

That brought up Constantino, and she delivered the game-winning hit down the line in left.

The South, which also won Game Two 8-6 – Constantino played first base in that contest – had taken a 2-0 lead in the first game with both runs coming in the aforementioned fourth inning. 

Kosko drove in both runs with a single to center that scored Clearfield’s Kyra Mollora and Punxsutawney’s Holly Hartman. 

Tori camping under a fly ball in the outfield

Mollora got the inning started reaching on an error, and Hartman and Twigg drew back-to-back walks off of Kane’s Rachel Danielson to load the bases with no outs.

Danielson nearly worked out of the jam striking out Brockway’s Katie McMeekin and then getting Brockway’s Mackenzie Overbeck to foul out to third baseman Hannah Barnett, who made a nice play up against the fencing. 

But Kosko picked her teammates up with the base hit to center to make it 2-0. 

The North got a run back in the fourth when Maddie Bowes doubled to left and then scored on a two-base error on the third baseman when it looked like she was going to get caught stealing third base only to have the ball go through the glove on the fielder and into left field allowing Bowes, who is from St. Marys, to score. 

After the Bowes double, Constantino struck out the next four North batters she faced. 

But with the South clinging to the 2-1 lead going to the sixth – both games were played to six innings instead of the normal seven in high school softball – Bowes drew a one-out walk and then Maura Fledderman followed with a base hit to left that saw Bowes got to third on an error.

Constantino came back and struck out Barnett, but Fledderman took off for second on the play and when Madison Stonebreaker from Punxsutawney, who was catching, threw late to second Bowes sprinted home to tie the game. 

In the second game, the South used a six-run second inning to build an 8-1 lead and then held off a late North rally that saw the northerners scored three times in the bottom of the sixth, to get the 8-6 win. 

The big hit in the second inning was a bases-loaded single to right field by DuBois graduate Maddie Ho that turned into a “Little League” grand slam when the right fielder had the ball go by her for a three-base error. Shay Gulvas, a DCC grad, then added a two-run single later in the inning to make it 8-1. 

Maddie Ho safe at the plate

Gulvas drove in the game’s first run with a triple to left in the top of the first scoring Kosko, who had started the game with a bunt single.  Stonebreaker then drove home Gulvas with a grounder that an error was committed on to make it 2-0 the South.

The North got a run back in the bottom of the first when it loaded the bases against Karns City grad Logan Byers with no out on a single, a walk and a hit batter. Byers then hit St. Marys’ Megan McMakin to drive in the North’s first run. 

But the South caught a break when Britney Shaw tried to score on a wild pitch only to have Stonebreaker beat Shaw to the plate for the tag out.

Then, after Bowes, walked to reload the bases, Byers got a foul out and a pop out to limit the damage. 

Karns City’s Logan Byers in the circle during game two

Down 8-1, the North tried to mount a comeback scoring single runs in the second and fourth to make it 8-3. 

In the second, ECC grad Maddie Taylor reached second on an infield single and a throwing error before going to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a single to center by St. Marys grad Tessa Grotzinger.

Then in the fourth, Grotzinger scored on a two-out single to left by Johnsonburg grad Maria Jones to make it 8-3. 

Kait at the plate

The game remained 8-3 until the sixth when the north took advantage of a pair of South errors to make things interesting. 

With two outs, Shaw singled to left and went to third when the ball got past the left fielder. She then scored when a fly ball to left by Jones clanked off the glove of the left fielder with Jones going to second. 

McMackin and Bowes followed with back-to-back doubles to left and left-center respectively to make it 8-6 brining up Barnett as the tying run.

But Byers bore down and struck out Barnett looking to secure the sweep. 

Tori hauling in a fly ball at third

Constantino, who played first base in the second game, was 0-for-3 at the plate but did reach base twice – once on a fielder’s choice and once on an error. 

Clarion grad Tori Vega also played in the games going 0-for-2 in both contests. 

The game was organized by St. Marys assistant coach Chris Shaw with the help of DCC manager George Heigle and the teams were picked with the help of a number of District 9 coaches. 

Combined North and South Squads

The DuBois Little League helped in making sure the game could be played Wednesday by moving its originally scheduled Little League contest. 

While there was no admission charge, donations were collected at the gates for the United Way, and it was announced that $400 was raised. 

South Squad

(Thanks to Chris Rossetti for contributing this fine article and to Kim Constantino for her usual super photos, CSZ appreciates both of you for your hard work and for all you do for the area’s athletes. Congratulations to Kait and Tori and all the other girls, on concluding your fine careers in this first ever D9 North/South Softball Challenge!!!!)

North Squad