With a nine-run bottom of the first against visiting Columbia, the Braves softball team achieved a tie for the L-L Section Four title with Annville-Cleona on Monday, May 4th.
PV sent 14 batters to the plate that inning, lashing out six base knocks of their 13-hit attack for the game. The Braves opening ambush was highlighted by a three-run homer by Kayla Diluzio.
By beating the Tide by a final 11-1 score, PV ended the regular season with a 12-4 league record, tying the Little Dutchlasses, and forcing a one game playoff for the actual title and for seeding purposes in the L-L playoffs.
The Braves also scored single runs in the second and sixth innings for the final 11-1 outcome.
Backed up by the nine run first, pitcher Sabrina Ryan settled in, and proceeded to toss a four-hitter, striking out 11 while only walking one.
The Tide broke up Ryan's bid for a shutout, scraping out a run in the top of the fourth, but then only got one more batter to reach base against the strong, accurate PV Ace for the final three innings.
PV got the chance to tie A-C for the title, and fortified their District Three position by beating the Dutch at Annville on Friday, May 1st by a slim, 1-0 margin.
In the top of the third with two out, Lydia Cacciola singled to left field. Aleesha Feister followed with a base hit to left center that was misplayed by the left fielder, allowing Cacciola, who was running hard on the pitch with two away, to score.
That solo run stood up for the entire game, as Ryan tossed another gem by allowing only two hits, while striking out 15 and walking three. Two other A-C runners reached base in the second and fifth innings on Brave errors.
"I am looking forward to the post-season, and expect to be competitive in the Districts," said head coach Amy Shay after the game.
I expect us to play some tough competition for the league's playoffs as well, starting May 9th at Garrett Park".
In a section-title playoff game May 6th at Warwick High School as a neutral field site, the Braves suffered a heartbreaking 2-0 loss, even though Ryan out-dueled her A-C mound counterpart for most of the game.
Ryan wiffed 12 Dutchmen, walked only one, and allowed a mere three hits, but was undone by sloppy fielding, as the defense behind her committed three costly errors.
The game's only two runs crossed the plate in the A-C home half of the fifth inning.
Annville's first baseman led off the inning with a bloop single to left field. This was followed by a bunt from the seven-hole batter, which PV misplayed. On that error, the runner going to second broke for third, and a second Brave error, on an overthrow, allowed her to score. The second, and only other run scored when the seven-hole batter, now on third from the errors, came home on a passed ball.
Winning pitcher Emma Lerchen only struck out two Braves, but also kept the balls hit to go to her fielders, giving up only two PV base knocks. Three other Braves reached base on walks as well.
"While we hit the ball hard and were making good contact, we could not seem to get enough hits to fall in the holes and score some runs," stated Shay. "Yes, that was a tough way to lose a title".
Freshman Joe Olanovich tossed a complete game 3-1 win against visiting Annville-Cleona on Friday, May 1st as the Braves scored late to give him a win.
"This was by far our most complete performance of the year," said head coach Ryan O'Donnell. "Our defense, specifically Chad Yoder at shortstop, was just phenomenal.
Freshman pitcher Olanovich did what he has done all year. He pounded the strike zone, mixed in his curve ball, and worked ahead all day," he continued. "It sounds so simple, but as a freshman he's out there competing without overpowering stuff, yet he can put forth these types of performances where he faces a really good lineup and gives us a chance to win. His command of the baseball is ahead of the game from where he should be at this stage of his development, and it has allowed him to really compete at a high level early in his career."
Offensively, Jason Brown sparked a rather sleepy Braves team.
Down 1-0 early when Nick Hughes drove home Mitch Long for the only Dutchman run in the second inning, Brown unloaded a one out triple down the right field line past a sprawling A-C fielder.
Senior Nate Buonomo, playing in the outfield instead of pitching this day, followed with a line drive single through a drawn-in infield plating Brown for the first PV run.
After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, Olanovich helped his own cause with another line drive single.
Junior second baseman Trevor Kunkle capped the scoring with a two run double into the right center field gap, plating pinch runner Mica Zimmerman and Olenovich, who were both running on the play.
With the lead, Olanovich pitched around a leadoff Annville double to seal the win.
At Columbia on May 4th, the story, according to Coach O'Donnell was "PV miscues...three walks, four hit batters, and a pair of errors paved the way to a tough 4-3 loss. Our pitchers were not able to limit the free base runners and free bases, and Columbia capitalized, needing only six hits to score their four runs."
After going ahead 1-0 in the 4th, the Tide let PV score twice in the fifth to take a brief 2-1 lead. That lead vanished in the bottom of the inning, as Columbia scored a pair on some sloppy play to regain a 3-2 lead. They tacked on what proved to be the winning run on more mistakes by the Braves in the sixth.
A PV rally in the top of the seventh fell short as they needed a pair, but only scored a single run for the final 4-3 score.
Kunkle (2-3), and Beau Heagy (2-4, RBI) led the Braves in hitting. Yoder had the other RBI, while Zimmerman scored twice for the Braves in the tough loss.
Against one of the District Three's best-ranked teams in Oley Valley, Olenovich, working on just three days rest, held one of the top competitors for the Class AA title in check most of the day.
Once more, PV errors proved to be the downfall, as of the four runs scored on Olenovich in his complete game loss, only one was an earned run. He walked no batters, and threw only 79 pitches for the game.
PV scored single runs in the second and sixth innings in the 4-2 loss.
Buonomo (2-3, RBI), and Austin Nott (1-3, RBI) drove in the Braves runs, including Bryan Eltman, who had a 2-3 day at the plate.
The boys' tennis team finished the year with a league record of 1-7, and an overall record of 4-10.