MORRIS — Opponents would be wise not to count out the Morris softball team in any game. They would also be advised to be wary of every player in the Providence Catholic lineup.
Both proved true Friday afternoon as the Celtics connected for three home runs and collected 12 hits in a 9-6 non-conference win over the Redskins, who themselves ralled from a 9-4 deficit entering the bottom of the seventh to bring the tying run to the plate before making the final out.
Providence (8-4) wasted no time in taking the early advantage en route to its eighth straight win. The Celtics' Lex Leighton slugged a three-run homer over the center-field fence in the top of the first for a 3-0 lead.
Morris, however, had an answer. Kennedy Dransfeldt led off with a walk and went all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Abbey Moore when third base was left unattended. Ashley Phelps grounded to short to score Dransfeldt to make it 3-1 before Rachel Trader hit an infield single and Claire Gugerty took a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer to tie it at 3.
"Providence beat us last year in the regular season and in the regional," Morris coach Jen Bamonte said. "They have most of their players back from that team, and a lot of teams would have seen them go up 3-0 in the top of the first and put their heads down and gone through the motions.
"Our girls said, 'Nope,' and came right back and tied it. There is no quit in this team."
The Redskins (10-9) took the lead in the bottom of the second when Gigi Corban led off with a triple to right and scored on a wild pitch.
The Providence power showed itself again in the top of the fourth when Claudia Utz, the eighth hitter in the lineup, hit a solo home run to left-center to tie it at 4,
The game remained that way until the top of the sixth, when Providence erupted for five runs. Winning pitcher Nicole Mucha, batting ninth in the lineup, hit a two-run triple to left, then scored on a single by leadoff hitter Teagan Sopczak. The next hitter, Taylor Young, slugged a two-run homer to center for a 9-4 Celtics lead.
"We have been hitting the ball well in our eight-game win streak," Providence coach Jay Biesterfield said. "We have 10 different players on the team with at least one home run, so we can hit up and down the lineup."
Morris rallied in the bottom of the seventh. An RBI double by Phelps and an RBI single by Gugerty made it 9-6 with runners on first and third and one out, but Providence reliever Layla Summers retired the final two batters to end the game.
"I am proud of our girls," Bamonte said. "We were right there with one of the top teams in the state."