Pioneers Claim First PIAA Softball Championship June 18, 2018
STATE CHAMPS! Lampeter-Strasburg's girls' softball team defeated West Allegheny 6-2 last Thursday afternoon at Penn State's Beard Field at the Nittany Lion Softball Park to win its first state title and deny West Allegheny the same accomplishment.
L-S finished second in the PIAA Class 3A tournament two years ago, losing 1-0 to Yough, and last year were bumped from the bracket by Donegal in the semifinals. The Indians went on to win the state crown.
"What a game," said head coach Gene Charles.
L-S led from start to finish in this one, though the Indians did challenge midway through the game. The Pioneers loaded the bags in the first inning. Summer Peters singled up the middle, Hanna Garber beat out an infield hit to deep second and Brynne Baker walked. A Chloe Blantz ground out pushed in the first run.
They made it 2-0 in the third inning. With two outs, H. Garber singled up the middle, stole second and scored on Baker's single past third base.
Lampeter pushed the tempo again in the fourth inning as Cam Byler and Gabby Drumm both singled up the middle and moved up on a passed ball. Daisy Frank's full count, fielder's choice ground out plated Byler and pushed the lead to 3-0.
The Indians (22-2) challenged in the bottom half but came up empty. Mackenzie Partyka was hit by a pitch and Britney Wilson followed with a double to the center field fence. After a groundout to third, Ashley Seamon grounded to Blantz at short who fired to Cam Byler at first. Byler in turn threw to catcher Kylie Weaver who caught Merrin Prevade in a rundown and eventually completed the double play with H. Garber getting Prevade for the final out.
L-S looked to break things open in the fifth but instead left the bases loaded. Peters singled up the middle, H. Garber walked and Baker succumbed to a fielder's choice. Blantz came back with a single to right that loaded the bases but a strikeout and a pop up ended the threat.
West Allegheny finally got on board in the bottom of the fifth. Megan Pollinger lined a shot off Frank's glove and Amy Nolte's sacrifice bunt was misplayed. A run scoring single by Angela Costa prevented the shutout. A walk loaded the bases with one out. Partyka's sac fly to left field made it 3-2 but Baker works a pop out to end the rally.
"Julz Garber did a nice job running that ball down in left field," said Charles. "They got a sac fly out of it but it could have been worse."
As they did against Solanco, L-S bounced right back. Frank cracked a full count single that eluded the shortstop and Weaver reached on an error. With one out, and runners on second and third, Peters smacked a two run single to left field before a popup and a groundout ended the inning.
West Allegheny went three up, three down in the bottom half and L-S collected one more run in the top of the seventh when Drumm crushed her first homer of the year, pushing the lead to 6-2.
The Indians looked to close the gap in the bottom half, loading the bases with three singles and a lineout. Batting third, Partyka stepped to the plate and, with one strike, hit a shot to H. Garber, at third, who fired to Weaver at home for the force out. Weaver, in turn, threw to Byler at first who completed the game ending double play.
"Gosh there were so many things that could have gone wrong," stated Charles, "but didn't. That was the second time Partyka was up with the bases loaded and we got out of it. It was nice to see the two seniors end the game with that play," he added.
"Early on, their pitcher had us off balance a bit," Charles noted. "We were reaching for the ball but adjusted as the game went on. Peters finished with three of our 12 hits with H. Garber, Blantz and Drumm adding two each. Summer (Peters) is just unflappable," Charles said. "She had a nice game and Blantz hit that bases loaded grounder to get us on the board. Plus Gabby gets her first home run. And our defense, with just one error, played well.
"We wanted to be playing our best at the end of the year and I pretty much think we did," he said. "We knew we would go as far as Brynne would take us and she took us to the Promised Land. She did what she had to do. And to think we started the season 0-2. Our young kids came through and improved as the season went."
"What an incredible experience," said senior Kylie Weaver. "To be able to get here not only once, but twice. Some people never get the chance. Two years ago I played here with my sister and now the Garber sisters get to share the same thing. It's just incredible."
Earlier in the week the Pioneers outlasted Solanco, 6-4, in the semifinals at Millersville's Seaber Softball Stadium. L-S broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the top of the seventh to end Solanco's (24-3) season.
"That was a huge game against a team with just two losses," noted Charles. "They play a tough schedule too. And Brynne was sick that morning so we weren't even sure she'd play but I can honestly say I believe that's the best I ever saw her pitch."
In front of the largest crowd of the season, L-S went in front early. Byler walked with one out in the second inning and with two outs, No. 8 hitter, Frank, singled to right field. Typically a routine catch for outfielder Skyla Townsley, but on this particular day, the sun proved to be more than enough to handle. Byler scored and Frank settled in at third before Solanco pitcher Hanna Phillips coaxed a pop out to end the inning.
The Pioneers, who left two runners on in both the third and fourth innings, made it 2-0 in the fifth. H. Garber singled with one out, took third on a two-out, dropped infield popup and scored on an error at short.
Solanco finally got on board in the fifth, putting an end to Baker's (4K, 0W, 5 hits) perfect game. Jade Eshleman doubled to right field. Jocelyn Branco had the same 'sun' troubles Townsley did and Eshleman wound up on third when Branco bobbled the ball. Sierra Dean followed with a run scoring base hit and Townsley redeemed herself with a triple to the fence that tied the game at 2-2.
With one out, Solanco's bunt specialist Alyssa Henretty put down a safety squeeze that was thrown over first base, scoring Townsley with the go ahead run, 3-2. Ally McDowell reached on another bunt that was misplayed. This time it was the Pioneers responding. Kara McClune's shallow pop to center field was caught by Peters who then fired to second, doubling off McDowell.
Lampeter used that momentum to regroup and forged ahead, 4-3 in the top of the sixth. Blantz tripled in the leadoff spot and J. Garber not only beat out a bunt but took second when no one covered the base. Solanco head coach Brett Miller elected to walk H. Garber intentionally, loading the bags and setting the stage for Baker who collected her first hit of the night, a two-run single up the middle and put L-S back in front, 4-3.
Solanco countered with one run in the bottom half. With two outs, Dean singled past short and Townsley blooped a shot into right field, tying the game at 4-4.
Then, in the seventh, Byler worked a walk, Phillips' seventh of the game (2 intentional), and Drumm singled to center. With two outs, J. Garber connected for a two-run single up the middle before a groundout ended more damage.
Solanco, hoping to rally, went three up, three down to end the game.
Phillips finished with five strikeouts, seven walks and scattered six hits.
"The girls just don't quit," stated Charles. "We did have six errors so our defense let us down a bit and let them back in the game. But, as we have all year, we battled back.
"Last year we got to the semifinals and the year before to the finals," he continued. "It's been a great run."
Softball State Champs Parade Announced June 17, 2018
A Lampeter-Strasburg Softball State Champion Victory Parade will be held Thursday, June 28. The parade will start at the Strasburg Railroad. Any person, organization or business who wants to participate should contact Tina Byler, Parade Coordinator, at 717-951-4785 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mares Cap Best Season Ever in PIAA Semifinals June 17, 2018
24 wins. 3 losses. Another Section Two title. Co L-L League Champs. Third place in District Three and PIAA semifinalists. Sounds like a pretty impressive season. Unless you're a Solanco fan and you dwell on that third loss, a 6-4 result against neighboring Lampeter-Strasburg in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals last Tuesday at Millersville. While the two schools border each other, the Mares and the Pioneers rarely meet. In fact, over the last ten years, they've met just once. Solanco won that round 7-5 last year in the L-L League quarterfinals.
While last Tuesday's loss ended Solanco's season, it shouldn't blemish their accomplishments. The Mares had never won a state playoff game before this season. They finished with more wins than any other L-L League team this season and had the fewest losses.
A school record 24 wins. "It was a tremendous season," said head coach Brett Miller. "It was a frustrating ending but we have to move on. L-S is a quality team, a quality program. We performed well, even though we weren't given the opportunity to exploit our advantages."
In front of the largest crowd of the season, L-S went in front early. Cam Byler walked with one out in the second inning. With two outs, No. 8 hitter Daisy Frank singled to right field. Typically a routine catch for outfielder Skyla Townsley. But on this particular day, the sun proved to be more than enough to handle. Byler scored and Frank settled in at third before Hanna Phillips coaxed a pop out to end the inning.
The Pioneers, who left two runners on in both the third and fourth innings, made it 2-0 in the fifth. Hanna Garber singled with one out, took third on a two-out, dropped infield popup and scored on an error at short.
Solanco finally got on board in the fifth, putting an end to Brynne Baker's (4K, 0W, 5 hits) perfect game. Jade Eshleman doubled to right field. Jocelyn Branco had the same 'sun' troubles Townsley did and Eshleman wound up on third when Branco bobbled the ball. Sierra Dean followed with a run scoring base hit and Townsley redeemed herself with a triple to the fence that tied the game at 2-2.
"I was really proud of the way Skyla came back and hit the ball after two rough plays in the outfield which were not to her doing," said Miller. "But I can probably say that about all the girls at one point or another during the season. They battle back."
With one out, bunt specialist Alyssa Henretty put down a safety squeeze that was thrown over first base, scoring Townsley with the go ahead run, 3-2. Ally McDowell reached on another bunt that was misplayed. This time it was the Pioneers responding. Kara McClune's shallow pop to center field was caught by Summer Peters who then fired to second, doubling off McDowell.
Lampeter used that momentum to regroup and forged ahead, 4-3 in the top of the sixth. Chloe Blantz tripled in the leadoff spot and Julz Garber not only beat out a bunt but took second when no one covered the base. Miller elected to walk Hanna Garber intentionally, loading the bags and setting the stage for Baker who collected her first hit of the night, a two-run single up the middle and putting L-S back in front, 4-3.
Solanco countered with one run in the bottom half. With two outs, Dean singled past short and Townsley blooped a shot into right field, tying the game at 4-4.
Then, in the seventh, Byler worked a walk, Phillips' seventh (2 intentional), and Gabby Drumm singled to center. With two outs, J. Garber connected for a two-run single up the middle before a groundout ended more damage.
Solanco, hoping to rally, went three up, three down to end the game.
"Hanna pitched as well as she could," said Miller. "She doesn't average five walks a game. She was making excellent pitches and trying hard to find the strike zone but when you can't..." he added. "They're too good a hitting team."
Phillips finished with five strikeouts, seven walks and scattered six hits.
The seniors (Alyssa Henretty, Ally McDowell, Liz Mowrer and Randi Rambo) finished their four year career with a 72-23 record. Rambo and Mowrer, along with Phillips, freshman catcher Jade Eshleman, Kara McClune (2B), and Dean were all selected as first team all-stars. Eshleman and McClune were also recognized as All-Section One and Two.
"You have to thank the seniors for their contributions to the program," said Miller. "Their personalities and maturation I will remember the most.
"This season is something they will never forget."
Barons Battle Northeastern in PIAA Final June 11, 2018
The run is over. Oh, but what a great run while it lasted.
For Manheim Central, it lasted until the final day of the boys' volleyball season.
The Barons lost in the PIAA Class 2A championship Saturday to Northeastern at Penn State's Rec Hall in State College.
Central, which finishes the season with a 22-3 record, suffered loses twice to the eventual state champion in Class 2A (Northeastern) and state runner-up Hempfield (Class 3A).
Northeastern, which won its sixth straight state title Saturday, also beat Manheim in the District Three Class 2A final and Hempfield defeated Manheim in the Lancaster-Lebanon League championship.
That's just three losses against two outstanding teams. This wasn't lost on Central coach Craig Dietrich.
"That stands out to me," said Dietrich. "Also the resiliency of this group of kids; they are a special group of kids."
The run for this team actually started last year, when these Barons won their section, lost in league and district finals and state semifinals.
They were determined to do as well this year, and hopefully a little better.
"We set a goal of being in every championship game: leagues, districts and state finals, and not too many teams accomplish that," Dietrich said. "We should hold our heads high. It's been one heck of a run, and I wouldn't trade these kids for any other team."
After losing 3-0 to Northeastern in the district final a week earlier, Manheim gave the Bobcats a scare this past Saturday, as the Barons won the first set 25-23. It was only the fourth time all season Northeastern lost a set.
Dietrich said this gave his guys a big boost and helped Central stay aggressive in the next three sets.
"We were able to get them (Northeastern) out of their system and we blocked well and played good defense," he said.
In set two, the Bobcats (21-0) settled in and were strong on serve receive and attacks, Dietrich noted, and Northeastern pulled out the win, winning three straight games to capture a tight contest 23-25, 25-13, 25-22 and 25-13.
The Barons weren't giving an inch. After losing the second game, Central bounced back, taking a 12-11 lead in the third set.
From this point on, it was a real nail-bitter, as neither team led by more than one point. The teams were tied 21-21 before the Bobcats took the next three points to pull ahead 24-21. Tanner Stauffer's kill cut the lead to 24-22, but the Bobcats got the final kill to win the set.
Central kept things close in the fourth set, trailing 12-8, but could not get any closer.
The Barons gave an all-around team effort and played their hearts out Saturday.
Manheim's dynamic junior Mason Nissley finished with 13 kills and six digs and Stauffer, a senior leader, had 12 kills. Senior setter Ben Burkhart, the L-L League Section Two MVP, dished out 39 assists. Senior outside hitter Isaac Shenk finished with 7 kills and 4 digs.
These Barons, who advanced further than any other volleyball team in school history, reached the finals after beating Cambridge Springs 25-22, 25-16, 25-13 Tuesday, June 5 at Richland High School.
Cambridge Springs kept the first set close, trailing just 21-20, but the Barons pulled away, getting two kills from Nissley and one from Stauffer. Nissley, who finished with 15 kills in the match, collected 10 in the first set. He added 7 digs.
Other strong performances included senior Gabe Stewart- 9 digs, 2 aces; Shenk- 6 kills; Stauffer- 11 kills, 5 blocks and 8 digs; Burkhart- 31 assists and 2 digs; junior Brandyn Musser- 4 digs; and senior Josiah Zimmerman who served seven straight winning points.
Dietrich said the key to the victory was moving Cambridge Springs on serve receive, which took them out of their system a lot during the match. The Barons also limited Cambridge Springs' best player to only six kills and did a great job defensively with digging a lot of balls throughout the night.
Getting beyond the state semis, where Central lost 3-2 last year to Northeastern, was satisfying.
"It was very rewarding getting past the semifinals," Dietrich said. "We felt we were one of the two best teams in the state. To lose in five (sets) to a good Northeastern team was tough."
Knights Fall to North Allegheny in PIAA Finals June 11, 2018
The Hempfield boys' volleyball team seemed unstoppable for much of the season. The Black Knights racked up 21 victories, which included a 3-0 triumph in the PIAA Class-AAA state semifinals over previously unbeaten Emmaus on Wednesday evening.
The Knights stung the Hornets 25-16, 25-14 and 25-17, earning their ticket to the state championship and vying for their 11th PIAA trophy.
"Ian Flood hit almost .700 and Gavin Hanzelman almost .600," noted head coach Mike Vogel of the percentage of successful swings by those two seniors.
In fact, Flood finished with 19 kills and also registered three blocks. Hanzelman added two more blocks while 6-foot-5 junior Elliott De La Torre finished with a match-leading four blocks.
Senior Cayden Musso had 36 assists and three service aces.
"Musso really came into his own as a setter this year," Vogel remarked. "He was a middle and became a proficient setter."
Also leading the way were seniors Mason Scott and Zach Wilson with 12 and nine digs, respectively.
"Mason Scott developed into one of the best liberos in the state," Vogel commented. "He doesn't get the glory but he absorbs everything from the opponent.
"Zach Wilson is a great defender," continued the coach. "He has ice water in his veins."
This group of great competitors went up against North Allegheny in the state championship match at the Penn State Rec Center on Saturday afternoon. It was the Tigers' 16th appearance in the state finale.
When the serves were set and the kills counted, it was the Tigers claiming their sixth overall title. North Allegheny capped its season by winning its 23rd match as a pair of undefeated, highly-respected teams squared off against one another. Hempfield came in as the number one ranked team in the Pennsylvania State Volleyball Coaches Association.
The Tigers opened with a 25-20 victory. They won the second set 25-17 and celebrated the state title with a 25-21 defeat of Hempfield.
"They did to us what we did to Emmaus on Wednesday," summed up Vogel, who was 7-0 in the state title match before Saturday. "We had an unbelievable night against Emmaus; everything we touched was near perfect and our defense was solid.
"I thought we matched up pretty well against North Allegheny, who were in the state finals last year," Vogel continued. "You had a group of guys who didn't win the state final last year and this was going to be their last chance.
"They were truly physical from the standpoints of height and strength," continued the coach. "We just had no answers for them at the net."
Canyon Tuman had 16 kills to lead the way and teammate AJ Schmidt had 33 assists for the WPIAL champion Tigers.
Hempfield kills came from Hanzelman (10) Flood (8), Wilson (7) and Musso, who had five. Scott finished with 17 digs and Wilson added eight. Musso also dished out 29 assists.
"For us to beat North Allegheny, we had to slow down their offense - their big guys at the net," Vogel explained. "Our block couldn't channel the ball to our defensive players. We could play them in transition if we had done that. We're not a small team, but we could not slow them down.
"It would sometimes take us 10 swings to get one kill," Vogel added.
The team graduates five key seniors from that championship match - Hanzelman, Flood, Musso, Scott and Wilson. De La Torre will be one of the key returning players on the 2019 team.
"Flood and Hanzelman played in the state final two years ago also," Vogel noted, referring to the Knights' come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Penn Manor in the 2016 title match.
"The seniors on this team accomplished a lot," he added. "De La Torre will be one of the biggest kids coming back. He'll be the only returning guy with size and any kind of varsity experience."
But that's the future. How about the present team and its incredible momentum heading into a less-than-stellar championship match?
"It doesn't take away from what Hempfield accomplished this year," Vogel said. "We over achieved. We had some tough competition. We beat Cumberland Valley in the district championship."
Streaks Split in PIAA Lacrosse Championships June 11, 2018
There's a PIAA lacrosse trophy at a District Three school.
After years of taking a back seat to District One or District Twelve schools, the trophy case of a District Three school will be boasting a state championship - Manheim Township, 2018.
The Blue Streaks wrapped up a tremendous campaign with a 6-4 victory over District XII champ La Salle College High School on Saturday afternoon in the PIAA Class-AAA state championship match at Harold Zimmerman Stadium at West Chester East High School. The boys' match was actually part of multiple championship games on the day - one of which was the Township girls' Class-AAA title game against Unionville at noon.
"It's awesome! District Three is here to stay," said Township senior Grayson Sallade, whose heads-up, almost acrobatic goal gave the Streaks (25-1) the final margin of victory after Ethan LaMond's goal had cut the lead to 5-4 with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter.
"Everyone on this team has been working hard," he added. "We rose to the occasion.
And rising to the occasion was something so many individuals did on this team. Sallade himself came away with a loose ball after a wild scrum on the right sideline on the Explorers' side of the field. He then raced along the end line and quickly switching the stick to his left hand, fired a shot past goalie Michael Clibanof.
"We were up by one, we had a scrap for the ball that had popped out," he described. "I grabbed it righty, I spun and switched hands when I came across the middle. Then it stuck in the back of the net."
Earlier in the match, Township sophomore Eddie Newman scored two goals - one of which was on a Sean Curcio assist. The Explorers (19-5) opened the scoring after a slightly slow going at the outset by Township. Brendan Meagher tallied a goal 2:19 into the game. With only 2:35 left in the first quarter, Newman evened the score while Township goalie Caton Johnson (12 saves) kept the Explorers from discovering the net.
"The defense starts with him in the cage, making the saves we needed him to make," said head coach Dan Lyons following the ceremonial dousing by players hoisting a cooler over his head. "Our defense played a fantastic game. Caton was dialed in all day and wasn't going to let anyone take this from us."
"He's the best goalie in the state," Sallade said of his teammate, who has committed to the University of North Carolina. "He makes playing defense easy. We trust him so much."
The Explorers evened the score with 4:13 to play in the second quarter. Meager's second goal of the match came 6:34 after Newman had given Township a 2-1 lead. Earlier in the period, a goal by the Explorers was disallowed due to a crease violation.
The Explorers gained possession with 1:01 to play in the half and called timeout. In trying to get off the final shot, the Township defense held strong.
"One of the things that has been a tradition at Township, long before I was there - the idea of a deep pride about not giving up a goal in the last 30 seconds or minute of a quarter," said Lyons, whose record at MT improved to 67-9. "These guys own it and did it today."
Township regained the lead less than three minutes after intermission. Sallade scored off another Curcio assist, making it 3-2 at the 9:22 mark of the third quarter. Zach Diamond added to that lead less than four minutes later.
The Explorers cut the deficit to 4-3 with 2:48 left in the third. Matt Clibanoff - the goalkeeper's twin brother - was the goal scorer on this one, making it a one-goal game heading into the fourth.
Lyons explained that he and his staff anticipated a relatively low-scoring game.
"We knew that LaSalle plays a slower game," said Lyons "We needed to be prepared and stay sharp all day, work through their formations and work time off the clock.
"All post season we've taken a lot of time and energy to focus on doing the things as well as we possibly can and knowing what our opponent is going to try and do," continued the coach. "We come into these games with a huge amount of confidence of, 'Yeah we know exactly what they are going to do'"
He credited the scouting reports for helping the squad be prepared for its ultimate test.
"Our scouts did everything La Salle was going to do on offense - so our defense was well prepared," he said. "Our scouts also did a good job helping us run defense in La Salle's style to give our offense a taste of what they were going to do."
"I think the most important thing was that we stuck to our game plan," said Sallade.
The fourth quarter was not without drama. Township pulled ahead by two goals as Bryce Hutchinson scored with 8:30 left to play. The Explorers' second disallowed goal of the game took place prior to LaMond's score.
"They went into the crease a couple of times on goals that got waived off," Lyons said. "We made them pay on the other end."
Sallade's second goal of the game was the insurance Township needed against a tough Explorers squad. La Salle regained possession on a Township turnover with 1:02 left in regulation, but could not convert.
As for the now expelled stigma about a team representing anyone other than District One or XII winning the state title, Lyons said, "I think it says if you're willing to put in the hard work, like these guys did - from top of the roster to the youngest freshman, there's no difference between us and them."
And as he stood there, drenched in ice cold water while answering questions, Lyons added, "I was so confident we were going to win that I packed an extra set of clothes."
The boys' team also defeated a District One team handily in the state semifinal match, which was played on Tuesday at Exeter.
The Streaks scored six times in the opening period of a 15-6 victory over Garnet Valley. Johnson was solid with 10 saves in goal.
Curcio was the leading goal scorer with four goals and one assist. Sallade had a hat trick and two assists. Hutchinson and Diamond each tallied two goals while Tre Freeman dished out two assists and scored once and Newman chipped in with one goal and one assist.
In the girls' title match, the Streaks came up short against Unionville - the third-place team out of District One. The Streaks (25-2) were coming into the championship match following a remarkable comeback victory in their semifinal contest against District One runner-up Springfield earlier in the week. However, the Indians (23-2) cooled the momentum in an 11-6 victory.
"First state championship lacrosse game in our program's history," pointed out head coach Mark Pinkerton. "I couldn't be more proud of these girls."
Unionville, controlling the ball by winning the majority of the draws, helped them spread out their offense and find the open shots. On the other end, the U-ville defense, anchored by goalie Madison Doucette, kept the potent Township attack in check until Lucy Svetec finally broke through midway into the first half.
"They're really tough on the draw and we knew that," Pinkerton remarked after the game. "Plus they've got great speed. We struggled against them, though that's no reflection on our effort.
"They go hard and give it everything they've got," continued the coach. "But Unionville was just better today."
The big story of the game was senior midfielder and University of Michigan commit Erin Garvey of the Indians. She scored six of her team's goals as well as providing one assist.
Emma Malone started the scoring, putting Ches-Mont League champ Unionville on the scoreboard at the 21:14 mark in the first half. It was Malone's 40th goal of the season.
"The first few minutes sets the tone - especially in the playoffs," Garvey said. "Scoring the first goal was important and to keep the momentum going was even more important.
"It was important to win the draw," she continued. "We knew we had to get big and spread out, move the ball quickly."
Garvey, who had already passed the 200-goal mark on her career, managed to score twice and Veronica Hinerman added one more to give Unionville a 4-0 lead at the 13:32 mark of the first half. Dotted in between some of those scores were some excellent saves by Township goalie Haley McCullough, who registered five on the day. One of Garvey's goals was on a second effort after a quick deflection by McCullough.
"We were coming up with a lot of draw controls," Unionville head coach Suzanne Sheehan pointed out. "Manheim Township has a very talented group in the midfield.
"Erin had a great game," Sheehan continued. "She always seems to get us going. She kept our attack going."
Svetec put Township on the board at the 12:11 mark. Facing a wall of Unionville defenders, she managed to fire a shot past Doucette to make it 4-1. It was her team-leading 76th goal of the year.
Unionville scored four unanswered goals before Lizzie McBride and Taylor Kopan scored two quick ones before halftime. McBride's goal (60th on the year) came with 1:07 to play in the first half. On a late attack, Liz Musser helped Township retain possession and Kopan finished it nicely with only 1.7 seconds before intermission.
The Streaks' momentum did not translate to a second-half comeback. However, Township did respond to Unionville's 3-0 run by scoring the final three goals of the contest. Shannon Elias scored on a free position opportunity with 9:08 left to play. Only nine seconds later, Svetec scored a quick one off the draw. Maris Large, who also had an assist on the day, capped the scoring with her first goal of the game, shooting one past Doucette with 2:30 to play. It was Large's 65th goal of the year. Doucette had denied Large on a great save at the midway point of the second half.
"Without a doubt, from what I've seen, she's one of the best goalies in the state," Pinkerton commented on Doucette, who is a Northwestern University commit. "You have to pick your shots and drill it or you're not going to get it passed her."
"Madison came up with a lot of key saves," Sheehan noted. "Early in the game they had a nice shot and she had a save. She and Taryn [Burke] are the only seniors. We have a few sophomores and a freshman on defense. It's a young unit, but a good cohesive group."
Township's road to the title match included an incredible comeback against Springfield (Delco) on Tuesday evening at Exeter in the PIAA Class-AAA semifinal round. The Streaks were trailing 8-4 with 17 minutes to play. They roared back for a 12-10 victory.
Large, who's an NCAA Division I commit to University of Vermont, scored five of Township's goals in the second half after having been held in check by the Cougars. She finished with a game-high five goals while Svetec notched a hat trick. Elias added two more goals plus an assist. Ashlyn Campagna, who also notched an assist, and Kopan each scored once.
Just as the Streaks (19 shots on goal) were firing them in for their comeback, McCullough rose to the occasion and racked up 15 saves in the match.
The group that helped Township finally reach the state title match will have several members saying good-bye.
"It was a large diverse group of seniors," Pinkerton said. "From the goalie to three defenders, one of the starting midfielders plus Lizzie and Maris. We had a large senior group. They'll be missed but that's high school sports. We'll reload and be ready to go next year."
Pioneers Advance to Third Straight PIAA Semis June 11, 2018
A pair of PIAA wins last week vaulted Lampeter-Strasburg's softball team to the PIAA semifinals for the third straight year. Last year they lost to Donegal, a team they defeated three times this season.
L-S opened its quest to get back to the PIAA finals with a pretty convincing 9-0 victory over Penncrest (17-7) last Monday at Millersville University's Seaber Softball Stadium. Thursday afternoon, at Avon Grove High School, they earned another solid win, this one 8-2 over District 12 champ, Archbishop Ryan.
"We've been scoring early and that's been giving us momentum and putting our opponent on their heels," said head coach Gene Charles.
L-S scored the only run they really needed in the first inning, and without a hit. Summer Peters walked, stole second and tagged up for third on Hanna Garber's sac fly to center. The throw to third base, however, was wide and Peters raced home.
"They (Penncrest) committed five errors," noted Charles. "I was surprised by that."
The locals left two stranded in the second inning but pushed the lead to 3-0 with a pair in the third. A Chloe Blantz double plated both Peters and H. Garber. Two innings later, H. Garber, who finished with four RBI on the day, tripled in Peters for a 4-0 lead.
Then, in the sixth, L-S finally broke the game open. They batted around, scoring five runs on three hits and three errors. H. Garber's two out, bases loaded double cleared the bags and did the most damage. Blantz picked up a triple that frame and Julz Garber added a single.
The Lions looked to get on board in the seventh, loading the bases with a single and two hit batters but Pioneer hurler Brynne Baker got out unscathed and preserved the shutout.
"Brynne pitched well," said Charles of the two-hitter. "She struck out five and didn't give up a walk, just those two hit batters but then got out of it.
"And we finished with ten hits, five of which were for extra bases," he noted.
In the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon, the Pioneers got off to an even stronger start, plating four first inning runs against freshman pitcher Dana Bell and never looked back. Picking up where they left off against Penncrest, L-S batted around in the opening frame and took control. Peters poked a one out single, H. Garber doubled and Baker singled in both. Blantz reached on an error and scored on Cam Byler's sac fly. Baker scored before that on a wild pitch.
"We did have some key defensive plays as well," recalled Charles. "Jocelyn Branco made a sliding catch in right field and later tracked down a long fly ball and Hanna added a pair of diving grabs at third base. Plays like these rob your opponent of hits."
The Ragdolls (23-3) got on board with a solo home in the second inning but that was pretty much negated when L-S scored one in the fourth. J. Garber singled with two outs, stole second and scored on a Peters base hit.
L-S gained some breathing room with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Gabby Drumm singled, Daisy Frank walk and both moved up on a Kylie Weaver sacrifice bunt. J. Garber singled in one run and Baker singled in two.
"That was interesting," noted Charles. "They intentionally walked Hanna to get to Brynne, who made them pay with a two run base hit. She was 2-4 on the day with four RBI. And in the circle, she kept them off-balance, striking out five, walking two and scattering six hits."
The Ragdolls got one back in the seventh on two base hits and a walk but by then the damage was done.
Warwick Softball Falls in PIAA Opener June 11, 2018
Warwick's softball journey came to a screeching halt last week as Hempfield Area's Maddie Uschock, who gave up only two hits in defense of their PIAA Class 6 title in a first round showdown, led the way to a 7-0 shutout of the Warriors.
That final score was not indicative of how the game played out, however, as Warwick's Amanda Herr battled Uschock through five innings until the Spartans exploded for six runs on six hits in the bottom of the sixth, breaking a 1-0 lead wide open.
Warwick only had two baserunners advance past first the entire game but attempted a final two-out rally in the seventh when Marissa Treibley (1-1, 2BB) walked and then advanced to third on a single into right field by Mackenzie Stewart (1-3).
Katelyn Minney came to the plate next with runners on the corners but hit into a fielder's choice which resulted in Stewart being forced out at second for the final out of the game.
Up until the Spartan's big inning, Herr had only surrendered three hits to Hempfield Area, the first was a double in the opening frame which led to the first run of the game which scored on a wild pitch.
A triple to start the fourth inning put Herr in danger of giving up another run, but she worked her way out of trouble by putting away the next three batters to end the inning. And a two-out double in the fifth was nullified when Catie Brubaker scooped up a ground ball at second on the next play and connected with Treibley at first for out number three.
Warwick finished out the season with a record of 17-7 including a post-season that saw the lady Warriors drop a League championship game to eventual co-champion Solanco, beat Dallastown in the quarterfinals of the District Three tournament and then fight back from a semifinal loss to Central York to claim bronze as well as the final qualifying spot in the PIAA Championships.
Solanco Advances to First Ever PIAA Semifinals June 10, 2018
Solanco knocked off a pair of district champs last week and advanced to the PIAA Class 5A semifinals. Not too shabby for a team making just its third appearance in the state tournament.
Tuesday afternoon at Avon Grove High School, the Mares faced one of the best pitchers in the state in Bishop Shanahan's Devon Miller in their PIAA opener. Miller, the Player of the Year, collected her 300th strikeout of the season in the fourth inning. She finished with 11 on the day and did not walk a batter.
But Solanco's Hanna Phillips was pretty impressive herself, striking out eight batters in a one-hit, 5-0 victory. She was also effective at the plate, collecting three of Solanco's six hits.
"Hanna definitely out-pitched Devon Miller," said head coach Brett Miller. "Her strikeouts were at the right times, and the hit she gave up was a bunt late in the fourth inning."
Solanco scored all the runs they needed in the third inning. Phillips opened with a leadoff single and moved all the way to third when Alyssa Henretty's sacrifice bunt was thrown away. She scored on a wild pitch to lead-off hitter Kara McClune, who then singled in Henretty for a 2-0 advantage.
The Mares picked up three more runs two innings later. Phillips singled past second and moved up on Henretty's sacrifice bunt. McClune's triple plated Phillips and Randi Rambo doubled in McClune. Liz Mowrer's grounder was misplayed, scoring Rambo for the third run.
Backing Phillips defensively were some solid efforts. "Skyla Townsley tracked down a long fly ball, in the second inning, to the sideline. That's a double, maybe a triple if it's not caught," noted Miller. "And Rambo made a diving catch in the hole at short. Defense like that made the field even smaller and put more pressure on Shanahan.
"This was our first-ever state playoff win and it pushed our school-record wins total to 23," he added. "The girls worked hard to get 23. I told them 24 would be better."
Two days later, Solanco made the long trip to Patriots Park in Allentown to face District Two champ Pittstown Area. The 6 pm slated start got underway over an hour later but the final result still favored Solanco, 1-0.
And that one run came early. McClune opened with a triple over the third baseman's head and Rambo connected for a base hit to right field. Mowrer's double off the third baseman's glove scored McClune for what proved to be the game winning run in an inning the Mares left the bases loaded.
"To get the one run in is huge," said Miller. "We were hoping for two, but in a 1-0 game it's always better to have the 1."
After that, Phillips, who tossed a two-hitter, went to work. She struck out six at one point and struck out the side in the second and fifth innings against a team that was coming off a 10-2 win over West Chester Henderson. She finished with 14 strikeouts and two walks.
The Patriots left a runner stranded at third in the third inning and Alexa McHugh doubled off the fence in the fourth but was left stranded. Their biggest threat came in the sixth inning. Lexi Felinski singled with one out and McHugh walked. Phillips, however, slammed the door with a pair of strikeouts, 11 and 12 to end the opportunity. She picked up two more strikeouts in the seventh and induced a game-ending popup to catcher Jade Eshleman.
"Hanna pretty much took control," noted Miller. "Except for that double off the fence, which didn't cost us. She made the pitches she needed to make."
Phillips doubled to start the fourth, chasing starting pitcher Nina Cencetti for McHugh. The two finished with a combined five strikeouts and scattered seven Solanco hits.
Indians Fall Short in Repeating as State Champ June 8, 2018
Donegal's bid to repeat as PIAA Class 5A Champion came to an abrupt end last week when the Indians lost 7-3 to District Seven Champion West Allegheny in an opening round matchup that was played at Upper Latrobe High School.
While they were able to rack up seven hits on the day, the majority of the Indian's contact at the plate resulted in long outs to the West Allegheny outfielders. Starter Sierra Neiss allowed 11 hits including two home runs in the complete game loss.
West Allegheny staked a 4-0 lead that began with a Mackenzie Patryka solo home run in first inning followed by two Donegal fielding errors in the fourth which directly led to three more runs.
Donegal responded in the fifth with back-to-back singles by Stephanie Reider (1-3) and Rachel Overlander (1-3) and was the beneficiary of two West Allegheny errors which first allowed Reider and Overlander to take third and second, respectively, with Reider scoring on a subsequent wild pitch and Overlander ending up on third with one out.
Jessica Kosheba (1-3, RBI) brought her home with single to left field to make the score 4-2 and then scored on yet another error to pull Donegal within one. Madeline Gohn (2-3) and Grace Miller (1-3) each singled in the inning as well.
Unfortunately for the ladies that was the final run they would score while West Allegheny added two more in the sixth on another homer by Partyka and added one more in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Taylor Goldstrohm.
Pioneers Finish Second in District 3 Class 5A June 4, 2018
When a team pounds out 11 hits, including five doubles and a pair of home runs, one might expect that team to win. That was not the case last Wednesday afternoon in the District Three Class 5A final at Lebanon Valley College where the post-season tested Pioneers were outhit 15-11 in a high scoring 10-6 loss to No. 4 seed Twin Valley. What did come in to play, however, were the five errors committed by L-S (19-5).
"The errors certainly did not help," said head coach Gene Charles. "At this point in the season, we can't have that happen.
"We also had a few unlucky breaks that possibly could have turned the momentum," he continued.
Those unlucky breaks came in the second and fifth innings. With the bases loaded in the second, Hanna Garber's hard liner up the middle ricocheted off the TV pitcher's glove and right to short for a routine ground out.
"We were down 3-1 at that point," noted Charles. "That would have scored some runs. Then in the fifth we got doubled off second base on a double to the outfield. Sometimes it is a game of inches."
L-S took the first lead on Brynne Baker's RBI double to left, scoring Summer Peters who walked. Baker finished with three doubles on the day.
TV responded with a base hit, a triple and two doubles to go in front 3-1. They went on to score runs in each of the next four innings and denied the Pioneers in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings to pull away.
L-S got two runs back in the top of the third when Chloe Blantz crushed her second homer of the year, pushing in Baker who doubled as the lead off and cut the lead to 5-3.
Two scoreless innings, however, proved pivotal as the Raiders (20-4) picked up three more runs and extended their advantage to 10-3.
The never day die Pioneers, though, responded with their biggest inning of the day, plating three runs in the sixth. Cam Beiler opened with a lead-off homer and Peters' two out double cut the lead to 10-6. Neither team threatened after that.
Baker started in the circle but was relieved in the third, with the bases loaded, by Gabby Drumm. The two combined for one strikeout and three walks and gave up 15 hits.
"We just couldn't stop them," said Charles.
The Raiders had played in three of the last six championship games but this was their first title since 1980.
The Pioneers defeated Donegal in 2007 for the district crown. "This may have only been our second time to the district final," Charles contemplated. "We were hoping for a better outcome and welcome a rematch."
To get to the finals the Pioneers had to get past Spring Grove, the team that knocked them out of the tournament a year ago. Despite three errors, they returned the favor in dominating fashion, blanking the Rockets 6-0.
"They were a little short-handed," stated Charles. "Their starting pitcher was out with wrist surgery."
And while the end result was dominating, L-S got off to a shaky start, committing two errors before turning a double play to end the first inning. After that, it was all Pioneers.
L-S scored three runs in the first inning, all with two outs, and never looked back. H. Garber singled and scored on Baker's double. Blantz followed with a run scoring triple and Beiler's fly ball behind second was dropped, making it 3-0.
Peter's two run triple in the second pushed in Kylie Weaver, who reached on an error, and Julz Garber, who singled to right.
Their final run came in the fourth on a two out error. L-S left the bases loaded that frame and didn't threaten after that.
"Scoring those three runs, all with two outs, was the key," stated Charles. "We lost to them 10-3 last year, but I only recognized three names on their roster so I think they lost a lot due to graduation.
"Brynne pitched very well," he continued. "She struck out four, scattered four hits and did not give up a single walk."
Josh Eidemiller was Lampeter's only medal winner in the PIAA Track and Field Championships held May 25-26 at Shippensburg University.
"Josh finished fourth in the javelin with his best throw of the day, a 187-4," stated head coach Calvin Esh.
Wyoming Area's Marc Minichello, with a 204-1, was the gold medal winner.
Hempfield VB Returns to PIAA 3A Semifinals June 4, 2018
The Hempfield Black Knights charged into the boys' volleyball state semifinals after an intense 3-1 victory over Central Bucks East in Saturday's quarterfinal match at Exeter. For the undefeated Knights it was their 20th win of the season as they return to Exeter for Wednesday's PIAA Class-AAA semis against Emmaus.
"We got through a very tough District One second seed," said head coach Mike Vogel. "They played a smart game and took us out of our game."
The Patriots (21-5) nearly took down the Knights in the first set but Hempfield hung on for a 26-24 win. The Knights made it 2-0 with a 25-20 victory before the Patriots, who were against the wall, came back with a 27-25 win. CB East junior Dylan Colbert (23 kills) registered back-to-back kills and the Patriots, who were coming off a tough 3-2 defeat of LaSalle College in their opening-round match, avoided a sweep. Teammate Carter Haban had a match-leading 24 kills.
In fact, CB East seemed to want to stretch the match even longer.
"They had us 10-5 in the fourth game," Vogel pointed out. "We made a couple of adjustments and scored seven straight points."
Helping Hempfield cement a fourth-set victory by a 25-20 margin and take the match was Gavin Hanzelman, who had six kills in that fourth set alone. He finished with 21. Mason Scott (13 digs, one ace) was also solid.
"Ian Flood had 11 kills and 'DeTour' had nine," he added, referring to Elliott De La Torre's nickname "Gavin was unstoppable. He had 75 percent of our offense in the fourth game with his six kills. He was a machine out there."
Vogel was asked about how his squad handles momentum changes, particularly in a sport that can have several in a given match.
"There are dramatic momentum swings - probably more than in any other sport," he remarked. "No lead is safe.
"You have to shed the failures and eventually you regain momentum," continued the coach. "An opponent may gain on you and make a run; you may have a perceived bad call by the referee. You accept that you have to focus on the next play. Some athletes are great at the mental aspect of the game."
Senior Cayden Musso came through with 51 assists in this huge match. De La Torre and Flood each had three blocks while Zach Wilson registered two blocks.
For Wilson, whom Vogel called "a clutch player," it will be a second trip to the state semifinals in this, his senior year. He also was part of the Hempfield boys' soccer team that reached the state championship game in November.
Hempfield was coming off a 3-0 defeat of Pennsbury in the first round match Tuesday night at Elizabethtown. The Knights won 25-17, 25-13 and 25-16.
"We didn't get the job done defensively with our blocking against Central Bucks East," said Vogel. "Against Pennsbury, we dominated. We played very well against them."
The Falcons were also out of District One where they had beaten CB East in a close 19-17 fifth game in the district semis. However, the Knights played their game and were on the mark through the match.
"The kids played a confident match," Vogel said. "Gavin had 12 kills and played another outstanding match. Mason served 10 times in a row and got nine points for us in that third game.
"We were in control most of the match, but particularly in control in the third game," Vogel added. "We got out to a 9-0 start and won 25-16."
Wilson came through with nine kills and 10 digs. Flood had seven kills and one ace while De La Torre and Ian Willig each notched four kills.
The semifinal match will be back at Exeter against Emmaus. The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday, which is graduation day at Hempfield.
Hempfield will be looking to return to the state championship match for the first time since 2016 when the Knights brought home the state championship trophy.
In the state championships, which were held on May 25 and 26 at Shippensburg University, pole vault specialist Carena Nottoli finished fourth with a 12-foot effort on Friday.
Township Lax Teams Advance in State Playoffs June 4, 2018
In the quest to reach the state championship in lacrosse, most teams across Pennsylvania have to compete with and win against one of the formidable District One opponents.
In the first round of the PIAA Class-AAA state playoffs, the Manheim Township girls' lacrosse team did just that, defeating Owen J. Roberts by an 8-7 score on Tuesday.
"Beating any District One team in the 3A PIAA state tournament is a quality win," said head coach Mark Pinkerton. "We came out hot in the second half and took control of the game when we needed to. All in all, it was an effort to be proud of and one to build on going forward."
The Blue Streaks and the Wildcats were tied 4-4 at halftime. Township improved to 23-1 as Maris Large continued to pour on the scoring, racking up a four-goal match. Lucy Svetec added two goals and an assist while Lizzie McBride and Taylor Kopan each netted a goal and an assist.
"Lucy and Maris handled the draws well, winning 11 of 17 and the offense did a nice job of staying patient," said Pinkerton.
In a tight game like this, the play of the defense was going to be paramount.
"They had possession with a minute and half to play," said Pinkerton. "We did a great job staying dedicated to pressing out and applying aggressive ball side pressure. We got a big save from Haley with 10 seconds left on the clock."
Haley McCullough had four saves on the day.
Large had a huge game against State College on Saturday in what was a quarterfinals doubleheader at Cumberland Valley with the MT boys' game scheduled as the nightcap.
Large scored five times and assisted on another goal in the Township's 14-10 defeat of the Lions. Svetec came through with four more goals plus an assist. Kopan (2g, 1a) also chipped while both Shannon Elias and Ashlyn Campagna had two assists.
Anchoring the defense was McCullough with five saves.
The boys' team will take a 23-1 record into its semifinal game with District One foe Garnet Valley on Tuesday. The Streaks are coming off two victories over teams from western Pennsylvania.
First up was North Allegheny on Tuesday at Penn Manor.
"They are always competitive," head coach Dan Lyons said of the Tigers. "We played them two years ago in states and we won in overtime in the first round."
Following a first period that ended with the score tied 2-2, the Township offense scored seven of the next eight goals. The Streaks took a 6-3 lead into the second half and increased that to 9-3 by the end of the third quarter.
"We started out pretty strong," said Lyons. "Their goal keeper played an exceptional game - a ton of saves. He kept us off the board for a while. We were down 2-1."
When the offense did catch on, Tommy Mann went on to register a hat trick while Tre Freeman led the way with four goals and an assist.
"Eventually we were able to find the back of the net," Lyons added. "We played a smart and patient game and we took some good shots."
Lyons added that even though some of the players' names didn't make the box score, the help they provided off the bench was key in outlasting the Tigers.
"We also had a lot more depth on the bench than they did," he explained. "It was very hot and we were able to wear them down with our second midfield. As we moved down the depth chart everybody played smart and sound lacrosse."
Also coming through on the offensive end was Zach Diamond with two goals and an assist. Noah Weddigen, Tyler Kurtz, Bryce Hutchinson and Will Hurley each netted one goal while Sean Curcio had an assist to go with one score.
And what about defense?
"Caton Johnson played a fantastic game in goal," said Lyons. "North Allegheny was getting some good shots in the first half. As the game went on, our defense was dialed in on what their offense was trying to do. We started to dictate where they could and couldn't go offensively. We were shutting them down in the second half and their only goal was on a fourth-quarter penalty."
In Saturday's doubleheader nightcap at Cumberland Valley, the Streaks outscored Pine-Richland 11-6 to earn their fourth trip to the state semifinals in the past 10 years.
It was the Streaks getting out to a quick start with three first-quarter goals. They led 7-3 at the half.
"They were the District Seven number three seed," said Lyons, whose team captured the District Three crown earlier in the post season. "They've played some very good teams on their schedule."
The Rams (19-4) put together a comeback bid in the second half. But it was not enough.
The Streaks distributed their goal scoring with Mann, Curcio and Newman (1a) each scoring twice. Single goals came from Ben Mann, George Hetrick, Grayson Sallade (1a) as well as Freeman (1a) and Diamond. Hurley also added an assist.
Johnson's eight saves stymied the Rams' offense.
The PIAA Class-AAA Track & Field Championships took place on Friday and Saturday, May 25-26 where McKenzie Horn earned a gold medal while setting a state record in the pole vault.
She cleared 13-3 to set a state meet record. Horn was coming off a District Three Class-AAA championship from the previous week at Shippensburg where she cleared 13-7.25 in the same event.
Younger sister Sydney Horn earned a bronze medal in the pole vault, clearing 12-0.
"She tied her season best performance," said head coach Mark Linn.
In the 4x400-meter relay, the foursome of Peter Carrigan, Noah Tull, Anderson Velozwong and Gavin Maurer took eighth with a time of 3:22.46. They won their prelim on Friday to make the finals, doing so with a school record 3:21.02.
Warwick SB Claims Final Berth for States June 4, 2018
The Warwick District Three Championship train was derailed last Tuesday when Central York's Courtney Coppersmith pitched a no-hit gem in their semifinal matchup at Millersville helping the Panthers to an 8-0 victory.
In that game, only Katelyn Seibert reached base for the Warriors when she was walked in the fourth inning and then subsequently stole second. That was as far as she got, however, as Coppersmith's wizardry in the circle continued unchecked from that point on.
While she stymied the Warriors, Central York used a six-run third inning to pull away and added two more over the fifth and sixth for good measure. The Panthers got to starting pitcher Amanda Herr for 12 hits as she struck out six and walked one.
That loss dropped Warwick into the third-place game against fellow Section One rival Penn Manor where it was win or go home for both teams as they vied for the final berth in the PIAA tournament.
A suicide squeeze by Mackenzie Stewart in the sixth inning, which followed a two-run double by Marissa Treibley (1-3, 2RBI) in the fourth to open the scoring for both teams, plated Julia Forsythe (2-4, RBI) with what proved to be the game winner as the Warriors held off a seventh inning rally by the Comets for the 4-2 win and a ticket to States.
"I was extremely proud of the way we bounced back from being no hit Tuesday and striking out 17 times," commented head coach Mark Hough. "To turn around and only strike out seven times, log 12 hits and four runs against Brittany Hook was outstanding."
Herr and Penn Manor's Hook have led the two rivals to an even 4-4 record over their high school careers and in the end, it was their connection on one final play that closed out the final chapter of the story between the two.
Penn Manor scored twice in the bottom half of the sixth inning in response to Stewart's RBI to make the score 3-2. Julia Tappany and Hook both doubled to open the frame and Maddie Trout also doubled with two outs to score Hook.
Warwick added its final run of the game in the seventh when Forsythe's two-out single into left field allowed Danielle Jones (2-4) to score from second, but the Comets worked two runners into scoring position with two outs in the bottom half bringing Hook to the plate where her dribbler reached Herr who made the throw to first to end the game.
"The girls have worked so hard since January to reap this reward and I hope the ride continues," added Hough.
Warwick's amazing season came to an end last week when they suffered a 3-0 loss to North Allegheny in the opening round of the PIAA Championships. In order to reach states, the Warriors first had to play Governor Mifflin in a PIAA qualifier for fifth place in the District Three tournament, a match Warwick won 3-0.
Led by Foster Lobb who registered 11 kills, one ace, and 12 digs, Warwick ran out to a 2-0 lead with identical 25-17 wins and then battled through a spirited last stand by the Mustangs in a 26-24 final game. Chad Meeder and Aaron Morrissey each recorded one ace apiece with Meeder adding 12 digs as well.
With that victory Warwick earned its way into states where they opened with a first round matchup against District Seven champs North Allegheny.
Despite Noah Miller's 11 kills the Tigers proved too much for the Warriors to handle and eliminated them with a straight set shut-out 25-15, 25-21, 25-21.
The efforts of Warwick's girls in the PIAA Championship, which was held Memorial Day weekend, were richly rewarded as they brought home six medals and a new school record to boot. "I am very proud of our girls," commented head coach Alex Daecher. "They are unbelievably hard working and resilient. They really stepped up to the challenge facing the pressure (and the weather)."
Leah Graybill's fourth place finish during Saturday's 200 finals with a time of 24.70 not only represented her personal best finish, but also put her in the Warwick record book as well as the all-time leader in the event. The mark bested both her semi final run of 24.87 earlier in the day and her preliminary time of 25.36 from Friday.
Her teammate Lily Palacio-Lewis ran with her as well and posted an 11th best time of 25.42 in the semis which was not enough to advance beyond. However, the two also ran in the 100 where Lewis (12.35) took home the fifth-place medal and Graybill (12.38) finished eighth.
Graybill also teamed with Meghan Quinn, Cassidy Kline and Emily Williamson for the most successful event of the day in the 4x400 where the ladies placed third with a time of 3:50.98 while Deirdre White, Caitlyn Wagner, Williamson, and Cassidy Kline posted a seventh best 4x800 time of 9:18.8.
Unfortunately, a missed handoff in the 4x100 finals led to a disqualification for the team, but their gut check moment certainly impressed Daecher. "After getting DQ'd from the 4x100, most kids would have stuck their head in the sand and not been able to perform any more. Not our girls, they are tough as nails, physically and mentally."
Yet another medal came in the form of a seventh-place finish by Kate Dickow in the 3200 when she finished with a time of 110:54.8. Kline (45.66) also placed 14th overall in the 300 hurdles on Friday and Quinn (12.73) was 22nd in her 100 preliminary heat held the same day.
Only two Warwick boys competed in the meet as Brendan Gates and Conor Shields represented the Warriors in three events. Gates posted a 19th best time of 15.56 in the 1110 hurdles and was 18th overall in the 300 hurdles finishing in 40.62 while Shields ran 17th best in the 1600 with a final time of 4:23.31.
Barons' VB Cashes Ticket to State Semifinals June 4, 2018
It is Dejà vu all over again for the Barons boys' volleyball team, who cashed a ticket last Saturday back to the state semifinals after beating Ambridge in three sets.
Central made it to the state semis last year before its season ended.
So far, the Barons have repeated last year's script, winning the section, losing in the league and district finals and making a long run in the state tourney.
One more win will be new ground for Manheim, which faces Cambridge Springs in the semis.
To get to semis, the Barons picked up some impressive victories. They beat Palumbo Academy in straight sets in last Tuesday's first round, 25-11, 25-9, and 25-15.
This was a good bounce back win after losing in the District Three Class 2A finals to Northeastern for a second straight year.
"The team responded nicely and we were very focused," head coach Craig Dietrich said. "We blocked really well and our offense was clicking."
Mason Nissley and Tanner Stauffer led the way at the net. Nissley, a junior outside hitter, had a big night with 18 kills, four blocks and five service aces, including four consecutive aces to close out the second game. Stauffer added seven kills and four blocks.
Manheim's outstanding setter Ben Burkhart contributed with 38 assists and two digs.
This win allowed the Barons to advance to the quarterfinals, where they dismantled western Pa. power Ambridge in three sets, 25-14, 25-20 and 25-16.
Dietrich said the team defense was outstanding in Game One, noting that overall they had a well-balanced attack on offense and dug "a ton of balls" defensively.
The Barons finished with 25 digs in three games. Leaders were Gabe Stewart and Brandyn Musser (3 kills, 1 block) with seven and eight digs, respectively.
At the net, Musser put down 22 kills and Stauffer contributed 11. Burkhart, Dietrich said, spread the ball around nicely and finished with 36 assists.
There is an old saying in sports that it is hard to beat a team three times. Even more difficult is beating a team three times by one run each time. That's what Donegal did this year in softball against Manheim Central.
The most frustrating loss for the Barons came last Thursday at Millersville University in a 2-1 defeat that thwarted the Barons' hopes of making the state playoffs and ended their season.
"They (Donegal) are good," head coach Gary Lefever said, "but so are we."
Manheim got to the final state qualifier game by beating Garden Spot 1-0 last Tuesday. Lefever said the key to the win was the pitching of Maddie Walter, who also knocked in the only run with an RBI in the top of the sixth inning.
This set up another matchup with Donegal.
Central got on the scoreboard early, posting a run in the first inning after Codi Bollinger led off the game with a walk. She advanced to second on a single by Walter.
A fake bunt attempt by the Barons' No. 4 hitter, Jordan Walter, forced the Indians into a situation where no one covered third base as Bollinger stole third.
With the throw from the catcher to third base going into left field, Bollinger scored on the error, making it 1-0.
This is where the score remained through the top of the fourth inning, but Donegal got a two-out single and put a few hits together to score two runs, making it 2-1 Indians.
The Barons didn't go down without a fight and put runners in scoring position to tie or win the game. In the sixth inning, sisters Maddie and Jordan Walter both belted singles, but were left stranded.
In the top of the seventh, Central (16-8) got a leadoff single by Tayler Lauver. She worked her way to second with one out, but was left stranded to end the game.
Maddie Walter pitched another gem to keep the Indians off balance and limited them to five hits and two runs, Lefever said
He said the season was highlighted by Central's outstanding pitching and timely hitting in most games. The Barons graduate five seniors, which will take its toll, but Lefever said the outlook is good for 2019.
"We have a nice core of starters remaining," said Lefever, who returns Jade Trovinger, Lily Wagner, Maddy Barbush, Bollinger and Jordan Walter. "I anticipate a few talented freshmen coming into the program to help us and a few 2018 JV players stepping up into an important role.
"We will challenge most teams again in 2019. MC softball is alive and well!"
Senior BJ Bollinger qualified for the semifinals in the girls' 100 hurdles in the state track meet held May 25-26 at Shippensburg University. She did not make the finals in the 300 hurdles, but equaled her best time of 46.17, finishing 15th in the event.
Head coach Russ White said Zach Reed showed he belonged in the boys 300 hurdles, running his second best time of 40.6. It was not good enough to qualify for the finals, but was still one of the best times in the state, White said.
Ryan Carter cleared 14 feet in the pole vault, but went out at 14-6. White believed Carter placed 10th in the state.
Mares Finish Third in District Three Class 5A June 4, 2018
Solanco continued its run through the post-season with two games last week. Unfortunately their quest to reach their first District Three Class 5A finals came to an end Tuesday afternoon with a 2-0 loss to No. 4 Twin Valley. With little time to lament, the Mares rebounded one night later with a 5-3 win over Spring Grove to claim third place in the district.
"This matches our highest finish in the district tournament," stated head coach Brett Miller. "We were fourth in 2014 and 2007 and third in both 1998 and '96. And our 22 wins currently ties the most wins in a season."
Tuesday's game at Warwick High School featured a pair of junior pitchers. TV's Grace Marsalo allowed just four hits and a walk, and struck out 10 batters to edge the top seeded Mares (22-2). Hanna Phillips gave up six hits, struck out seven and walked four.
The Raiders, who have won 16 of their last 18 games, scored the only runs they needed in the top of the fifth. Sophia Palyan leaned into a pitch, reaching base with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved her to second and with two outs, Emily Shumacher's blooper to left plated the first run.
Coach Miller elected to intentionally walk Marsalo (2-3) and, after a second hit batter, Hannah Norton worked a bases loaded walk for Twin Valley's second run.
"We spent a lot of time trying to find the strike zone," said Miller.
"Their pitcher threw very well and we did have some aggressive contact hitting but we needed to generate more opportunities," he added.
Solanco did threaten in the seventh when Skyla Townsley and Phillips (2-3) connected for back-to-back singles and moved up on Alyssa Henretty's sacrifice bunt. The key hit, however, never came.
Having already qualified for states, Wednesday's matchup against Spring Grove was for seeding. Under the lights at Millersville, Solanco took an early 3-0 lead, survived a three-run rally and prevailed 5-3 to finish in third place.
McClune opened the third inning with her second hit of the day, a double. Randi Rambo added a base hit and Liz Mower followed with a two run double. Sierra Dean's one out blooper over short plated Mower, who moved to third on a passed ball.
Both teams went three up, three down in the fourth and McClune fired up the troops with a diving stop at second and threw Spring Grove's No. 8 hitter, Sara Jones, out from her knees. A strikeout and a popup quickly ended the fifth.
Solanco picked up a single run in the bottom half on a Rambo base hit and an error, pushing their lead to 4-0 before Spring Grove's sixth inning rally. The Rockets batted around, collecting a leadoff triple and back-to-back singles. A one out error plated the second run of the game and a two out single down the right field line closed the lead to one, 4-3. Phillips walked the No. 9 hitter and Rambo scooped up a bases loaded grounder to end the inning.
The Mares seemed unconcerned with the Rocket rally and responded with another single run. Townsley tripled to the center field fence and scored on Henretty's fielder's choice.
"We had another shaky inning," said Miller. "We need to play better defense behind Hanna. We exchanged a run for an out but you can only do that so often.
"But we responded well to their rally," he added. "And Hanna performed well (7K, 1W, 8H). The humidity and heat on Tuesday was very draining.
"Third place is another accomplishment and now we have the opportunity to compete in States," he added.
The baseball team celebrated the end of its season with the announcement of all-stars and team award winners. Junior third baseman John Murray was a first team section two all-star. He batted .383 with 11 RBI's and six doubles. Second team all-stars included senior outfielder Trent Myers, junior pitcher Corey Stively, junior infielder and pitcher Dawson Kreider, junior DH and catcher Hunter Shaw and junior outfielder Tim Fetterman.
Head coach Tom Fish then announced the team award winners. Murray was Offensive Player of the Year, Kreider was Player of the Year, and Myers received the Harold 'Pete' Suter award for the top senior.
"John did it all for us at the plate," said Fish. "All season long, hitting in the middle of the order, he was a tough out and our team leader in extra base hits, and RBI's.
"Dawson played great at short this year," he continued. "He led the team in stolen bases, runs, on base percentage and saves. He's one of the toughest kids I've ever coached. And he always took the ball for us when we needed him on the mound. He also led our team in hit by pitches.
"And Trent. I will miss Trent," said Fish. "He earned three varsity letters and is a fearless kid, never intimidated. He played hard, practiced hard, ran the bases hard and swung the bat hard and has a canon of an arm from right field. He hopes to continue playing baseball at Cecil and I hope we prepared him for that. He has a lot of attributes that will serve him well at the next level."
Spartans Post Winningest Season Since 1997 June 1, 2018
The 2018 Spartans' softball season shattered team records offensively as well as a number of individual records on what was Garden Spot's winningest season since 1997.
"We scored 187 runs; we had 226 hits, setting team records in most doubles, triples and home runs," head coach Kim King pointed out.
It was therefore surprising that the team's season came to a close following back-to-back losses in the District Three Class 5A playoffs - both by the score of 1-0. The second of these was to Lancaster-Lebanon League rival Manheim Central in a consolation game at York College on Tuesday.
"It was ironic that we scored 187 runs and we couldn't score one in our last two games," King said. "Out of the 226 hits this year, we couldn't get that timely hit. I told the girls this was the best-hitting team I've ever had here."
Following their opening-round victory at Lower Dauphin on May 23, the ninth-seeded Spartans traveled to Millersville University to take on top-seeded Solanco in the quarterfinals the following day.
The loss set up the consolation game at York. The Barons held the Spartans to four hits in a heartbreaking loss.
Despite the defeat, Elizabeth King pitched a complete game.
"Elizabeth pitched great," said the Spartan coach. "They had some hits, but nothing solid. They had a bloop double, a bunt single and scored on a ground ball to second base. We played good defense."
The four Garden Spot hits came from King, her battery mate Desiree High and from Megan Fisher, who had two hits.
Solanco scored an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth inning to break the scoreless deadlock. It spoiled a strong effort by King, who recorded 10 strikeouts.
Solanco starter Hannah Phillips registered 11 strikeouts and worked out of a big Spartan scoring threat in the first frame.
Ally King bunted her way on with one out. Elizabeth King doubled to put runners on second and third.
"They walked Megan Fisher, which usually gets the next batter pumped up," said King.
However, two infield pop outs extinguished that first frame flame.
"When you load the bases in the first inning, even if you don't score you're hopeful," said King. "Hannah Phillips shut us down the rest of the game."
Garden Spot's ace was matching Phillips out-for-out and only gave up two hits through eight innings as the scoreless game went into extras.
"They were both controlling the game, mixing their pitches and hitting their spots," King said. "They had a bloop single and a blooper over first base for a double."
With runners on second and third and only one out, King made a visit to the mound and talked to her pitcher about loading the bases with an intentional walk.
"I asked her about setting up a force out at home by walking the bases loaded," she explained. "Elizabeth said she wanted to go after the next batter. She struck her out."
However, a fielding error gave Solanco the winning run.
Because the top five teams in Class 5A qualify for the state playoffs, making it past the quarterfinals would have punched the team's ticket to states.
"We were one win away - maybe just one hit away from our league championship," King said. "We missed an opportunity. All year we had come back and scored the run we needed. The girls felt that way too."
The 2019 team potentially returns the entire infield as well as the team's ace hurler. The spots that will be left open will be those vacated by seniors Brandi Clark, who roamed center field for four years, and Abigail Foor.
"It's going to be a different look for us in the outfield," said King. "It will be sad to see them go."
If there's improvement next year in terms of wins, King would break the single-season record for most wins by a pitcher (15) at Garden Spot. She also set a team record in 2018 with 197 strikeouts and two no-hitters.
In all, the Spartans set 23 offensive records between team accomplishments and individual records.
Comets End Season in District Consolations June 1, 2018
The Comets are not newcomers to the District Three Class 6A Tournament. They have qualified each of the last three years and the past two years they advanced to the finals opposite Chambersburg. Unfortunately, the Trojans finished on top, 13-2 last year and 1-0 in 10 innings in 2016.
This year Penn Manor ended that string of losses, defeating Chambersburg 8-1 in the opening round on May 24. The No. 3 seed Comets hosted the No. 7 Trojans (15-8) at Manor Middle School.
The Comets, with ten hits on the day, scored two unearned runs in the first inning, two more in the fourth and left little doubt of the outcome with a four-run sixth to end Chambersburg's season early.
Brittany Hook anchored the defense, surrendering just two hits on the day. She struck out 13 and walked one.
The Trojans' pitching staff walked four batters and the defense behind them committed three miscues to help the Comets along.
With Chambersburg out of the way, the Comets were looking to once again advance to the title game. Last Tuesday, however, that goal was cut short when Central Dauphin upended the local favorite 5-0 in the semifinals played at Lebanon Valley College.
"Uncharacteristically we had one bad inning and it cost us," said head coach Dave Stokes. "We dropped a ball in the outfield, had one of our infielders commit their first error of the year and things just snowballed. All five of their runs were unearned."
The Rams (15-5), with the help of four Comet miscues, scored all of their runs in the second inning.
The Comets managed just four hits on the day and gained just one free base.
Hook, a University of South Florida commit, retired eight batters and scattered six hits in the loss.
In a consolation game the very next night at Millersville University, the Comets once again went up against Section One foe Warwick. The two teams split the regular season series with Warwick winning 2-0 on April 12 and Manor returning the favor with a 7-3 result April 30. This time, however, a berth in the PIAA tournament was at stake and the Warriors won the rubber match 4-2.
"We had some mental mistakes running and some errors costs us," Stokes said. "And we gave up base hits with runners on."
After falling behind 3-0 after 5.5 innings, the Comets got on board with two in the bottom of the sixth. Julia Tappany, Hook and Madison Trout all collected doubles to spark the comeback. After giving up one more run in the top of the seventh, another rally was in the making. Sophia Rineer reached on an error and Tappany singled to right but a ground out ended the threat and Manor's season at 17-5.
Hook fanned seven batters, pushing her career strikeout total to an impressive 998. "We were hoping to go over 1,000," said Stokes. "And if the Lancaster Catholic and Cocalico games would not have been cancelled, that would have happened. Brittany has had a phenomenal career at Penn Manor. And our seniors played well this week," he added. "It was a good season with the young squad we had."
The Comets have qualified for the PIAA tournament each of the last three seasons.
While the Comets fell short in advancing to the state tournament, a handful of track and field Comets did compete in the State Championships at Shippensburg University May 25-26.
Taraje Whitfield, with a pair of second place seeds, was Manor's top place winner. The senior settled for a silver medal finish in the 300 hurdles (37.62) and was fourth in the 110 highs (14.43).
Running the prelims on Friday afternoon, Whitfield clocked a 39.1 to win his 300 heat and won his heat in the 110 highs with a 14.9 to get to the finals. Unfortunately, North Allegheny's Ayden Owens, one of the nation's top ranked hurdlers posted gold medal times, winning the 110 highs with a meet record 13.69, and the 300's in 36.68.
Whitfield also competed with David Kramer, Chad Mowbray and Theoren McElheny in the 4x400 relay. Seeded 14th with a 3:22.26, the Comets finished second in their heat with an improved 3:21.03 but did not place.
Kramer competed in the 800, posting a 2:08.89 in the prelims and Mowbray finished 5th in his preliminary heat of the open 400 with a 51.28. They did not advance.
Also on the track, Alyssa Schriver raced a 59.50 in the 400, finishing fifth in the prelims.
In the field events, Sarah Harthan tied for 10th place in the pole vault, clearing 11-0 and Jaylyn Clow was 15th in the discus with a toss of 112-04. She was the highest placing freshman in the event.
Indians Finish 5th in Districts, Qualify for States June 1, 2018
While a District Three title was off the table due to a 10-5 quarterfinal loss to longtime rivals Lampeter-Strasburg, the Donegal Indians softball team will still have the opportunity to defend their PIAA Championship after working their way through the consolation bracket with a 9-6 defeat of Northeastern and a 2-1 victory over Manheim Central to claim the fifth and final qualifying position.
"That is the hardest thing you can do," head coach Wayne Emenheiser stated. "We have always put a lot of pride in making states."
Facing the Pioneers in the quarterfinals, a team that beat the Indians twice in two days to claim the Section Three title, Donegal put up three runs in the fifth inning in answer to a 3-0 lead built by L-S but watched them jump ahead for good in the sixth and add two more for insurance in the seventh.
Peighton Hornick secured her second RBI of the game on a single in the bottom of the seventh and a fielding error by the Pioneers allowed another run to cross the plate making it 10-5, but it was the last run Donegal would score on the day.
Sierra Neiss pitched a complete game in the loss allowing 11 hits while striking out six and walking eight.
Dropping into the consolations it was win or go home for the Indians and they responded by pulling out a 9-6 win over the Northeastern Bobcats.
After scoring three runs to start the first inning that featured singles by Grace Miller (4-5) and Hornick (3-5) as well as timely walks to Morgan Biesecker (2-4) and Stephanie Reider (2-4), starting pitcher Neiss surrendered two runs in the bottom half of the inning to make it 3-2.
Donegal stretched the lead to 6-2 over the next two innings but a run by the Bobcats in the sixth cut that to 6-3 before the Indians took advantage of a wild pitch on the way to scoring three more during their turn at the plate for a 9-3 lead.
A late one-out rally by Northeastern resulted in three more runs in the seventh before Neiss, was able to force two ground outs to end the threat and set up the showdown with the Barons.
Once again giving up a run early in the first inning, Donegal was unable to generate any offense against Manheim Central until the fourth inning when a double by Rachel Overlander (2-3, RBI) plated Cheyenne Klinedinst, running for Neiss who singled to start the inning, tied the game.
Overlander then scored the eventual game winner when Aysha Gibbs (2-3, RBI) singled to center field and brought her home from second base.
In the grand finale to the track and field season, four representatives of Donegal took part in the PIAA Championships during two hot and steamy days at Shippensburg University over Memorial Day weekend.
Three of those results were within the top 20 finishes in the state, with one in 21st place, but it was senior Alice Fernald who nearly set a new Donegal school record in the 400 while claiming the only medal for the Indians when she placed sixth in Saturday's finals.
Fernald finished with a time of 57.19 which was only a whisper behind North Penn's Natalie Kwortnik (57.13) and .08 away from the school record of 57.11 which was set in 2009 by Tori Spence.
It also represented her personal best which she originally posted during Friday's preliminary heat in which she qualified fifth with a time of 57.25.
She also competed in Friday's 4x400 preliminary heat alongside Ashley Maxwell, Taylor Nissly, and Hailey Fry. The lady Indians missed the qualifying cut but finished 15th overall with a time of 4:01.9.
Seniors Brooks Bear and Avery Walker represented the boys in the shot put and triple jump, respectively, which were both held during Friday's events. Bear finished 12th overall with a throw of 49-3.25 and Walker 21st with a jump of 43-3.
Eastern York Bows in District 3 4-A Semifinals May 31, 2018
Eastern York's softball postseason run took a detour on May 29th with a 12-3 District 3-4A semifinal loss to West Perry. The defeat bounced the Lady Golden Knights from the championship bracket and into the consolation final.
"Well it pretty much didn't go as we hoped it would," said head coach Brad Rohrbaugh. "When you get to the final four teams you can't make mistakes and the bats need to be red hot, and we came up short in both."
The issues that Rohrbaugh mentioned popped up early and left Eastern staring at a quick 3-0 hole. The bats that produced 24 hits and 21 runs in the previous ten innings managed just one hit over the first two innings against West Perry. Meanwhile the Lady Mustangs collected three hits including a two-run homerun that broke up the scoreless start. The first of five Eastern York errors led to the third run and the West Perry rout was on.
The Lady Golden Knights mounted a third inning rally that temporarily gave Eastern York life but West Perry countered with a five-run bottom half, killing any momentum that Eastern managed. Kelsey Felix and Morgan Winter provided the pop for Eastern's two run spurt. Felix pushed Katie Lehman across with a one-out double while Winter plated Bailee Merriel with a single.
West Perry's counter started with four straight singles and didn't end until the Lady Mustangs had stretched their lead to 8-2. The scene repeated on a smaller scale after a scoreless fourth for both sides. West Perry plated two more runs in the fifth, this time chasing Maelynn Leber from the circle. Leber's day ended after 4.1 innings, 16 hits, two walks, three strikeouts, ten runs and the loss on her resume. Analise Fenwick was able to get out of the fifth without further damage but the Lady Mustangs tacked on another two runs in the sixth.
"West Perry is the best team we've played this season hands down, they are very fundamentally sound and hit very well tonight," stated Rohrbaugh.
Eastern York's postseason run came to an end one day later when the Lady Golden Knights dropped a 6-5 final to Bishop McDevitt in the consolation final. With the loss Eastern finishes the season with a 14-7 record.
The game played out like a roller coaster thanks to back-and-forth play from the two sides. McDevitt jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a first inning solo blast before tacking on another single run in the fourth. Eastern York appeared to grab control of the game with a five-run outburst in the top of the fifth but McDevitt wasted no time working on Eastern's lead. A single run came in the bottom half of the frame to make it 5-3, setting the stage for the final game winning push where back to back doubles from the Lady Crusaders in the bottom of the seventh made it a 5-4 game. McDevitt wrapped up the comeback with one swing from Alyssa Harhigh who connected on a two-run shot to seal the 6-5 victory.
Leber covered seven innings to absorb the loss, adding six strikeouts to the 10 hits and six runs allowed. Lehman accounted for two of Eastern's six hits but the work of Winter, Felix and Fenwick produced Lady Golden Knight runs. Felix and Fenwick combined for two singles but only Felix collected hers during Eastern's fifth inning rally. Fenwick kicked started that rally with a sac fly, giving the pair one RBI each. Winter accounted for the remaining three runs with a bases clearing double that broke up the 2-2 tie created with Felix's single.
If revenge is a dish best served cold then the Eastern York softball team handed out a gigantic dish of freezing cold revenge with their District 3-4A quarterfinal win over Kennard-Dale on May 24th. The reason, both squads hail from YAIAA's Division III and the Lady Rams claimed the two regular season meetings by a combined 22-2 on their way to a perfect division mark. That made Eastern's 4-3 district victory not only surprising but also that much sweeter.
"It was their absolute best game this season," Rohrbaugh stated.
Leber was the star of the show, picking up the win on the mound while collecting three hits and driving in two runs. She picked up the first of her two RBI in the top of the first with a double that allowed Fenwick to score, giving the visiting Lady Golden Knights a quick 1-0 lead.
Leber's day at the plate started well but things did not go as smoothly with her first trip into the circle. The sophomore hurler gave up three first inning singles, leading to two KD runs and a 2-1 deficit.
Both pitchers settled down after the rocky first, leading to a scoreless second. Eastern York regained the lead with a two-run burst in the top of the third. Haidyn Shaffer and Fenwick opened the rally with back-to-back bunt singles. Lehman set the stage for more Leber heroics with a sac bunt that moved both runners into scoring position. Leber capitalized on the setup with a single that scored Shaffer and moved Fenwick to third. Two batters later Felix broke up the 2-2 tie with one of her two hits, giving Eastern York a 3-2 lead.
The two pitchers regained control for the next inning and a half, allowing a combined two hits and one walk to leave Eastern York on top 3-2 heading into the top of the fifth. That is where the Lady Golden Knights tacked on additional insurance. Leber kicked things off with a one-out double, moving to third on Megan Myers ground out. Felix picked up her second RBI of the game by singling to right which allowed Leber to score for a 4-2 cushion.
Eastern York's second insurance run proved necessary as Leber found trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Kennard-Dale loaded the bases with three straight one-out singles, threatening the lead Eastern had worked so hard to build. The Lady Rams managed one run during the threat as Leber induced a fielder's choice groundout and an infield pop-up to shut the rally down.
Neither side was able to get anything going in the final two frames, leaving Eastern York as the 4-3 victor. Leber finished her outing by throwing 84 of her 124 pitches for strikes, leading to six punchouts and three walks to go with eight KD hits and three earned runs.
"Maelynn on the mound just had it clicking, her location was her best, she had movement on the ball, and mixing it up was stellar," said Rohrbaugh.
Leber's three hits paced the offense while Felix and Fenwick offered up multi-hit games as back up. Amber Forry and Shaffer accounted for the final two base knocks while Fenwick and Leber added one free pass each.
Eastern York earned that quarterfinal rubber match with Kennard-Dale by trouncing Fleetwood one day prior.
"I expected a much tougher game with them because they are from an area of the state that year after year is strong and they play very well," Rohrbaugh stated.
Leber pitched all three innings in the 17-1 thrashing while picking up three hits and driving in four runs. Leber's only trouble of the game came in the top of the second, with Eastern York already up 4-0. Leber surrendered a leadoff double that eventually became the Lady Tigers lone run. That double was one of two hits that Fleetwood managed with Leber adding five strikeouts and no walks to her outstanding game.
The Lady Knights jumped out to that four-run lead with a strong first inning that started with a lead-off double from Fenwick. Lehman, Leber and Winter added three straight singles for a 2-0 lead. McKenzie Buchmyer poked a one-out single to make it a 3-0 game while Winter scored the final run of the frame on a passed ball.
Eastern answered Fleetwood's second inning score with a 13-run outburst, turning a somewhat close 4-1 contest into a 17-1 mercy-rule blowout. The Lady Golden Knights sent 16 batters to the plate, rapping out 10 of their 15 hits, and picking up both of their free passes all while getting help from Fleetwood in the form of an error and passed ball.
Shaffer was the first of nine straight Lady Golden Knights to reach base with a lead-off single. Fenwick followed by earning one of the two free passes in the inning. Lehman took advantage and drove in a run with a single for a 5-1 lead. Leber followed with a two-run double to make it 7-1 which shook Fleetwood's pitcher causing her to hit Winter. Felix made it 8-1 with her lone hit of the game while Buchmyer kept the rally rolling with a RBI bunt single. Morgan Dobbeck made it two straight bunt singles for Eastern York, setting the stage for Forry's two run single that ended the nine-batter run with the Lady Golden Knights up 11-1.
After one quick out, Eastern got back to work with Fenwick's run producing single. The lead moved to 13-1 on a passed ball during Lehman's second at-bat that became the second walk of the inning. Leber picked up her fourth and final RBI with a single that made it 14-1 with Winter smacking a double for another Lady Golden Knight run. Another Fleetwood miscue allowed Leber to race home and moved Winter to third, setting the stage for Felix's second RBI on a fielder's choice for Eastern York's final run.
The track and field season concluded on May 25th and 26th with four Lady Golden Knights taking part in the PIAA-2A Championships at Shippensburg University. Maddie McLain finished her stellar carrier with a bronze medal winning run of 11:04.55 in the 3200m. She added a 12th place finish in the 1600m after turning in a 5:24.57 in the finals on Saturday.
Taylor Currier, a fellow senior, also took part in two events. She started her weekend on Friday with a 19th place finish in the long jump, with a best jump of 16'. She reached the medal stand on Saturday by finishing seventh in the triple jump, covering 36-9.
Eastern York's final two representatives both saw their seasons end in the preliminary round of their respective events. Hannah Myers finished third in her 400m prelim heat but her 60.52 left her 0.70 seconds shy of the semifinals. Madison Nalls placed 11th in her 800m heat with a time of 2:26.84, leaving Nalls just over four seconds shy of advancing.