As the slow pop-up rose into the heavy air of Beard Field at the Nittany Lion Softball Park scores of green and white clad fans collectively held their breath as they tracked the flight of what turned out to be the final out of a stellar softball season and the end of a game that epitomized the never-say-die attitude of this phenomenal group of players.
With the smack of ball into leather the crowd erupted as right fielder McKenna Berg closed her glove and secured not only the out, but the guarantee that for the second time in Donegal softball history PIAA gold would belong to the lady Indians.
It also marked the second time in the past seven months Donegal brought home a PIAA championship as the field hockey team realized the same accomplishment in November. Teammates Rachel Robinson, Grace Miller, and Rachael Overlander were all members of that historic run as well.
Amidst the cheers and a slight cloud of infield dust a pile of elated young ladies shared smiles, laughter, and tears as they reveled in a feeling that only those who have fought together as a team and faced down adversity to come out on the side of victory can fully understand.
Donegal may have come away with the final prize in Friday's 9-7 win over Cedar Cliff in the PIAA 5A championship but it was anything but easy as they twice had to overcome a deficit, including a six-run fifth inning by the Colts that erased a 3-1 lead the ladies had built in the previous at bat.
With their goal firmly in sight, the Tribe battled back and answered the call with six runs of its own in the bottom of the inning and in turn bolstered the confidence of freshman relief pitcher Sierra Neiss, who was the victim of a three-run blast off the bat of Colts' Maddie Sitler that easily cleared the fence in center field increasing the lead to 7-3.
"Sierra did a great job, she came in and made good pitches, only an unfortunate play with the sun getting in our fielder's eyes giving CC an additional at bat hurt her," commented head coach Wayne Emenheiser referring to a small pop-up that dropped in untouched behind third base. "But she regrouped from that and threw two scoreless innings to finish the deal."
The young pitcher took the ball from ace Mikayla Yoder who surrendered four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits over four and a third innings, including a solo shot over the left field fence by Karson Hastings to open the fifth.
After a shaky start in the first inning, in which a throwing error allowed McDonald to reach third and eventually score on a sacrifice fly by Olivia Jordan, Yoder worked her way out of trouble and ended the inning with the Colts ahead 1-0.
Donegal came back in the fourth when Yoder (1-3, double) stepped to the plate with one out and sent the first pitch she saw from Colts' pitcher Avery Winchall over Hasting's head in left field to end up on second.
Kaitlyn Witmer (2-3, double, 3 RBI) worked a walk and Hornick (1-2, 1 RBI) sent a single into center field which plated Jessica Kosheba, courtesy runner for Yoder, to tie the game at 1-1.
Enter Robinson, the consummate, unflappable leader who could very easily make the case as the best individual athlete to walk the halls of Donegal and is most assuredly a shoe-in for a future spot in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
When asked about his star second baseman, Emenheiser acknowledged not only Robinson but his entire group of graduating seniors saying, "Rachel as well as all of the seniors have showed great leadership and the never-give-up-attitude their entire careers, I believe that is why they really had so much success during their careers, along with being tremendously talented softball players."
He also knows the intangibles that come along with having such an experienced group of veterans, "The seniors are a great group of young ladies; between all of them they have played over 450 varsity games and have won every team championship possible, Section, League, District and now State Championship. It has been an honor watching them play and coaching them over the last four years, seeing them mature into the amazing young ladies they all are. We will miss all of them and what they brought to this historic team."
As is most often the case in athletics the playmakers come through in the clutch, and this time was no exception as Robinson (2-3, triple, 3 RBI) ripped a shot into left field that got by Hastings for a bases-clearing triple and a 3-1 Donegal lead.
Cedar Cliff, which eliminated Donegal from the District Three tournament with a 9-5 semifinal victory, proved that it belonged in the title game as well by putting up the monster fifth inning that could very easily have demoralized the Indians.
Unfortunately, for the Colts, quitting is not in the Indians' DNA and they never hung their heads or got caught up in negative thoughts.
"The one thing about our group is that they never get stressed and never give up. I truly believe they do not look at the opponent but look at what they need to do to win," stated Emenheiser. "I did not need to say anything after the top of the fifth, they were focused from the time they got to the dugout to turn things around."
Showing cracks in the armor, Winchell surrendered back-to-back walks to Emily Graham (0-2, run scored) and Savanna Kolenda (0-3, run scored) in the bottom half of the fifth.
Now, feeling a shift in momentum, Donegal's offense rose to the challenge as Morgan Biesecker (1-4, 1 RBI) singled home Graham and Yoder worked Winchell for her third walk of the inning to load the bases.
Sensing an opportunity, Witmer (2-3, double, 3 RBI) calmly stepped to the plate and showed the stadium why she finished the season with the third highest batting average at .455.
With the count at 1-2 the senior first baseman ripped a line drive past a diving Naomi Englehart in right-center for a bases-clearing double to knot the game at 7-7.
Robinson's second hit of the game went for a single that plated Witmer for the 8-7 lead, and Berg (1-3) followed with a single into shallow right that advanced Robinson to second base before Neiss (1-33, 1RBI) sent her home on a base hit to make it 9-7 heading into the sixth.
Neiss, her confidence restored, settled in on the rubber and retired five of the final seven batters she faced to finish with three unearned runs on four hits and one strikeout.
Cedar Cliff threatened in both of the remaining innings as McDonald singled and stole second in the sixth, but was thrown out
attempting to steal third, and Jordan doubled to start the seventh, advancing to third on a sacrifice fly by Winchell.
A put-out by Kolenda at short and the final pop-up to Berg in right sealed the deal for the ladies and completed a win for the ages.
To reach the finals Donegal faced Section Three foe Lampeter-Strasburg in the semifinals and handled the Pioneers, 7-0. It was the fourth time the Indians defeated L-S in five tries this season.
Junior left fielder Grace Miller played superb defense tracking down five fly balls including two diving catches to help keep the L-S offense in check.
Yoder pitched five innings of four hit ball while Neiss only surrendered two hits over the final two.
Hornick (3-4, double, 2RBI) and Robinson (2-4, double, 2RBI) led at the plate for the Indians.
Eight years prior to Friday's romping celebration in the infield another medal ceremony took place on the infield of Glatfelter Field in Columbia.
That one marked the end of a 10u tournament featuring a Mount Joy team and a Maytown team that battled to an international tiebreak finish in the championship game.
No less than four of the players on the field that day in 2009 comprised the starting lineup of Friday's game and I am sure there were more than this aging writer's memory can recall.
As the parents of both teams gathered on the field to take photos to add to half-filled scrapbooks, Chris Miller, former Donegal baseball coach and father of Grace, looked around and announced to those of us on the field that we could very well be looking at a future state championship team.
Congratulations to those young ladies whose childhood dreams from that day finally came true on a hot day in State College, as well as every other player in the dugout on Friday whose name will be forever associated with a part of Donegal history.
Eastern York Caps Season in PIAA Quarterfinals June 14, 2017
The dream run through the 2017 postseason has officially come to an end for the Eastern York softball team. The magical journey that took the Lady Golden Knights through their first District 3 Championship game and into the PIAA tournament ended with a 15-4, five inning quarterfinal loss on June 8th to District 1 champ, Tunkhannock. With the loss, Eastern York finished with a 17-7 mark.
Eastern wasn't able to keep pace with the Lady Tigers, falling behind by a 3-0 count after just one inning. That made the Lady Golden Knights' failed rally in the top of the first painful enough but what happened in the second basically ended the game.
Tunkhannock sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the second, leading to nine runs and a 12-0 lead. Despite the seemingly insurmountable lead, Eastern York kept working, pushing two runs across in the top of the third to keep that comeback hope alive a bit longer. Morgan Winter was responsible for those runs, drilling a double for her only hit of the game.
The Lady Tigers got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the frame, making it 13-2 after three innings. The Lady Golden Knights were not finished fighting, plating another two runs in the fourth courtesy of RBI hits by Alalise Fenwick and Morgan Dobbeck. That moved the score to 13-4 and gave Eastern York a bit of hope. Unfortunately, Tunkhannock squashed that hope, plating two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth, making it 15-4 and bringing the 10-run rule into play as the fifth inning got underway.
Needing to score at least two runs to keep the game and their season alive, the Lady Golden Knights went to work. The result was two baserunners just two batters into the inning which turned into runners on the corners with just one out. That one out quickly became three as the Lady Tigers pulled off an inning and game ending double play.
Maelynn Leber absorbed the brunt of the damage on the mound for Eastern York despite a short one and two third inning stay in the circle. The typically sensational freshman allowed eight hits and 10 earned runs over those five outs but did not issue a walk or pick up a strikeout. Fenwick covered the final three and one third inning for Eastern, surrendering the final five runs on five hits and two walks.
Fenwick finished with two of Eastern York's 11 hits, joining Dobbeck and Haidyn Shaffer in the multi-hit club. Winter, Katie Lehman, Megan Myers, Amber Forry and Kierstin Grove completed the offense with one hit each.
Three Comet Teams Fall in State Tournaments June 12, 2017
With volleyball, softball and baseball all competing in the PIAA playoffs last week, the Comets were well represented despite season-ending losses.
It's the time of the year when the only team that finishes with a victory is the team that wins the state title. The Comets, in Class 6A action, opened their bid for that elusive crown last Monday afternoon at Patriots Park in Allentown. They suffered just a 2-0 loss, only their third of the season, to Bethlehem Liberty.
"I'm very proud of what this team accomplished," said head coach Dave Stokes. "We finished at 23-3, won the section and won our first ever Lancaster-Lebanon League championship for the best season ever for Penn Manor softball.
"So many things have to go right for a team to win the district and state tournaments," he added. "We played well. We executed and moved runners into scoring position, more often than they did, but we didn't get the key hit.
"Brittany Hook only had one strikeout, a season-low, but she threw well," he continued. "She had one of her lowest pitch counts of the season."
Hook, who has 780 career strikeouts to date, retired the first ten batters she faced before giving up a one out single in the fourth.
Back-to-back doubles in the fifth put Liberty on the board.
"Those two doubles were their hardest hits of the game," said Stokes.
They tacked on one more in the sixth, a manufactured run if you will. They singled, took advantage of an error and a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly.
"They had two opportunities to score and they scored on both of them," noted Stokes. "We had several opportunities and left seven base runners stranded."
Pam Perez connected for two of Manor's four hits.
"We lose four seniors (Perez, Morgan Yingling, Addie Long and Abby Busswood) and they will be missed," said Stokes. "They were all two year starters and some played as sophomores. But we'll have Brittany back, along with Sydney Duplissey and Julia Tappany as our core starters. Cheyenne Ortman, Kloe Sanchez and Lauren Sensenish also return. And we have 12 incoming freshman. I don't think we've ever had a freshman group that size. So we'll see what next year brings.
"This year's group was a pleasure to coach," he added. "They all got along and everyone was pulling in the same direction. That was definitely a key to our success."
Penn Manor's three-plus weeks of playoff games came to a close last Thursday in the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals at Newport High School. The Comets dropped a 3-1 final to State College. It's the first time Manor has reached the quarterfinals since 2005, when they won the state title.
"They just beat us," said head coach Jim Zander. "We have nothing to hang our heads about. We were down 3-0. Made it 3-1. We only struck out once but ran into a couple of double plays."
The District 6 champs jumped in front with one run in the second inning on two hits and a walk. They added two more runs on four hits one inning later.
The Comets got on board in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Witmer reached on an infield single and later scored on a Dalton Landis base hit. The Comets collected four hits that inning (Dalton Frey and Jeff Taylor also singled) but left the bases loaded.
The Little Lions loaded the bags in the top of the sixth but Jeff Taylor got out of the jam unscathed. With two outs and a runner on first, State College worked a pair of singles before Taylor earned his third strikeout of the inning.
The Lions (13-10) turned two double plays on the day, the last coming in the bottom of the seventh when Tanner Simet and Jeremy Burkholder reached on a single and an error, respectively.
"It's ironic the way the game ended," recalled Zander. "When we beat State College in '05 it was on the exact same 1-6-3 double play.
"They're a good hitting ball club with a .288 average but I thought Jeff pitched well," Zander continued. "He struck out seven and gave up eight hits."
The Comets opened the PIAA playoffs Tuesday morning at Somerset High School, topping Pine-Richand 6-4, and got home in time for graduation.
"We have nine seniors this year but they were all very focused," said Zander. "That's the most runs Pine-Richland had given up all year. Hitting has been our bug-a-boo this season but this was a solid victory. We scored six runs on 12 hits."
This one was back-and-forth from the start. The Comets jumped in front with one run in the top of the first. Grant Gale worked a leadoff walk, moved up on a Brett Beiler base hit and scored on Frey's liner to left field. Richland turned a double play to end the inning and then grabbed the lead in the bottom half with two runs, and picked up a third in the second inning.
Manor cut the lead to 3-2 when Cade Thourot's base hit plated Taylor in the fourth and a three run rally in the fifth gave them their biggest lead, 5-3. Witmer singled, Beiler reached on an error and Frey's base hit to right loaded the bags. A fielder's choice got Witmer out at home but Taylor's fly ball to right tied the game at 3-3. Simet was hit by the pitch, pushing in the go ahead run, and Thourot's two out base hit to left gave the Comets a 5-3 advantage.
Back-to-back walks in the bottom half set the stage for Richland's fourth and final run of the game.
Manor padded its lead with another run in the sixth. Witmer doubled and scored on Beiler's base hit. They left two runners on that inning and two more in the seventh.
The WPIAL Class 6A champs looked to rally in the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles and a one out walk but the Comets turned a double play to preserve the win.
Matt Tulli, Dylan Crook and Jeff Taylor combined for four strikeouts and six walks. They gave up five hits and two earned runs.
"Dylan did a nice job in relief and gave us a chance to win," said Zander.
Beiler, Frey and Taylor each finished with two hits and one RBI. Witmer also collected two hits, including Manor's only double. Thourot and Simet were credited with one RBI each.
The Comets finished as the Section One champs and were District Three semifinalists.
"It was a good season," said Zander. "We won 18 games this year and 19 games the two years before this. We will definitely miss the seniors."
Grant Gale and Jeff Taylor were recently recognized as First Team all-stars while Dalton Landis, Dylan Frey and Ryan Witmer were Second Team all-stars.
The volleyball team advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals opposite a familiar foe in Central Dauphin. The Comets defeated the Rams 3-2 early in May and the Rams returned the favor in the district semifinals, winning 3-1.
There was more on the line Saturday, June 3, however as both were fighting for a spot in the PIAA semifinals.
The rubber match went to Central Dauphin, 3-0, though not without a valiant effort by the Comets.
"We met our match," said head coach Chris Telesco. "CD proved themselves the stronger team at this point in the season. They played incredible ball, and though my guys played with heart, our defense and offense came up short. We had zero blocks in the match - a stat that will kill a team at this stage of the season."
The Comets got off to a good start, leading 7-0. They extended the advantage to 13-4 and 18-11 before the Rams rallied and eventually stole the victory, 27-25, and the momentum. They went on to win 25-21, 25-14 and ended Manor's season.
"Sophomore Matt Schaefer came up with two aces and just tough serving in general," stated Telesco.
Dan Fry led with 11 kills, and Alex Newport chipped in with nine. Reuben Kemrer dished out 24 assists and Evan Ressler hustled for 13 digs.
"As for our all-stars," said Telesco. "I'm proud to have four guys (Reuben, Dan, Alex Newport and Alex Krahulik) on the first team of one of the toughest sections in the state. Josh Hess and Coleman Raush were both second team all-stars."
The Comets finished third in the district bracket and advanced to the L-L League semifinals.
Lady Pioneers Advance to PIAA Semifinals June 12, 2017
For the second year in a row, the Lampeter-Strasburg girls' softball team finds itself in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals. They did it last week with wins over Archbishop Wood and Bishop Shanahan and with a juggled lineup.
"I wasn't sure we'd win two state games with our best hitter out with a concussion," said head coach Gene Charles. "The team really stepped up."
With third baseman Hanna Garber on the bench, centerfielder Jordan Kondras moved to the infield, Summer Peters stepped into the outfield and the Pioneers got back to their winning ways.
After suffering back-to-back losses to Spring Grove, 10-3 in the District Three Class 5A semifinals, and Donegal, 4-1 in the third place seeding game, the Pioneers broke out the bats and toppled District 12 champ Archbishop Wood 15-5. And they did it after a three hour delay.
Scheduled for a 5 pm start, the Pioneers never took the field at Arcadia University until 8 pm due to weather delays in the earlier games. They shook off a 1-1 tie, took the lead for good with a single run in the second inning and never looked back.
A full count RBI double by Caroline Braungard pushed in Natalie Carson, who led off with a single, for Lampeter's go-ahead run.
Both teams pushed in two third inning runs but the Pioneers started to pull away with a four spot in the top of the fourth. With two outs, and the bases loaded, Kylie Weaver crushed a bases clearing triple and raced home on an errant throw on the play, pushing the lead to 8-3.
The Vikings, who helped L-S along by committing eight errors, scored just two more runs over the final four innings. The Pioneers, on the other hand, plated two in the sixth and, after the Vikings left the bases loaded in the sixth, pushed across five more in the seventh to deny Archbishop Wood a shot at the quarterfinals.
Braungard started the seventh with a single to left. Julz Garber put down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown over first. With one out, Kondras cracked a two run base hit, pushing in Braungard and Garber. Brynn Baker came through with a single to left field and both scored on Delaney Groff's double. Natalie Carson's grounder to third was misplayed and pinch hitter Jordan Graybill pushed in the final run with a fielder's choice.
"It was good to get the bats going again," said Charles. "We knew they had a good pitcher. She struck out 18 in their district championship game but we showed some patience at the plate."
The Pioneers struck out seven times but their 15 hits, coupled with the Vikings' loose defense, more than made up for it.
The Vikings looked to threaten in the bottom of the seventh, connecting for three base hits, but a pop out, a strikeout and a pickoff at first base ended the game.
Groff struck out five, walked three and scattered 12 hits in picking up the win. She also helped her cause at the plate with two base hits, including a double, and two RBI.
Thursday's quarterfinals action found the Pioneers at Avon Grove High School where they found themselves in a back-and-fourth game with Bishop Shanahan and pulled out a 5-4 thriller with a sixth inning two-run double by J. Garber.
"To come from behind not once, but twice," said Charles, "tells me where the mentality of our team is right now. But I knew they had a dominating pitcher. She needed just one strikeout to hit 300 and she did that against our first batter. We didn't hit through the first three innings but then we finally got going and I think they got flustered a bit."
Shanahan opened the scoring with a manufactured run in the second inning. L-S batted around in the bottom of the fourth and took a 3-1 lead.
Delaney Baker doubled to right and scored on a close play at the plate on Groff's single past third. Carson's single to right field gave L-S the lead.
With two outs, Weaver walked and Braungard, batting ninth, hit a two strike dribbler that barely got out of the batter's box. It was ruled fair and loaded the bases.
J. Garber followed with a four pitch walk that extended Lampeter's advantage.
A pop out ended the inning with the bases loaded.
The Eagles went back in front with a three spot in the sixth, sending eight to the plate. They got to Groff for five hits, three earned runs and snatched the lead, 4-3.
L-S quickly answered. B. Baker singled with one out, Weaver doubled to the left field fence and Braungard worked a full count walk to load the bases.
"I was concerned when they grabbed the lead," said Charles. "But the girls responded with clutch hits. I thought about bunting Weaver but something told me to let her swing. That was a huge hit, especially since she's been struggling."
Garber, the freshman lefty, calmly stepped to the plate and stroked a two run double that gave L-S the lead, 5-4.
Groff (5K, 2W, 8H) gave up a two out single in the top of the seventh but a fly ball out to Kate Rohrer in right field pushed the Pioneers to the semifinals where they will meet Donegal for the fifth and final time this season.
"Groffie threw one of her better games," noted Charles. "She hit her spots and battled out there. I'm proud of the way she's been throwing.
"Now we face a team that's beaten us three straight times," he said of Donegal. "And there's a lot on the line. The girls need to believe that they can beat this team. They did it once. They can do it again."
Baron Teams Fall in PIAA Playoffs June 12, 2017
A memorable season for the Manheim Central boys volleyball team is officially over following a PIAA Class AA State Championship Tournament semifinals round setback to Northeastern last Tuesday, June 6, at Red Lion High School.
The five-time reigning and York County perennial powerhouse state champion Bobcats won an exciting 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 17-25, 25-22, 15-11), thriller to drop the curtain on the Barons 2017 season. Central finished the year with an impressive overall record of 22-3.
Tanner Stauffer led the offense with a team high 18 kills. Teammate Mason Nissley was second best with 15. Brandyn Musser also chipped in offensively, serving up a pair of aces.
Stauffer put up a hat trick of blocks and tied Ben Burkhart, Musser, and Gabriel Stewart, who all finished with seven digs. Nissley chipped in with six digs.
The only senior player this season was Chase Fahnestock.
The baseball team, with five seniors, was eliminated in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A State Championship Tournament by Greater Latrobe Area at White Township Park in Indiana (PA) last Tuesday.
The district seven champ Wildcats, with a total of six hits and a dramatic four run bottom of the seventh inning, defeated the Barons in a come-from-behind, 5-4 thriller.
"It was one out from moving onto state quarterfinals," said head coach Matt Huber. "We've been on the other end a few times this year and, unfortunately, we finished the season losing three one run ball games.
"I'm extremely proud of our team," Huber continued. "I was fortunate to coach an extraordinary group of young men. We played our cards exactly how we wanted to. In the end, Latrobe made more plays than we did."
In an evenly played game on offense by both teams, the Barons (2 errors), with a total of seven hits, scored the first run of the game on a Taylor Rohrer RBI single in the top of the second inning. Key hits from Brandon Fisher and Note Loser, in the third inning, led to three runs and raised the score to 4-0.
Greater Latrobe (4 errors) gained some confidence in the bottom of the sixth, crossing their first run of the game and trailed the Barons 4-1.
The Barons came up empty in the top of the seventh inning and Greater Latrobe responded with a four run bottom half to steal the one run triumph and put an end to the season for Manheim. They finished with an overall record of 15-10.
Taylor Rohrer (9K, 1BB), and Drew Mummau (0K, 2BB), both saw action on the hill for the Barons.
"At the beginning of every season, we have goals to win a section, league, district, and state title," stated Huber. "Those goals won't change. Every win that you can get in the game of baseball is a team accomplishment and I hope that there will be many more to come next season."
Senior players this season were Brandon Fisher, Trevor Hosler, Tyler Lutz, Tyler Lyons, and Robert Miller.
"This senior class was special," stated Huber. "For some, it was their second trip to states in three years. Tyler Lutz will always be remembered for his hard work and ethic. A perfect example is his hustle at E-Town in district playoffs. He was a wall behind home plate for us.
"Tyler Lyons will always be a big part of our program," Huber continued. "He contributed a lot with his bat this year and exhibited leadership skills.
"And Bobby Miller will always be remembered as one of the hardest workers in our program. It was great to see him get his first RBI at Lebanon Catholic," lauded Huber.
"Trevor Hosler was a welcomed addition to the program the past two seasons. He pitched against the number two seed in the districts this year and the number four seed in districts during the regular season and held them to minimal runs.
"Brandon Fisher was a great outfielder for us," ended Huber.
Indians Advance to PIAA Class 5A Semifinals June 12, 2017
Two down, two to go. That was the line for Donegal as last week ended with the lady Indians advancing to the PIAA semifinals for the second year running in their fifth straight tournament appearance.
Donegal moved its record to 25-4 after eliminating West Chester Henderson (16-9) 3-2 in the opening round of 5A play last Monday and then holding on to defeat Abington Heights (15-3) on Thursday, 6-5, in a 10 inning International Tiebreaker in the quarterfinal round.
Scoring three runs in the first inning against WCH, Donegal took an early lead which they never relinquished as Makyla Yoder kept the damage to a minimum by only surrendering two runs on four hits in the complete game victory.
Yoder retired the first eight batters she faced before giving up her first hit of the game in the third inning. That resulted in West Chester Henderson's first run as Madelynn Skinner turned on the second pitch she saw and sent it rocketing over the wall in center field.
One more run in the fourth off the bat of Cameron Trotter marked the end of scoring for the Warriors as Yoder settled in and took care of business by putting away 11 of the remaining 12 Henderson batters.
Rachel Robinson (2-2, double, 2RBI) gave Donegal its early advantage in the first when she ripped a hard, bases-loaded shot into left field which bounced over the wall for a ground rule double and scored courtesy runners Jessica Kosheba and Cheyenne Klinedinst.
Morgan Biesecker (1-3) got the ball rolling when she took first on a one-out walk and then advanced to second when Yoder (1-4) singled into left. Katlyn Witmer then loaded the bases when she drew a walk of her own, scoring from third on a wild pitch to McKenna Berg.
One thing that head coach Wayne Emenheiser appreciates is how the offensive play of Robinson has come around following a major surgery that forced her to miss her entire junior season.
"I believe Robinson is back to where she was two years ago, before the knee injury," said Emenheiser. "It took some time for her to get back offensively, but defensively she has been a stud all year long."
Both aspects of Robinson's game were on display in the quarterfinal matchup with Abington Heights as the senior made a few clutch plays in extra innings including a diving snag of a line drive in the eighth and delivered the eventual winning run when she tripled home pinch runner Kosheba in the tenth.
Donegal also had help from freshman pitcher Sierra Neiss who has done well for Emeheiser this season when called on in relief of Yoder and has also recorded some starts as well.
With Yoder pitching well into the sixth inning and holding the explosive Comets offense scoreless on three hits, it seemed as if Neiss would be a non-factor as the lady Indians led 5-0 at that point.
However, fortunes can change quickly and Yoder soon found herself in a bind after surrendering three runs in the sixth and with runners on first and second in the seventh inning with no outs.
With the lead cut to 5-3, Neiss received the call and got out of the inning, but not before giving up two unearned runs to tie the game. She settled in after that, however, and retired the next nine batters, setting the stage for Robinson (4-5, triple, RBI).
"Sierra Neiss has been a pleasant surprise," stated Emenheiser. "Makyla has carried the pitching duties for so long and has had so much success, it's nice to be able to take a little bit of the pressure off her with Sierra, they make a great one two punch."
He knows that they are fortunate to have essentially two starters who can deliver whenever the circumstances dictate. "The game of softball is a pitcher dominated game and to have two great pitchers is a bonus," added Emenheiser.
Scoreless after the first inning, Berg (2-6) represented the first Donegal run when she scored on a two-out single by Emily Graham (2-6, 1RBI).
Biesecker (2-6, 2RBI) drove in two more with a single to center that plated Graham and Savanna Kolenda (4-5) who reached with base single of her own.
Witmer (3-6, 2RBI) made it 5-0 in the fourth inning when she brought home both Kolenda and Graham on an infield grounder.
In the tenth, with the score tied at 5-5, the International Tiebreak took effect which places the player who made the final out in the previous inning on second base, in this case it was Witmer.
Emenheiser pinch-ran Kosheba in her place, however, who advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Peighton Hornick (2-5) and then came home on Robinson's RBI.
The win paired Donegal with a very familiar foe in long- time rival Lampeter-Strasburg (22-6) which defeated Bishop Shanahan 5-4 to advance to the semis.
Donegal held a 3-1advantage over the Pioneers heading into the matchup which has actually already been played as of this printing.
Asked if the familiarity between the two teams and the Indians' subsequent dominance might cause his players to lose some focus, Emenheiser said, "I do not think the girls will overlook LS, they realize at this point in the season that everyone is bringing their best."
Six All-Stars Fuel Solanco's Success June 8, 2017
Solanco's softball team capped a 19-6 record this season with help from a handful of Lancaster-Lebanon League all-stars. First Team Section Two stars included the Mares' only senior starter, Abby Heidelbaugh, juniors Kayla May, Liz Mowrer and Randi Rambo and sophomores Kara McClune and Hanna Phillips.
"Abby absolutely had the highest league batting average (.533) ever at Solanco," said head coach Brett Miller. "When you have a leadoff hitter doing that, good things should happen."
And they did. After starting the season 3-3, Solanco won ten straight games and earned their third straight section title. They advanced to the championship round of the L-L League playoffs, bowing out to Penn Manor, 5-3. They went 2-2 in District Playoffs and settled for sixth place. The top five batters in their lineup received all-star recognition and played a key role in those good things happening.
McClune, who played left field, batted second and finished with a .429 league average. She followed Heidelbaugh's season high 28 hits with 26 and was second on the team with 28 RBI.
"Kara put together a good year for her first year as a starter," said Miller. "She had some timely hits, two game-winners, and made some big defensive plays as well."
Batting third and playing shortstop was Rambo who led the team with six triples. She followed McClune with 26 RBI and batted .378 for the season.
"She's developing as a shortstop," said Miller, "and keeps improving. She did not strike out once during league play and that's and accomplishment."
First baseman Mowrer batted cleanup and tied Heidelbaugh for the team lead with three home runs. Mowrer batted .357 on the year and finished with 17 hits and seven doubles. She led the team with 31 RBI.
"Liz has been very consistent at the plate," Miller stated. "She also catches but I was pleased with her performance at first base. She made the infield look good at times."
Fifth in the lineup this year was May, who settled in at third base. "Kayla was a pleasant surprise and got better as the season progressed. She made some pretty tough plays," said Miller.
May connected for 19 hits, 13 RBI and batted .338 on the season.
Solanco's final Section Two all-star was second-year starting pitcher Hanna Phillips. The sophomore tossed two perfect game no hitters against Ephrata and McCaskey. She finished with season with 216 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA for the season.
"Hanna struck out on the average, nine hitters a game," said Miller, "which was up from last year. And she gave up about five hits a game. Hanna is deceptively fast," he continued. "She is a little hard for batters to see."
Receiving All-League Section One and Two, by position played, was Heidelbaugh and May.
"All of our all-stars are deserving of the accolades," Miller stated. "It was a pleasure to have Abby in center field. She showed a high level of focus, particularly at the plate. We will miss her."
Heidelbaugh scored 37 of the team's 175 runs and tied for the team lead with three home runs. She struck out just four times throughout the season. She also led the team with eight doubles and eight walks
"I thought we had the potential to do as well as we did," said Miller. "It took us about seven games to find our way but we did. We beat some quality teams this year and I was pleased with and proud of how we matured and improved throughout the season."
The Mares batted .369 as a team in league play, and finished with 236 hits.
"When you bat what we did as a team and score 137 league runs, you should win a section title," stated Miller. "We gained a lot of experience this season and we were always finding ways to give ourselves the opportunity to win games. I never sensed that we were looking too far ahead," he added. "We always seemed to focus in when we needed to and always responded."
Other contributors this season included Ally McDowell who scored 15 runs and tied Heidelbaugh and Mowrer with three homers. She batted .357 overall and played right field.
Lindsey Lane handled Phillips behind the plate and finished with 12 hits and ten runs scored.
Alyssa Henretty worked six walks, connected for 10 hits and scored 12 runs and Kate Sheaffer, playing second base, scored 22 runs, finished with 20 hits and matched Heidelbaugh for a team-high eight walks. Senior Albrea Doss was largely a courtesy runner when extra speed was needed on the bases.
With all but two returning to the field next season, the Mares will strive to break the 20 wins in a season mark and will look to qualify for the PIAA playoffs, a goal they almost achieved this year.
Eastern York Tops Bonner Prendegast June 8, 2017
The Eastern York softball team continues to add to their season of firsts. The most recent, a PIAA tournament victory, gets tacked on to the Lady Golden Knights list of season accomplishments that includes their first ever PIAA tournament appearance and their first ever District 3 Championship game appearance.
As with their past few wins the Lady Golden Knights needed some late inning heroics combined with lock-down pitching and defense to top their PIAA-4A first-round foe, Bonner Prendegast by a 4-3 final.
As she has all postseason, Maelynn Leber was a big part of the win on both sides. Her most recent exploit was kick starting a rally in the top of the fifth that produced the winning run, doing so with a one out double. A few batters later Leber's courtesy runner scored on a sac fly, breaking up a short lived 3-3 tie.
Leber was not finished as she was the game's starter on the mound and pitched all seven innings, keeping the Lady Pandas scoreless over the final three innings to secure the win. Leber also kept Bonner Prendegast off the scoreboard through the first two innings but did allow three runs over the third and fourth innings. She added three strikeouts and one walk to five scattered hits and those three runs.
Leber also padded the Lady Golden Knights early lead, pushing Katie Lehman across after Lehman smacked a two-out double. Leber eventually scored on an error to make it 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third. The Lady Pandas inched closer with a two run third before knotting the game in the bottom of the fourth, setting the stage for Leber's heroics.
Eastern York earned that PIAA first round game after finishing second in the District 3-4A tournament. That second-place finish came courtesy of a 3-2 loss to Kennard-Dale where Eastern York was on the wrong side of a late inning comeback.
This time it was the Lady Rams plating the winning run, doing so with a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the eighth. Eastern thought they had the game in hand after a two-run fifth put them on top 2-0 but KD scored two of their own in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.
Leber pitched all eight innings for Eastern York, allowing nine hits and three runs to go with five strikeouts and no walks. Lehman and Morgan Winter provided the pop for that two-run fifth, each connecting on a single in the inning. Lehman's base knock resulted in a RBI while Winter's hit eventually led to her crossing the plate.
Tanglewood Golf Results June 8, 2017
Tanglewood Mens Golf Association- 18 Hole Results for June 7. Two Man Scramble: WHITE Tees- A Flight: Low Gross - Ethan Cairns/Jim Howell III - 66. Low Net - Mike Albert/Zac Phillipe - 52. B Flight- Low Gross - Mike Murry/Rick Robinson - 70. Low Net - Bruce Akerley/Rich Frampton - 54. GOLD Tees- A Flight- Low Gross - (Tie) - Jim Fuhrman/Art White & Max Fraker/Rick Jackson - 69. Low Net - Cliff Boyd/Jack Smith - 51. B Flight - Low Gross - Bud Lyon/Don Taylor - 74. Low Net - Steve Bowe/Rich Quin - 47.
Skins - Jason Lyon/Al McCardell #1, Clair Beiler/Vernon Stoltzfus #2 and Mike Albert/Zac Phillipe #7
Women's 18 Hole League results for June 6. POINTS FOR PUTTS: Low Gross: Jo Pownall 86. Flight A: Low Net: Cathy Enck 22. Flight B: Low Gross: Diane Finkbiner 94. Low Net: Roula Groff 22. Flight C: Low Gross: Cindy Tanner 95. Low Net: Susan Melrath 22.
Barons Finish 4th in Districts, Just Miss States June 5, 2017
Warwick's baseball team completed its season on Thursday and just missed making the PIAA tournament with a tough 1-0 loss to Section One foe Penn Manor in the third place game of the District Three Class 6A championships.
After finishing in second place behind the Comets during the regular season, Warwick made an early exit from the L-L League playoffs with a first round loss to Lancaster Catholic and had a brief layover until the start of Districts on May 26th.
The fourth seeded Warriors matched up with number five seed Wilson in the quarterfinals after both teams sat out the first round with byes and scored a come from behind 5-3 victory.
That win moved them into the semifinals against top seeded Governor Mifflin which handed Warwick a 4-2 loss and sent them into the win-or-go-home contest with Penn Manor.
Wilson took the lead in the third inning when they scored twice against starting pitcher Zach Peters, the only two runs he would concede over five innings of work in which he gave up six hits while striking out two.
Scoreless heading into the fifth inning, Warwick got on the board when Ethan Heller crossed the plate on a Wilson error and then tied the game on an RBI single by Dagen Young (2-3, 1RBI) which scored Colby Martin (2-3) from third.
Two more Warrior runs crossed the plate courtesy of a RBI single by Nate Hess (2-4, 1RBI) and a misplayed ground ball by Justin Byler (1-3) before a fielder's choice by Peters (1 RBI)) plated Hess for the final run of the inning and put Warwick in the lead for good.
Governor Mifflin built a 4-0 lead over five innings before a two-run blast from Byler (1-3, 2RBI) into right field put the Warriors back in the hunt. Unfortunately it was not enough to catch the Mustangs as Peters took the loss giving up all four runs, only two of which were earned, while striking out two in a complete game effort.
That set up another meeting with the Comets, this time for the chance to advance to the next level. It was not meant to be, however, as a second inning home run off of starting pitcher Ethan Norman gave Penn Manor the margin of victory.
Norman pitched a strong game giving up five hits over five and two thirds innings with three strikeouts before Young came on in relief to record the final out.
Warwick's offense produced six hits and was powered by Martin (2-3, double) and Tyler Hess (2-3).
Memorial Day weekend not only represented a holiday observance, but the biggest meet of the school year as well as athletes from all across the state converged on Shippensburg University for the PIAA championships held over two days.
Warwick not only took part in seven events but had three athletes place in the top ten including a fourth and fifth place finish.
Eric Garner entered the boys AAA javelin throw fresh off his second consecutive District gold medal and put together a nice grouping of throws to wrap up fourth place during the Saturday portion of competition.
"Eric had some great throws. He actually didn't have a bad throw in the bunch; all his throws were between 180-194," said head coach Alex Daecher. "He just couldn't quite get that 200 footer out there to bring home gold."
Garner and the other top three throwers all cleared the 193' mark that qualified them for the NFHS honor roll as well. Daecher praised his senior's work ethic over his high school career as well. "... I am very proud of him. He is a great kid who worked so hard the past 4 years with me. He is 2-time district gold medalist and is going to an awesome college. His future could never look brighter. "
Trinity Bitting-Ellis finished fifth in the District Three AAA high jump and repeated that performance at states, bettering her District jump by two inches. She cleared 5-5 in Saturday's early session earning praise from her coach as well.
"Trinity had a fantastic day. To jump 5-5 at the state meet is awesome, "commented Daecher who credited her clean jumps early on as the reason she could stay strong in the latter stages of the competition. "I am very excited for her and proud of how she performed."
Taking part in the 3200 run, Kate Dickow set a personal record with her time of 10:56.7 which garnered her a ninth place finish and bettered her seed time by an impressive 6.46 seconds.
Daecher likes what he sees in his distance runner and her progression. "Kate ran an awesome race. She had a PR and improved considerably from her 3200 run at last year's state meet. She just keeps getting better every year. I know she was thrilled with her time, and her coaches were too. Kate is such a worker and I have no doubt she will be getting a medal next year. "
Leah Graybill locked up the 14th qualifying position in the 200 on Friday by clocking a 25.61 and then just missed out in the semifinals with a 25.3 which was agonizingly close to making the final cut for the finals. "I know she missed getting a medal by .02 seconds and that can be hard to swallow for a kid," commented Daecher, "but she is a strong willed individual who will train hard and be ready to go next year to bring home the medal."
Warwick also had two girls' relay teams participate in the meet with neither making it out of the prelims. Cassidy Kline, Jaylyn Wagner, Deirdre White, and Emily Williamson posted a time of 9:37.5 in the 3200 prelims and only missed the cut by 3.5 seconds while Kline, Williamson, Graybill and Wagner finished with a prelim time of 3:58.74 which was only 1.4 seconds off the last qualifiers.
Meanwhile Connor Shields represented the final athlete at the meet in the 1600 where he ran a 4:28.27 in Friday's prelims which was 8.13 second off the pace for qualifying.
Indians Finish 3rd in Districts, Head to States June 5, 2017
Donegal's softball team in recent years has made playing in the post-season a habit, using the regular season as merely a warm up. This year is no different as the lady Indians began District Three Class 5A play at home against Daniel Boone in a game that was originally scheduled to go down on Thursday the 25th, but was moved to Friday due to weather conditions.
Avoiding a near upset by the 11th seeded Scouts, Donegal used a two-run seventh inning to seal an 8-7 victory on a walk off single by Savanna Kolenda that scored Sierra Neiss from second base.
Down 8-7 and facing elimination Rachel Robinson (1-2) coaxed a walk and then rounded the bases on a bunt by McKenna Berg (2-3, 1RBI) that was misplayed, tying the game at 8-8.
After Neiss (2-2, 2RBI) also walked, advancing Berg to second, Emily Graham (1-4, 1RBI) hit into a fielder's choice at short that forced out Berg at third setting the stage for Kolenda (4-4, double, 3RBI) who ripped a single into right field to complete the comeback.
Daniel Boone got to Donegal starter Makyla Yoder for two runs in the second to tie the game after RBI singles by Kaitlyn Witmer (2-4, 1RBI) and Berg in the first inning gave Donegal the early lead.
Yoder eventually left the game in the fourth after surrendering five runs on a two-out Daniel Boone rally that ended when reliever Neiss recorded the put-out on an infield pop-up.
Neiss settled in and finished the game by retiring nine of the ten batters she faced while walking one.
Donegal answered in the fifth with five runs of its own, setting up the dramatic finish which propelled them into the semifinals where they matched up with Cedar Cliff, the number 10 seed.
Under a steady downpour at Lebanon Valley College last Tuesday, the ladies found themselves playing catch up against the Colts who led 3-2 heading into the seventh inning before exploding for six runs to take command of the game.
Kolenda (2-4, HR, 4RBI), who was the star of the game for Donegal at the plate, sent shockwaves through the stadium when she stroked a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but the rally was short lived as the ladies dropped into the consolation game with a 9-5 loss.
Yoder took the ball to start and gave up three runs on four hits including two home runs over five innings while striking out two before Neiss came on in the sixth and struggled with control as she surrendered six runs, five of which were earned, on four hits.
"Cedar Cliff played well in the semis against us," stated head coach Wayne Emenheiser. "I thought we played well also until the last inning when the field conditions became an issue for our pitcher, those are the breaks though."
Morgan Biesecker (1-3, 1RBI) put Donegal on the board in the third inning when her RBI single in to centerfield plated Graham (1-3) and tied the game at 1-1.
Later, down 3-1 in the fifth, it was Kolenda who delivered with a single that sent Graham home again to cut the deficit to 3-2 before the huge final inning for the Colts put them out of reach.
With five teams advancing to the PIAA tournament, Donegal's third place game was one in which the outcome was irrelevant. However, an old friend waited for them in the form of Lampeter-Strasburg, 9-3 losers to Spring Grove in the other semifinal matchup.
Owning a 2-1 advantage over the Pioneers this season, including a tie break for the Section Three crown, the odds of Donegal making it 3-1 against the formidable foes were not weighing in their favor.
With Yoder resting, Neiss took to the rubber and threw a complete five-hit one run game as the ladies bucked the odds and defeated the Pioneers 4-1 for their third victory over the section rivals this year.
Peighton Hornick went 3-4 with one run scored and Berg tripled and drove in two runs while going 2-3 to help power Donegal to its third place finish.
L-S scored its lone run early taking the lead in the first inning, but the Indians scored twice in the second and once more in both the third and seventh innings to earn the much needed win and carry some momentum into the State tournament.
"Neiss threw a great game against LS (5 hits) and we hit well (11 hits)," acknowledged Emenheiser.
"We are looking forward to playing in the state tournament; it is always our goal to make it there. We are fortunate to be playing in our 5th straight state tournament and 7th in 8 years. The thing about playing in June is that every team has the ability to beat you if you don't play well or if you get a bad break, it's that close."
Donegal was represented in three events during the PIAA meet held at Shippensburg University over Memorial Day weekend and while none of the athletes competed past the preliminaries, Alice Fernald scored a personal best in the 400 and only missed qualifying by .45 of a second.
"We were happy with how the girls did overall. Of course, you always hope to place/make it to finals, but sometimes it's just not in the cards," stated head coach Gretchen Colwell.
Her time of 57.69 in the second heat of the prelims placed her ninth overall in the state and was a only a gust of wind behind Exeter's Faith Kehinde who clocked in at 57.24 in the fourth heat and locked up the eighth and final qualifying spot for Saturday's finals.
Taylor Nissly competed in the fourth and final heat of the 200 prelims later in Friday's competition and missed the cut by an even narrower margin as her time of 25.95 was a shoelace width behind Ni'Asia Williams from Girls' High who finished in 25.80 and also locked up the final qualifier for Saturday's finals.
Both girls also ran with Ashley Maxwell and Aliza Young in the 4x400 relay prelims on Friday with the team finishing in 4:03.96 which was exactly three seconds off of their seed time of 4:01.96 from Districts.
Performing on the big stage is not an easy task and only experience can properly prepare an athlete for the unique pressure that comes along with competing with the best in the sport.
Colwell knows this and likes what she saw in her top runners. "The other nice thing, every girl we took to states is an underclassman, so we can look forward to seeing them next season! "
Mares Finish 6th in Districts With 19-6 Record June 5, 2017
Many teams set goals at the start of the season. Win the section. Win leagues. Qualify for districts and what not. Solanco head coach Brett Miller's philosophy is a bit simpler. "Win the next game. That's always the goal."
The Mares this year have, more often than not, won that next game all the way to the District Three Class 5A fifth place game. With a chance to qualify for the PIAA tournament, the Mares saw their season come to a close with a 4-2 loss to Lower Dauphin at Millersville University last Thursday, June 1. The Falcons advance to the PIAA tournament while the Mares close this chapter with a 19-6 record.
LD took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a walk and a two out blooper over short. Solanco looked to counter in the bottom half, loading the bases on a single by Kayla May, a bunt single by Ally McClune and a one out walk to Alyssa Henretty. Falcon hurler Ava Bottiglia, however, worked a strikeout and a popup to get out of the jam.
Neither team threatened again until the sixth inning. The fourth seed Falcons (19-4) took control with three runs on two base hits, a bunt single and a two run double.
Solanco squashed that momentum with a two run home half. McClune singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Albrea Doss who moved to second on Randi Rambo's fielder's choice ground out and scored on Liz Mowrer's line drive single. May followed that up with a triple, scoring pinch runner Tori Lawson, but back-to-back strikeouts left the score at 4-2.
"We just dug ourselves too deep a hole," said Miller. "I thought we hit well at times and other times we hit right at them. We needed a couple more to drop in and they didn't. Their hits did.
"I was proud that we responded the way we did," he added. "We found a way that inning. We just need a little more mature killer instinct."
Hanna Phillips, who struck out six, walked one and gave up seven hits, forced three pop outs and gave up one single in the seventh.
Needing two runs to tie, Solanco's seventh inning rally took a hit when the first two batters struck out. Abby Heidelbaugh reached on an error but a third strikeout ended the Mares season earlier than they had hoped for.
McClune and May accounted for four of Solanco's six hits.
"Leaving the bases loaded hurt," noted Miller. "We just needed a bigger timely hit.
"Defensively, we've been improving," he added. "In all four of our district games the defense has been solid. And against pitchers and teams that are all playing at the next level. We won 19 games over a long season and we can look to build on this last game for next year."
Solanco advanced to that fifth-place game with Tuesday's 6-5 walk off thriller over 11th seed Daniel Boone (11-9). Back at Millersville, Kate Sheaffer worked a one out walk, moved up on Heidelbaugh's base hit and scored the game-winner on McClune's single.
"That walk was huge," said Miller. "And Abby, a senior, came through as well while Kara picked up another game-winning hit. She's a sophomore and has shown steady improvement at the plate.
"I was definitely not going to have Abby bunt," Miller continued. "I was confident that Kara, or Randi, who bats third, would get the hard hit."
Solanco got out early in this one, scoring two in the first and picking up three more in the second as they appeared to take control. Heidelbaugh opened with a two strike single, went to second on McClune's bunt and to third on an error. She came home on Rambo's fielder's choice. Mowrer reached on an error and Rambo scored on May's fielder's choice.
One inning later they rallied with two outs. Sheaffer reached on a full count walk, Heidelbaugh collected her second base hit and both scored on McClune's triple. Rambo's double quickly made it 5-0.
"It was cautiously good to go up 5-0 so quickly," said Miller.
Boone got one back in the fourth and then finally figured out Phillips in the fifth. A leadoff single was followed by a walk and a two run triple. A sac fly on a laid out catch by McClune in left field cut the lead to 5-4.
Two innings later Phillips seemed poised enough to grab another win, working pop outs to left and center field. But just as quickly, a triple to the fence and a base hit knotted the score. The last out was a pop up back to the sophomore pitcher, setting the stage for McClune's heroics.
"It was great to see us respond right away," Miller said.
Phillips struck out five, gave up five hits and walked one.
"A couple pitches we might want back," Miller noted. "Every district game is a learning experience for Hanna. Location is critical and she'll keep working on it."
The Mares were knocked into the consolation rounds when they dropped a 3-1 quarterfinals result against visiting Cedar Cliff, who actually went on to win the District 5A title with a 13-9 rout of Spring Grove, on Friday, May 26.
The Colts struck early, taking advantage of two walks with a one out triple by pitcher Avery Winchell. Phillips fanned the last two batter of the inning. She finished with six strikeouts and four walks on the day while yielding six hits.
Lindsey Lane's double down the left field line in the third inning, literally, was Solanco's first hit of the day. She was left stranded on third, as was McClune who singled in the fourth.
The Colts worked a base hit and a RBI double in the top of the sixth and Solanco mounted its biggest threat in the home half. Three straight hits by Heidlebaugh, McClune and Rambo cut the lead to 3-1. A groundout, a strikeout and a popout cut the rally short.
Both teams gave up seventh inning walks. The win qualified the Colts for their first-ever trip to states.
Freshman Alana Yoder and first year thrower Anna Cooney made a return trip to Shippensburg University and Seth Grove Stadium for the PIAA Championships May 26-27 as Solanco's only qualifiers.
Yoder opened action on Friday as the ninth seed, out of 28, with a 2:16.31 and clocked a career best 2:13.72 with a third place finish in her heat that qualified her for Saturday's finals.
"That placed her as the fifth seed in the finals," noted assistant coach Craig Ausel. "We knew most of the qualifiers would run faster in the finals and we were hoping for a 2:11 or 2:12 and to place top 8. Alana did not disappoint," he continued. "She held herself at the back of the lead pack for the first 400 and at the 500 mark started to make her move. She advanced from 10th place to a third place finish with a 2:09.99. Her time qualified her for the National Federation High School Honor Roll and is the fastest time in the US for a high school freshman on the Milesplit ranking site," he noted.
"Alana ran two smart races," said head coach Ivan Haines. "She's the type of athlete that thrives on competition."
Cooney, a junior, who finished fourth in the District Three Class AAA shotput with a heave of 38-5 did not qualify for the finals.
"Having only picked up the shot two and a half months ago, Anna did well this season, qualifying for states in her first year of track," said Haines. "With the experience of the big meets she gained, Anna should make a return trip to states as a senior."
Pioneer Softballers Finish 4th in Districts June 5, 2017
For just the second time this season, the Lampeter-Strasburg girls' softball dropped back-to-back games as they moved deeper into the post-season. Last Tuesday the top seeded Pioneers faced Spring Grove in the District Three Class 5A semifinals at Messiah College. The Rockets scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second inning and never looked back in hanging a 10-3 loss on the top seeeded Pioneers.
"Those first two runs were a gift," said head coach Gene Charles. "The face of the matter is, we committed six errors which is very uncharacteristic of us. Things just snowballed and the game got away from us."
With two outs, and a runner on due to an error, Spring Grove's seventh batter cracked a high popup that dropped behind the pitcher. Then a full count hit to right field was misplayed, allowing two runs to score.
The fifth seed Rockets batted around in the fourth, scoring five runs on five hits, including two doubles, and another error, extending the lead to 7-0.
L-S countered with a solo run in the bottom half. Julz Garber doubled to the fence in left center. Hanna Garber bunted for a base hit and with one out, Delaney Groff's sac fly put the Pioneers on the board.
The Rockets went three up, three down in the fifth and L-S cut the lead to 7-3 with a pair in the bottom half. Kylie Weaver reached on a one out error. Caroline Braungard singled and Weaver scored on a Jordan Kondras base hit. J. Garber bunted to load the bags and H. Garber's sac fly to center field plated the second run.
The Pioneers turned their second double play of the game in the top of the sixth and looked to close the gap even further in the bottom half with two out singles by Brynn Baker and Weaver but both were left stranded.
Spring Grove jumped on the opportunity, taking advantage of a pair of errors and a base hit, and loaded the bases in the top of the seventh. A sac fly, a base hit and a passed ball gave them three more runs and capped the scoring.
"I thought we hit the ball well (9 hits) and we had baserunners so we did have chances to get back in it," noted Charles. "I don't think the score is indicative of the game. I don't believe they're seven runs better."
Groff started in the circle and worked the first four innings. Brynne Baker tossed the last three.
The loss left the Pioneers with a seeding game against a more than familiar foe in Donegal on Thursday at Garrett Park in Willow Street. L-S topped Donegal 3-1 on April 3 but the Indians came back to win the next two, 6-1 on April 28, and 10-2 on May 10. They made it three in a row last Thursday in the third place seeding game, winning 4-1.
"This had all the feelings of a spring training game," said Charles. "Win or lose, we knew we were getting a district champ in the opening round of states."
The Pioneers felt confident taking an early lead on Delaney Baker's two out bloop single over short. That lead, however, was short-lived as Donegal scored all the runs they would need in the second inning, cashing in on a two out, two RBI triple by McKenna Berg. They pushed in one more in the third and another in the seventh as added insurance.
L-S (20-6), on the other hand, finished with five hits, and just couldn't get one to fall in when they needed it. After the first inning they sent four batters to the plate in the second, third and fourth, left two runners on in the fifth and one in both the sixth and seventh.
Donegal connected for 12 hits and left the bases loaded in the third.
"I thought we were going to catch them with that early run," said Charles. "But they battled back, as they always do. We kept fighting to get back in it.
"It was a good tune-up game for states, for both teams," he continued. "I think we have a good shot to win some state games but we're going to have to put the ball in play and against some tough competition."
The Pioneers open against District 12 Champ Arch-Bishop Wood, winners of the Philadelphia Catholic League.
Three Pioneers made a second trip to Seth Grove Stadium in Shippensburg on May 26-27 but this time to compete in the PIAA Championships.
Kristin Herr came away with the best finish of the trio, settling for 13th place in the javelin with a throw of 127-8, well under her League Meet record of 142-1. She was the third sophomore to place and came in as a District Three third place finisher (133-3).
Josh Eidemiller also competed in the javelin and finished in 14th place with a 164-6 toss. He was also third in the District competition with a 182-7.
Joining Herr and Eidemiller was Josh Nolt who competed in the triple jump. His 41-11 left him in 21st place.
Hempfield Volleyball Bows in PIAA Playoffs June 5, 2017
The Hempfield volleyball team's run in the PIAA Class-AAA state playoffs started with a valiant effort against North Allegheny on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, despite the Black Knights taking the District Seven champs to five games, the Tigers prevailed 3-2. The Knights' season ended with an 18-5 record.
"Prior to the game, I told the guys, 'this is the one where you'll need to have your best match,'" said head coach Mike Vogel said in a phone interview.
And many of the Knights did play up to, if not beyond their potentials. They gave the perennial state tournament contenders a great battle in the opening-round game at Greensburg.
"They're a tough team," Vogel said of No. Allegheny. "They were far more physical than our team. They're one of those teams that every few years is in the state finals."
The Knights won the opening set 25-21 and were in it for most of the second set before the Tigers registered the winning points in a 25-22 final. No. Allegheny took a 2-1 lead in games before Hempfield came back for a 25-23 victory, forcing the tiebreaker.
"We played well in that first game and won," Vogel commented. "We were in control the whole game. We had a chance at winning the second game.
"In the fifth game it was tied 6-6 but we only scored two points the rest of the way," added the coach.
The Tigers claimed the match with that 15-8 victory in the fifth game.
According to Vogel, senior Matt Sheerin was one of those players who turned in the performance of his life.
"Matt played an outstanding match," Vogel said. "The entire match was the best of his career. This was his last as a high school player. He had 37 swings and 19 kills. That's impressive for an outside hitter to hit over .400.
"It was Matt's offense, defense and serving," continued the coach. "He served 19 times for us and had three aces - the only service aces we had.
"Mason Scott ended up with 18 digs," Vogel added. "He had a phenomenal match with his defense."
Sheerin also ended up with 12 digs and Jon Lawrence finished with 10.
The Knights have been without Gavin Hanzelman, the junior who has been out with injured knees, and Shawn Weidman, the senior who suffered a concussion in the district playoffs.
"Ian Willig was filling in for Shawn," Vogel pointed out. "Every contact he had was positive. He only played a few minutes of each game. The guys that weren't given a lot of opportunities because of the players ahead of them got in and contributed."
Elliott DeLaTorre finished with five blocks. Freshman Colson Hunt distributed 16 assists.
"Elliott had six kills and led the team with five blocks." Vogel noted. "This was against a good team's big middles. He will be back next year and he'll be a force. He's only a sophomore.
"Zach Wilson was our other middle," he added. "He didn't put up the numbers, but had some incredible defensive plays.
"Ian Flood had a pretty good match," Vogel continued. "His serve kept us in many of the games. He ended up with eight kills and two blocks."
Logan Smiley finished with 15 kills. He was one of the team's top contributors for much of the year.
"We wouldn't be where we are without him," said Vogel.
Vogel described the match as "a microcosm of our season.
"It was up-and-down," he added. "You're playing well and sometimes the wheels come off. When you have two or three key injuries, that's a big deal. We hadn't had a team with multiple injuries over the years. I guess the percentages caught up with us.
"We were the fifth seed from District Three and we took the District Seven champion to five games - it shows how our district has come along," Vogel added.
"I told the kids after the match that it's understandable that they're disappointed," continued the coach. "That'll make you work harder next year. They worked through a lot of adversity. I told them that there is only going to be one team that isn't going to experience what you're going through.
"I'm proud of them for how hard they fought," he concluded.
The Knights faced a familiar foe in the District Three 6A baseball playoffs. They traveled to Penn Manor to play the Comets.
In the final two innings of that quarterfinal game, which was rescheduled for Friday May 26, the Knights outscored the Comets 5-2. But it wasn't enough to overcome a 5-1 deficit from the first five frames. The third-seeded Comets held on for a 7-6 victory, improving their record to 16-7 while sixth-seeded Hempfield's season ended with a 12-9 record. Both teams had a first-round bye in districts.
Penn Manor built a 4-0 lead after three innings. Ryan Witmer and Dylan Frey each drove in runs in the first inning. A couple of Hempfield errors helped Manor plate two more in the third.
Greg Gambler got an RBI single for the Knights in the fifth.
It got the visiting Knights' offense going as they eventually tied the game 5-5. Mark Peterson stroked a two-run double. The rallying Knights kept coming after the Comets with sophomore Justin Lichtenwalner's sacrifice fly RBI evening the score.
Penn Manor went up by two with an RBI from Grant Gale and a bases-loaded walk. Hempfield's final push was on C.J. Saylor's RBI single, driving in Gambler.
The District Three 6A softball quarterfinal game at Landisville was put on hold for 24 hours. The Black Knights got to host Chambersburg on Friday, May 26. It was a close game that the Trojans won 3-2.
It was yet another close game for a team which had lost in the Lancaster-Lebanon League semifinals by a 4-3 score 10 days prior.
"We finished the season 18-5 and four of those five losses were by a run," head coach Terry Shreiner pointed out. "The last few games were close and when you get to this point in the season, that's what you expect."
The Black Knights got both of their runs on the long ball. Sophomore second sacker Gabbi Tuner slugged solo homers in support of senior starter Kara Cook.
"Kara Cook pitched one heck of a game, holding them to five hits and not walking any," Shreiner remarked. "One of their runs came on a ball that got into the gap with our center fielder trying to make a great play.
"We had opportunities to score, but didn't," he added. "They put runs together and we didn't. For example, we had a bunt we popped up for a double play."
The Knights will say goodbye to Cook, and three other seniors, including Lexie Unangst.
"We lose four seniors - three of them everyday players," Shreiner said. "I do have seven players coming back and some kids from jayvee ball that'll slide right in. Some sophomores.
"We'll be young," he added. "We will have a lot more team speed next year, so we'll be looking to do some more small ball."
MT Lax Teams Fall in PIAA Quarterfinals June 5, 2017
There is a somewhat accepted opinion that the District One level of lacrosse is one of the stronger ones in the Commonwealth.
There is also a generally accepted school of thought that Manheim Township's lacrosse teams are among the strongest from District Three schools.
In the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class-AAA playoffs, both the Township boys' and girls' teams squared off against District One opponents in a doubleheader at Governor Mifflin on Saturday.
Both teams battled their respective opponents, but came up short.
The Springfield (Delco) girls' team downed Township 9-7 in the opener of the twin bill followed by the Conestoga Pioneers topping Township 12-6 in the nightcap.
The girls' game was a battle between the runners up in the Districts One and Three. Skylar Dorenkamp and Sarah Elias each had two goals and one assist for Township before the Cougars' (19-4) defense was able to stop them. The Streaks (21-4) tied the game on multiple occasions, but never took the lead. They fell behind 5-3 early in the second half, but battled back to even it at 5-5.
Shannon Elias added one goal as did Maris Large. Lucy Svetec netted one goal and assisted on two others. Liz Musser also dished off one assist.
Haley McCullough grabbed nine saves in goal, keeping the score close for much of the match.
Springfield junior Dana Carlson notched a hat trick. The Cougars out-shot the Blue Streaks 18-10.
The Township girls were coming off a first-round victory over the Pine Richland Rams - the District Seven champions. The match was played at Greensburg on Tuesday afternoon. Sarah Elias and Svetec each scored four goals to keep the Township momentum going. The team led 9-5 in the first half and had to regain the scoring spark after the Rams (15-5) cut the deficit to one goal.
Musser had a hat trick and Taylor Kopan added two more goals.
The boys' team was coming off a 14-5 thumping of Peters Township. This too was part of a doubleheader as the boys' game followed the girls' match with Pine Richland at Hempfield Area H.S. in Greensburg.
The Streaks, who improved to 21-3 with the win, took an 8-3 lead into the second half. They got solid goal tending by Caton Johnson (10 saves) while Owen Miller led the team in scoring with four goals and an assist.
Bruce Hutchingson added a hat trick for the Streaks and Grayson Sallade scored two goals while assisting on another. Tyler Kurtz, Tre Freeman, Ben Mann, Zach Diamond and Jack Kingsbury each scored one goal. Giving out assists to the count of three was Sean Curcio. Freeman and Eddie Newman each had one assist.
In the game against Conestoga, the Streaks were hot on the Pioneers' heels for much of the game. It was a successful first quarter for Conestoga (21-3), the District One champ. The Pioneers scored four times, but only took a 5-2 lead into the second half. The Streaks scored three times in the third quarter and trailed by only four going into the final stanza.
Hutchinson and Sallade each scored twice. Freeman and Diamond added one goal each. Curcio chipped in with an assist. Johnson recorded eight saves.
An eight-run fifth inning was the big difference in Friday's District Three 6A quarterfinal game at Dallastown. The Wildcats came back from a 2-1 deficit to score eight in the home half of the fifth, ending Manheim Township's season.
The game had been postponed to Friday because of steady rain on Thursday, May 25. Dallastown, the second seed in the district, had gotten a first-round bye while MT had defeated Cumberland Valley by a run in the opening round.
Nick Parker had a double and a run batted in as he went 2-for-4 for the Wildcats. Tye Golden also had two hits and an RBI.
The Streaks got on the board with a run in the top of the first. After the Wildcats tied it, the Streaks went ahead 2-1 in the top of the fifth - a short-lived lead until that eight-run explosion in the home half of that inning.
Ethan Kile and Rece Bender drove in the Township runs. Kile had two hits, including a triple. Hunter McClintock, who had a steal, scored one of Township's runs and Colin Yablonski scored on Kile's triple.
Dallastown improved to 16-4 and went on to win the district title. Township's season ended at 12-10.