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Forest Hills routs River Valley on the back of Mylee Gdula’s 100th career hit in District 6 Class 3A softball quarterfinal

SIDMAN, Pa. – Mylee Gdula, Morgan Gdula and Avery Smiach shined for Forest Hills in Monday’s 13-3 mercy-rule victory over River Valley in the District 6 Class 3A softball quarterfinals.

Mylee Gdula went 4-for-4 with a pair of singles and triples, including her 100th career hit. The 2023 all-state selection also scored the Rangers’ winning run.

“She is a huge part of this team,” Forest Hills coach Krista Hershberger said of Mylee Gdula. “She’s dedicated to this game, and she’s dedicated to being a good teammate. She’s probably one of the best catchers I’ve ever had. She’s a beast back there.”

Morgan Gdula had a pair of base hits and a fourth-inning two-run homer over the left-field fence. Smiach allowed just four hits and three runs, with five strikeouts and back-to-back no-hit innings.

The Rangers seemed to be too much for the Panthers once they jumped to an 8-0 lead in the second inning. Mylee Gdula started Forest Hills’ scoring with a two-run triple in the first inning. A couple of infield errors from River Valley resulted in another run.

It was more of the same in the second inning.

After a strikeout to start the frame, Forest Hills tallied three more runs with the help of Ana Spangler’s two-run triple to deep right field. A sacrifice fly followed by an RBI double from Payton Pcola made it a near double-digit game early on.

Momentum shifted to River Valley’s side momentarily in the third inning as Ashley Pynos ripped one into the left-center field gap for a two-run double.

Isabella Speal then found the same spot for another double to drive in Pynos and cut the lead to five.

However, the Rangers kept the bats hot, with a single from Mylee Gdula to drive in two more runs. From there, Forest Hills pitching and defense took over. Smiach pitched consecutive 1-2-3 innings for Forest Hills, including two strikeouts during that stretch.

“The defense has been strong all season long,” Hershberger said. “If (Smiach) keeps coming out and throwing the way she is, then I think we’ll be able to keep rolling.”

In the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers were one run away from the victory as Mylee Gdula launched one through the right-center field gap for her second triple of the game and her 100th career hit. Forest Hills called a timeout, during which she was greeted with a poster from her team in celebration of the milestone.

She then beat a throw from second home to seal the win.

Despite the loss, River Valley coach Brock Harsh said his team has grown a lot this season and is focused on getting better.

“This game doesn’t show our growth,” Harsh said. “We came up short, fell kind of flat today. We have a lot of potential. We have a lot of good athletes on our team. The biggest thing is to just keep working hard and keep the team mentality going.”

The Rangers will host No. 5 seed Philipsburg-Osceola in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Thursday at G.H. Miller Memorial Field.