Tunkhannock is quickly establishing itself as one of the top threats at the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon.
Two days into the tournament, Tunkhannock has one of the two 2-0 teams in the 10-team field. There are also two teams that are 1-0 and have already had a bye.
After pounding Prague, Czech Republic, 17-0, in 2 ½ innings in Thursday’s late game, Tunkhannock is the highest-scoring team in the tournament. It is also one of just two that has not been scored upon.
Tunkhannock is 2-0 to lead Pool A, one of two five-team pools in which teams will play four round-robin games to try to advance to the quarterfinals and to gain the highest possible seeds for the bracket play.
The 2-0 start virtually assures Tunkhannock of advancing into the quarterfinals. The only way that wouldn’t happen would be a five-way tie with 2-2 records and Tunkhannock somehow coming out worst in the tiebreaker.
Tunkhannock put itself in that position by following up Wednesday’s tense, 2-0 win over Victoria, British Columbia, the Canadian champion, with a rout of the Europe-Africa Region champions, who are making a return trip to the tournament.
Ella McNeff, from the leadoff spot, and Paige Marabell, as the clean-up hitter, led a potent offense.
McNeff went 3-for-3 with a double, triple, three runs and three RBI. Marabell also drove in three runs, on a bases-loaded double to the fence, finishing her second straight two-hit game and scoring twice.
Kaya Hannon continued to baffle opposing hitters from the circle.
Hannon needed her 14th strikeout with the potential tying runs in scoring position to finish off Wednesday’s two-hitter. In the shortened game Thursday night, she allowed just one hit while striking out seven of nine batters.
Tunkhannock won the game in the shortest possible time, invoking the three-inning, 15-run rule without having to bat in the bottom of the third. It scored nine times in the first inning and eight in the second, sending 13 runners to the plate in each inning.
Piper Robinson came off the bench to provide a two-run single in the second inning as 12 of the team’s 13 players either scored or drove in a run.
Elaina Kulsicavage, Sydney Huff and Hannon each scored twice.
Hannon faced the minimum nine hitters.
Rebeka Wenclova led off the top of the third inning with a single, but Tunkhannock catcher Cali Wisnosky threw her out stealing as part of a double play with a Hannon strikeout.
Tunkhannock plays again at 7 p.m. Friday against Southeast champion Daniel Boone from Gray, Tennessee. Daniel Boone is 0-2 after losing, 7-2, to Victoria, British Columbia Thursday.
Tunkhannock’s final pool play opponent will be West champion Kirkland, Wash. Saturday at noon. Kirkland defeated Daniel Boone, 9-5, Wednesday and is the pool’s other unbeaten at 1-0.
Victoria is 1-1 and Prague is 0-1 in Pool A.
Pool B is led by Eastbank, the Southwest Region champion from River Ridge, La., which is the only other 2-0 team.
Wheelersburg, Ohio, the Central champion, and the only team besides Tunkhannock that has not been scored on, is 1-0. It defeated the Latin American Region champion from Monterrey, Mexico, 9-0, Wednesday.