Mount Carmel first baseman Madison Ciaccio was still in search of her first home run against No. 29 Parkway on Monday, and she picked a perfect time to launch one.
Ciaccio’s three-run homer over the outstretched glove of the Panthers’ centerfielder put an exclamation point on fourth-seeded Mount Carmel’s 11-0 six-inning win during the opening round of the 5A playoffs at the JPRD Softball Complex.
“She jumped, so I thought she was going to take it from me,” said Ciaccio, who went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs. “It felt great because it was the first one of the season. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I knew if she was going to throw it over the plate that I was going to hit it. It’s the best feeling. I love my team.”
The District 9-5A champion Cubs (21-3) will take on No. 13 Pineville in the regional round later this week.
The Cubs jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs on three hits, two walks and an error in the first.
Macy Hornosky and Sam Dares walked, followed by Jordyn Perkins’ RBI single, which skipped under the right fielder’s glove, allowing Dares to score as well. Ciaccio and Addison Grundmeyer followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to make it 4-0.
“I think our team did a good job of picking our pitches,” said Hornosky (2-for-3, 2 RBIs). “We just wanted to keep it going. If we got runners on, everybody was trying to hit us around. It’s a nice win, but we just have to keep coming out and playing hard.”
In the fourth, Savanna Orgeron (2-for-3) opened with an infield single, stole second and scored on Hornosky’s RBI single. Foto followed with an RBI double to right to make it 6-0.
The Cubs put the game away in the sixth with back-to-back one-out, RBI doubles by Hornosky and Caleigh Foto before Ciaccio’s three-run blast ended the game.
Mount Carmel starter Shelby Wickersham got the win, pitching six scoreless innings. She allowed four hits and two walks while striking out three and stranding seven Panthers.
“I was a little bit nervous at first, but I just started throwing strikes,” Wickersham said. “They put the ball in play, and we started making the plays we needed to. (Having a lead) makes my job a lot easier, and to know that my teammates are behind me working the bats is the best feeling ever.”
For Parkway (12-13), Allie Hunt took the loss, allowing 11 runs on 11 hits and four walks. Madelyn Elliott went 2-for-3 with a stolen base to lead the offense.
Mount Carmel coach Jake Pierron said his team is focused on a return trip to Sulphur.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” he said. “We set some goals at the beginning of the season, and ultimately our main goal is to win a state championship. We just have to play each game one day at the time.”