STRATTANVILLE Dominant.

That's the word that undeniably came to the minds of many of those in attendance on Friday night at Clarion-Limestone High School as the Clarion softball team squared off against Allegheny-Clarion Valley in the District 9 Class 1A semifinals and with good reason.

How else could you describe a 14-strikeout, zero-walk performance by Bobcats' right-handed hurler Kait Constantino?

In the end, that effort was more than enough to launch Clarion into the title contest with a 5-1 victory over the Falcons for the right to advance.

"Before this game, we've had four shutouts in five games and only allowed two earned runs," Clarion head coach Dan Shofestall said of Constantino and the Bobcats' recent performances. "She's pitching as well as we've seen here. She works very hard at it and she's gotten much tougher as a junior this year."

Constantino was lights-out from the get-go as she struck out eight of the first 10 batters she faced with a first-inning double off the bat of Cami McNany being the only baserunner she'd allow through three frames.

During that stretch, the Bobcats were able to creep out to a 1-0 advantage with a run in the second when Noel Anthony blooped a two-out single to right field before being chased home on a double to right-center off th bat of Ava Kiser.

Constantino kept rolling through the sixth inning, facing just two over the minimum, with McNany counting for both of those hits.

Through the first four of those frames, however, her counterpart, Baylee Blauser, was nearly as formidable.

Blauser, who arrived just minutes before the game's opening pitch after competing in the state track and field competition earlier in the day, surrendered just the one tally while striking out four through four innings.

That would change in the bottom of the fifth, though, when Tori Vega led off with a double down the left field line. Patyon Simko then sent a lazy fly to right-center that saw the center fielder and the right fielder bump into one another, allowing the ball to fall to the turf and a run to score while Simko scampered to second.

She wasn't there for long as Lindsey Kemmer ripped an RBI single to right, putting Clarion up 3-0 through five innings.

The Bobcats added two more in the sixth when Carly Best walked, setting up Jordan Best, who roped a liner over the right fielder's head and turned on the jets, sprinting around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

The 5-0 lead was more than enough for Constantino, who stumbled just slightly in the seventh, allowing a run on three hits in the inning, McNany once again proved to be the lone thorn in Constantino's side as she led off with a single before being brought in on an RBI single from Meah Ielase to account for A-C's lone run of the game.

McNany accounted for three of A-C Valley's five hits for a Falcons team that was shorthanded, missing first baseman Kylee Eaton, who was at the state track meet.

"I think D9 definitely dropped the ball on it," A-C Valley head coach Bob Bowser said after the game, referring to the semifinal contest being postponed from Thursday to Friday, forcing his team to scramble and ultimately shake up their lineup. "They called the game at 10:30 a.m. before the radar cleared out around 11 a.m. with clear skies. They said they cancelled everything, but they did not cancel everything. Moniteau and Karns City played at Pullman. I'm not saying it won or lost the game for us, but it would have been nice to have a full team here."

Vega paced the Bobcats with three hits while Constantino added a pair of knocks, including a double to her performance. Jordan Best added a pair of RBIs.

Clarion will now take on offensive powerhouse DuBois Central Catholic on Wednesday at Heindl Field in DuBois for the championship. The Cardinals pounded out 32 hits in their 22-8 semifinal victory over Otto-Eldred on Friday.

"We know what we're going up against," Shofestall said. "They're a fabulous ball team. We scrimmaged them in March on a cold day, and they showed us a lot, and we had a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of respect for DCC and what they do. We're going to have to play hard and play good ball and believe we can do it. We're not going up there just to go up. We're going to play our best, and I like this team. I like it very much."

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