Sometimes it is easy to say that one player is the difference, but in this case the math supports it. Phillips scored two of the team's four runs in the 4-2 victory.
She also got an error riddled RBI and on defense scooped up a pair of grounders in the top of the sixth, then threw accoss the diamond for the outs that secured the win.
She, of course wasn't the only player who did well in the game, but what a game she had.
Both of these teams are matched evenly and they are very familiar with one another. Many play on the same travel ball team and they faced each other in the first game of the tournament that Titusville won 6-3.
Today's matchup pitted Abigail Mawhinney, the architect of last years MEC district dominance, against Nora Lesko, who MEC coach Ashleigh Phillips has great respect.
Both pitchers are very good and both were tested early.
Titusville drew first blood in the top of the first when Lesko walked to lead off and aggressively made her way to home plate stealing and reacting to passed balls.
But Mawhinney stayed cool and despite walking three batters in the inning, got out of it only down one.
Titusville wouldn't touch the plate again until the fourth inning when Mackenzie Yokum reached on a bobbled ball by the shortstop, stole a base and then reached third on a fielder's choice. She then also scored the in the same fashion - a passed ball.
MEC answered in the bottom of the first inning when Mackenzie Gerow ended up on first on an error. Then Phillips bunted to advance Gerow and the throw to first went awry allowing Gerow to round the bases and Phillips ended up on third.
Lesko, like Mawhinney didn't get rattled. With a runner on first facing Mawhinney, who is a pretty solid hitter, Lesko was able to snag a liner right back at her and then convert the double play by catching the runner off second base. She then took a grounder and threw the final batter out of the first and getting out of a rough inning only down a run.
Yocum then scored on a passed ball.
Then, perhaps the play of the game came when Aundraya Sibble absolutely crushed a ball right at Hadley Frayer at first base. After the ball got by her, Frayer turned to look at the ball headed toward right field and saw that her second baseman Taylor Jordan was backing her up. Frayer made her way to first to get the toss from Jordan to end the inning and put a halt to any additional scoring.
In the fourth inning, Phillips scored after making the most of reaching first base an a nice base hit. She then made it to third after Reese bunted and, on the fielder's choice, Phillips went to second. Noticing no one was covering third she then dashed toward the open base and made it.
She then scored on a wild pitch.
"We came out today and played to win," said MEC coach Ashleigh Phillips. Her squad is made up of seven players from last years District 1 championship team. That experience played a key role in their finding a way back into the championship game. They lost the opening round game to Titusville last week. They then battled back to reach today's finals. "I am so proud of these girls, because when you go in and lose your first game - it pulls you down. But we have worked hard in practice, I continue to tell them about life lessons, perseverance, just doing the job and just come out here and do your best."
Titusville's coach Randy Baker also knows these two teams are on par with each other as they enter Saturday's for it all game. "Whoever makes the least amount of errors is the team that will win in the end."
Baker's team got past MEC 6-3 in the opening round and then took out the conglomerate of Saegertown, Conneaut Lake, Cambridge and Saegertown 8-2. After Friday's loss they still have a shot at the banner and the two teams meet again for the marbles.
"We had an idea we’d see these guys in the finals and was looking forward to it. They are a good team." Baker said.
Phillips said today was about solid softball for her squad. "Big plays and we were able to seal the deal and we’re going to come back tomorrow and play our game."
The two teams face each other for the District 1 banner Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at Cochranton High School.