BY TYLER PICCOTTI
THROOP – Old Forge pitcher Kim Regan was in a position she’d dreamed about since she first walked onto the field as a Lady Devil.
She took the mound with the District 2 Class A crown hanging in the balance.
So much for having jitters during her first performance on the big stage.
The senior went the distance and surrendered only two hits as Old Forge defeated Lackawanna Trail, 6-1, to win the district title Wednesday at Mid Valley High School.
The Lady Devils will now face the District 4 champion, to be determined today, in the state playoffs.
“It means everything to me,” Regan said. “I’ve always wanted this.”
The Old Forge ace was in command all afternoon. She finished with 13 strikeouts, and struck out the side to end the game.
“This is the best performance she’s had since she has been with us,” Old Forge head coach Pat Revello said. “She really pitched well, and I hope it carries on into states.”
The Lady Devils (9-7) took a two-run lead in the top of the first. Lauren Carey worked a leadoff walk and scored when Taylor Nemetz tripled off the right-field wall. Tori Tansley grounded to short to plate Nemetz.
Two more hitters reached base, but Lady Lions starter Brianna Smarkusky settled down and retired five straight to limit the early damage.
By that point, however, Regan had all the offensive support she would need.
“It was great to get that out of our system,” Revello said in reference to the early lead. “Coming out and scoring those two runs helped a lot.”
The Lady Lions (10-6) answered with their only run in the second inning. Taryn Matti singled, and a wild throw on the play allowed courtesy runner Janine Strauch to score from third.
Lackawanna Trail could only muster just one hit the rest of the way.
“We wanted to come out aggressive, but obviously not that aggressive,” Trail head coach John Brander said. “Regan did an excellent job the entire game and got us to swing at some bad ones.”
Old Forge, meanwhile, was able to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
After plating two in the third inning, the Lady Devils added another tally in the fourth to give their hurler extra breathing room.
Kayla Florovito led off the frame with a single. Advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt, she scored thanks to an errant throw after Carey’s bunt single.
“We all worked really well together,” Regan said. “Everyone hit the ball and was solid.”
The four-run cushion allowed Regan to cruise through the rest of the game.
She struck out eight batters over the last four frames, including the final five she faced. Her only blemishes during that span were a walk in the fourth and a one-out double by Cameron Crock in the sixth.
However, a visit from Tansley and the rest of the infield made sure that Regan would encounter no further threats following the extra-base hit.
“She (Tansley) just told me to calm down,” she said. “Then I relaxed and everything worked out fine.”