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Tide Softballers Battle Playoff Bound Squads May 15, 2017

There's at least one more week in the 2016-17 athletic season at Columbia High School as several Crimson Tide athletes will participate in this week's District Three track and field championships at Shippensburg University.

While the track athletes are still in contention for a trip to the state championships, the bats and gloves were officially put away for another year in baseball and softball.

SOFTBALL

The Tide girls finished the regular season last week with Section 4 games against the top two teams in the section, Pequea Valley and Annville-Cleona.

With both of those teams headed to the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, Columbia, despite losing both games, was competitive.

Monday, the Tide girls lost to Pequea Valley, the Section 4 champions, 7-1.

The difference in this one was the fourth inning. After the Tide scored their lone run in the top of the fourth to break open a scoreless game, the Valley Braves erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth to take control. PV added a single run in the fifth.

Columbia had just three hits in the game as PV hurlers Sabrina Ryan and Sarah Moore combined to strike out 14 Tide hitters.

The next day, coach Matt Phillips' team closed out its schedule with their final home game of the year against Annville-Cleona. Despite the lop sided nature of the final score, a 10-2 A-C win, this one was a lot closer than it appeared.

The game was scoreless through three innings, which was quite different than the first game between the two schools when A-C won 15-0 in just three innings. A-C didn't get on the scoreboard until the fourth on a two out single. In fact, there was just one base runner for both teams for the first three innings.

Columbia got their first base runner in their half of the fourth on a walk by Tiffany Hoffmaster and a double off the bat of Cameron West as the Tide plated two runs to take a 2-1 lead.

However the wheels came off for the Tide over the last two innings as A-C scored nine of their 10 runs, including three in the fifth, with one ball out of the infield.

The future is bright for the Columbia girls as they fielded a team with just one senior on their roster of 17 players in outfielder Paige Schmitt. With eight of the team's nine starters, including pitcher Hoffmaster coming back, the Tide should easily improve on their 2-14 Section 4 and 3-17 overall record next season.

Other key players coming back are Jenna Eckman, Emily Sumpman, Serenity Faus and West, who all started in the infield and catcher/outfielder Hallie McCoy.

Columbia lost nine of their 17 games via the 10-run mercy rule this season and out of their 17 losses, six were to teams that qualified for the District Three playoffs.

BASEBALL

The Tide '9' in baseball, under second-year coach Jordan Higgins, are probably wishing they were still playing. They played some of their best baseball over the final two weeks, going 1-1 in the final two games and 2-2 over the final four games.

Last week, the Tide split games with Pequea Valley and Annville-Cleona to finish the season with a 4-16 overall record. They were 3-13 in Section 4.

After going nine straight games scoring just three runs, over the last four games, Columbia scored 16 runs and allowed 19.

Monday, in a pitcher's duel, the Tide scored twice in the bottom of the fifth and held on for a 4-3 win over the Braves.

Columbia scored single runs in the first two innings of the game before PV tied things up with a two spot in the third and then took a 3-2 lead with a run in their half of the fifth.

Senior pitcher Bailey Sollenberger allowed just four hits in five plus innings of work. Two of the three PV runs were earned. He struck out four and walked five before being relieved by Brandon Ziegler, who struck out one and walked six in just one third of an inning. Andrew Sheckard picked up the save for the Tide.

At the dish, Sollenberger, Tyreese Musser, Dorian Grimes and Sheckard scored for the Tide. Columbia had six hits for the game as Sollenberger helped himself with three of them. Nathan Houseal drove in Columbia's lone earned run, while Sheckard contributed a double and two stolen bases in the win.

The Tide closed out its regular season last Wednesday losing to Annville-Cleona by a 10-2 score. The big inning for the Little Dutchmen was the fourth when they scored half of their runs.

A-C had just seven hits in the game off four Tide pitchers - Zac Nikolaus, Ryan Redding, Sheckard and Ziegler. The four Tide hurlers combined for two strikeouts and six walks. Nikolaus, the starter, gave up nine of the 10 runs, but only four were earned.

At the plate, Dorian Grimes and Sheckard scored both of Columbia's runs, while Sheckard, a senior, also contributed with two of the Tide's six hits. Also getting hits were Matt Gambler, a freshman, Musser, Grimes and Ziegler, who drove in one run.

Redding was credited with a sacrifice and Sollenberger picked up the Tide's lone walk.

Columbia, like the Tide in softball, is in good shape for the future. There are just four seniors on the team - Sheckard, Sollenberger, Musser and Nikolaus. Three players - Sheckard (15), Sollenberger (12) and Redding (11) reached double figures in hits for the season.

Sheckard led the team in runs scored (11), runs batted in (7) and doubles (6), while Redding drove in five runs. Musser scored eight times and led the team in walks (13).

On the mound, Columbia pitchers struck out 80 opposing batters this year, while walking126. Sollenberger led the pitching staff in strikeout with 23.

TRACK

Columbia completed its dual meet season last Monday by traveling to Elco where they were swept, 117-39 in the boys' meet and 100-45 in the girls' meet.

Scoring first place finishes for the boys' were Yamil Rodriquez in the 100; Ishmel Wright in the 800 and Ahmad Kamara in the triple jump. The Tide's 400-meter relay team of Rodriquez, Wright, Kamara and Xaiver Jackson also won that relay.

On the girls' side, Tierre Jordan won both the 100 and 200 meter sprints along with the long jump. Jordan Haberstroh finished the dual meet season strong by winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs and Joelleen Wakefield chipped in with a first place finish in the javelin.

Friday and Saturday, the Crimson Tide participated in the annual Lancaster-Lebanon League championships at Hempfield High School.

The Tide, despite being the smallest school at the championships, did well.

On the girls' side, Haberstroh and Wakefield reached the medal stand. Haberstroh's best finish was in the 3,200 where she placed third in 11:17.8, behind McCaskey's Liuanna Tirado (11:06.4) and Katie Dickow of Warwick (11:18.2). Tirado won the race in the last 600 meters when she passed Haberstroh to pull out the win. In the 1,600, Haberstroh finished in eighth place finish.

Wakefield did not medal in her two hurdle events but was able to grab a fifth place finish in the javelin with a toss of 110-1.

Also competing but not receiving a medal were sprinter Jordan and thrower Kylah Farley.

On the boys' side, Rodriquez, who was eighth in the 100, and Kamara, with an eighth place finish in the triple jump, both received medals. Rodriquez also participated in the 200 and anchored the 400-meter relay team. Kamra, along with the triple jump and relay also jumped in the long jump. Other Tide athletes participating were Wright (relay and 800), Jonathan Hinkle (800), Xaiver Jackson (relay), Mitchel Lutz (shot put), Luis Delgado (discus) and Colin Dietz (javelin).

A number of the Tide athletes have qualified for this week's District Three championships, which begin Friday.

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Columbia Track Looks Forward to the Post-Season May 8, 2017

The regular season of sports concludes this week at Columbia High School with some athletes moving onto the post-season.

Last week was a busy one for Coach David Farley and his team with a dual meet and an invitational, both on the road and within eye shot of Columbia High School.

Monday in their next-to-last dual meet of the season, the Crimson Tide traveled over Kinderhook Road to battle red hot rival Donegal, whose boys and girls teams were looking for a sweep of the Section 3 titles in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The undermanned Crimson Tide proved to be no match for the Indians, who won the boys' meet 137-12 and the girls' meet 123-26.

Donegal was so dominate on the boy's side that the Tide failed to record a single first place. For the girls', Columbia had three first place finishes, two from Jordan Haberstroh and the third from Joelleen Wakefield.

Haberstroh continued her domination of the distance events, winning both the 1,600 (5:41.7) and the 3,200 (11:56.7), while Wakefield earned the longest toss of the javelin, 115-1.

Friday, the Tide ventured across the Susquehanna River to compete in the battle for the Bridge at Eastern High School. In addition to the Tide and Golden Knights, teams competing in the "Battle" were Donegal, Solanco and Lancaster Catholic from the Lancaster-Lebanon League and York Suburban, Kennard-Dale and New Oxford from the York-Adams League.

One of the highlights of the "Battle" was the girls' distance races between two of the best in District 3, the Tide's Haberstroh and Eastern's Madi McLain. The two had just recently battled at the Shippensburg Invitational and will likely square off again in two weeks at the District 3 Class AA championships, also back at Shippensburg.

Friday night, it was Haberstroh who won the battle. With a 5:24, she finished 14 seconds ahead of McLain in the 1,600. She ran even faster in the 3200, topping the Eastern runner by 36 seconds with her 11:41.

The Tide's success at the "Battle" was not limited to Haberstroh. On the girls' side, Wakefield had a strong afternoon/evening as she placed in three events. She was second in the javelin with a toss of 99-2, finished sixth in the 300 hurdles in a time of 51.22 and was seventh in the 100 meter hurdles (18:18).

The third Columbia girl competing was Kylah Farley, who was eighth in the shot put and settled for 11th place in the discus.

On the boys' side, senior Yamil Rodriquez had an outstanding showing. He was second in the 100 with a time of 11.34, finishing behind Donnell Williams of Kennard-Dale. In the 200, Rodriquez was fourth with a 23.57. Xaiver Jackson also competed in the 200 and was 10th.

In his third event, Rodriquez ran the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay team that placed third. Other members of that team included Jackson, Ishmel Wright and Ahmad Kamara.

Kamara also had a good showing, placing third in both the triple jump and long jump.

Other Columbia athletes competing at the "Battle" and their place finishes were: Jonathan Hinkle, 11th in the 400; Wright, 10th in the 800; Luis DeJesus and Mitchel Lutz, 14th and 17th respectively in the shot put; DeJesus, 12th and Lutz, 17th in the discus; Colin Dietz, 17th in the javelin; John Carlos Rodriquez and Gabriel Davila, who did not place in the high jump and Davilla, 12th in the long jump.

BASEBALL

The Crimson Tide had a pretty good week last week in their games against Lebanon Catholic and Lancaster Catholic, playing perhaps their best two games of the season.

Monday on the road on Assumption Hill, the Tide won for the first time in 13 games, beating Lebanon Catholic for the second time this season, 9-4.

Zac Nikolaus pitched the complete game for the Tide, allowing the Beavers just four hits and two earned runs in striking out six and walking five in throwing 98 pitches.

At the dish, Columbia led 4-1 after two innings and scored five runs over the final four innings of the game. Columbia had just seven hits for the game, two each from senior Andrew Sheckard and freshman Ryan Redding. Sheckard and Mason Sheetz each scored two runs in the win.

Others getting hits for the Tide were Matt Derr, Dorian Grimes and Brendon Ziegler. Of the seven hits, four were doubles, two off the bat of Sheckard and one each from Grimes and Redding, who was also credited with two RBIs. In addition to his two hits, Sheetz also reached base two other times with walks. Tyreese Musser reached base three times by walking.

Two days later, the Tide and Lancaster Catholic hooked up in a pitcher's duel with the Crusaders scoring a 2-1 win.

Catholic scored both of their runs in the first two innings of the game, while the Tide's Ziegler scored his team's lone run on an RBI hit by Redding. Those two had the Tide's lone hits of the game.

Columbia pitcher Bailey Sollenberger, who pitched the first 5.2 innings, allowed both Catholic runs while allowing four hits and striking out five and walking three. He threw 102 pitches and was relieved in the sixth by Ziegler, who needed just three pitches to get out of the sixth inning.

Catholic pitchers, Dylan Atkinson and Bryan Downing combined to strike out four and walk four. Reaching base for the Tide via walks were Austin Cramer, Grimes, Sollenberger and Ziegler, while Musser was hit by a pitch and Nikolaus was credited with a sacrifice.

The Tide is now 3-14.

SOFTBALL

Although the regular season ends this week for the Tide in softball, there are still some hopes coach Matt Phillips and his team could qualify for the District Three Class AA playoffs.

Entering the final two games of the regular season, the softballers are fifth in the Class AA power rankings and trail fourth seeded Camp Hill by .22 points. The top four teams qualify for the Class AA playoffs. Columbia, at 3-15, would need at least one win in their final two games to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in three years.

Last week was a wild week for the Tide with games against Lebanon Catholic and Lancaster Catholic.

Monday, the girls broke a 10-game losing streak in a big way against the winless Beavers. Not only did they score a 15-0 win, but pitcher Tiffany Hoffmaster brought her 'A' game. She fired a three-inning no-hitter, striking out nine of the 16 batters she faced. The lone blemish on her day was a walk. For one of the rare times this year, Columbia was flawless in the field.

At the dish, this one was over early as Columbia scored 11 of their 15 runs in the first inning. The girls had just seven hits for the game that ended after three innings because of the mercy rule, but were the benefactors of eight walks from Beaver hurler Faith Kostow and four Lebanon Catholic errors in the field.

Columbia scored three in the second and ended the game with a single run in the third.

Wednesday, the Tide and Lancaster Catholic were involved in a wild one. The final totals were 25 runs (11 in the first inning), 20 hits, four errors, seven strikeouts and eight walks. It added up to a 19-6 win over the Tide by the Crusaders.

Lancaster Catholic scored eight runs in the first and the Tide countered with three in the bottom half and pulled within 8-4 after two innings. Catholic then scored 11 runs over the next three innings to break the game wide open and end it after just five innings because of the 10-run rule.

Schedule

The baseball and softball teams play their final two regular season games on Monday and Tuesday against Pequea Valley (baseball is home) and Annville-Cleona (softball is home).

In track, Columbia travels to Elco for their final Section 3 meet of the year. Friday and Saturday, they will compete in the annual Lancaster-Lebanon League championships at Hempfield High School.

Next week, right now, Columbia has seven athletes who have qualified for the District Three championships at Shippensburg University.

According to Coach Farley, three Tide girls will compete in eight events in the post-season, while four Tide boys will compete in nine events. Those figures could change this week with the dual meet against Elco and qualifying performances at the league championships.

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Tide Softball Wraps Up Crossover Games May 1, 2017

As the 2016-17 athletic season winds down at Columbia High School, despite the lack of success in terms of wins and losses, there has been some individual success.

SOFTBALL

The softball team struggled last week, falling short against Northern Lebanon, L-L power house Donegal and Lancaster Mennonite.

Coach Matt Phillips' team ended the week losing to Mennonite by a 7-1 score. The game was tied at 1-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning when the Blazers broke things open with three runs. They extended the advantage with three runs in their half of the sixth.

Wednesday, the Tide made the short trip up Kinderhook Road for their final crossover game of the season. Donegal, one of the top teams in the Lancaster-Lebanon League, buried the Tide by a score of 18-1. This one went three innings because of the 15 run mercy rule.

The Indians scored 10 runs in the first and eight in the second. They had 15 hits for the game, while the Tide committed six errors in the field.

Columbia opened the week with a 15-3, five-inning loss against Northern Lebanon.

Schedule

This is the last full week of the 2017 season with baseball and softball taking on Lebanon Catholic, Lancaster Catholic (Wednesday) and Annville-Cleona (Friday). The regular season concludes May 8 with games against Pequea Valley.

In track, the Tide closes its regular season Friday with a trip across the Susquehanna River for the Battle of the Bridges at Eastern York High School.

TRACK

It was a pretty impressive week for the Crimson Tide in track, despite getting swept by Northern Lebanon. The Tide's six member team almost pulled off a major upset, falling to the Vikings by one point, 59-58, last Monday.

So how did the Tide girls with just six athletes almost pull off the dual meet win? Three of their six girls won three events each and they finished with ten wins on the day.

Joeleen Wakefield won both hurdle events (the high hurdles and 300 hurdles) and added a third first place by winning the javelin. Jordan Haberstroh, as she has done all year, won the two distance events (1,600 and 3,200) and for the first time this season, competed in the 800 and won that as well. Tierre Jordan dominated the sprints, winning the 100 and 200 and then jumped into the field events and leaped to a first place finish in the long jump.

Adding to the run of first place finishers was Kylah Farley, who won the shot put.

The other eight points came when Wakefield was second in the 200 and Jordan finished second in the high jump. Third place finishes from Farley in the javelin and discus added to the point total.

The Tide boys had a tougher time against Northern Lebanon as they were beaten, 102-43.

Ahmad Kamara and Yamil Rodriquez won two events each. Kamara was brilliant in the field, winning the long and triple jumps, while the speedy Rodriquez won the100 and 200. The other first place finish for the Tide came from Luis DeJesus in the discus.

Placing second for the Tide were Kamara in the 100, Colin Dietz in the javelin and DeJesus in the shot put. Third place winners included Jonathan Hinkle in the 400, Dietz in the discus and Mitchel Lutz in the shot put.

Friday, four Crimson Tide athletes hit the big time, traveling to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, to participate with thousands of other athletes from across the United States in the prestigious Penn Relays at the historic Franklin Field, which is in its 91st year.

Columbia competed with about 200 other high schools in the 4 by 100 relay. The team running was Kamara, Ishmel Wright, Hinkle and Rodriquez. They placed eighth in their heat in a time of 46.92.

BASEBALL

Coach Jordan Higgins and his Crimson Tide baseball team enter the final four games of the regular season looking to snap a 12-game losing streak. Last week, the Tide lost to Northern Lebanon, Lebanon and Lancaster Mennonite and fell to 2-14 on the season.

Since scoring 11 runs in their last win in early April, the Tide has scored just 10 runs in 12 games and have been shutout seven times, including last week's games against Northern Lebanon and Lebanon.

Columbia opened the week losing to Northern Lebanon by a 14-0 score in a game that lasted five inning because of the 10 run rule.

The Crimson Tide had just three hits off the bats of Matt Gambler, Andrew Sheckard and Bailey Sollenberger. Chandler Gibson, Dorian Grimes and Tyreese Musser reached base with walks.

The Vikings scored a combined seven runs in second and third innings.

Wednesday, the Tide may have played its best game since beating Lebanon Catholic in early April, losing to Lebanon by a 3-0 score.

The Cedars scored all their runs off Sollenberger in the third inning.

At the dish, the Tide had their chances but could not dent the plate. They banged out eight hits for the game, including two from Gambler while Musser, Sheckard, Sollenberger, Grimes and Brendon Ziegler all added one hit each. Ryan Redding also reached when he was hit by a pitch.

Columbia closed the week, losing for a second time this season, against Lancaster Mennonite, 13-3 in another game that lasted just five innings.

The Blazers blazed their way to a 7-0 lead after two innings then picked up three more in the top of the fourth before Columbia scored three in the bottom half. Mennonite ended the game with a three run fifth inning.

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Tide Softballers Fourth in AA Power Ratings April 24, 2017

There are just two full weeks left in the final sports season of the 2016-17 school year and there is a possibility that Columbia High School will have representatives heading to the post-season in two sports, softball and track.

Despite a 2-8 overall record, the Crimson Tide softball team is in the running for a District Three Class AA playoff spot and the track teams will have athletes competing in the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District 3 championships, starting in about three weeks.

SOFTBALL

Despite going 0-3 last week, the Tide girls are fourth in the Class AA power ratings, ahead of one win Camp Hill and two win Newport. The top three teams in the Class AA field are Upper Dauphin (2-8), Airfield (4-4) and York Catholic (4-5). The Tide girls were last in the District 3 playoffs two years ago when they were beaten by Millersburg, 10-0.

Probably the best game of the week was Wednesday's game at Manheim Central. The combined numbers for the game were 23 runs, 17 hits, 11 errors, 12 strikeouts and seven walks.

Those crazy numbers added up to a 13-10 win for the Lady Barons.

Central looked strong early and led 9-0 after three innings, but they were unable to close out the Tide. Coach Matt Phillips' team got back into the game over the middle three innings when they scored nine of their 10 runs, but got no closer.

Tide hurler Tiffany Hoffmaster struck out seven and walked one but gave up 10 hits.

That was it for runs for the Tide girls for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, on the road at Cocalico, the Eagles scored runs in every inning of the game and defeated the Tide 16-0 in four innings.

Columbia was limited to five hits but also committed five errors in the loss.

The week ended with the Tide getting no-hit for the second time this season.

Pioneer hurler Delaney Baker struck out nine as L-S scored a 10-0, five inning win.

L-S led 3-0 entering the bottom of the fourth when they erupted for six runs to break the game open. They ended the game with a solo run in the bottom of the fifth.

BASEBALL

Columbia had an extremely busy week last week. After playing four games in four days the week before, coach Jordan Higgins' team topped that last week by playing five games in five days and the results were not good for a small team that lacks pitching depth.

The Tide '9' went 0-5 for the week and were outscored 72-7.

The most competitive of the five games was a Thursday non-league game in Berks County against Antietam, which the Tide lost 11-3.

Take away a seven-run second inning and this one would have been much closer. Antietam had just nine hits off Tide pitchers Ryan Redding and Nathan Resch, who combined to strikeout seven but also walked seven.

Columbia scored single runs in the first, fifth and sixth innings but were held to just four hits in the game.

The full week of games got off to an unfortunate start for the Tide as they were blanked by Manheim Central, 15-0, in a game that lasted three innings.

The Barons scored 12 of those runs in the first inning.

Andrew Sheckard, with a single and double, had two of the Tide's three hits in the game. The other hit was off the bat of Redding.

Tuesday, the Tide hosted Lancaster Catholic in a make-up game and lost 16-1, in another three inning outing.

Joe Besecker limited the Tide to just one hit.

Catholic took a 3-0 lead in the first and scored nine runs in the second inning after Columbia got the first two batters out. The Crimson Tide scored their only run of the game in the second inning when Tyreese Musser walked and later scored on the Tide's lone hit of the game by Mason Sheetz.

The Tide committed five errors and walked eight batters, according to Coach Higgins.

Wednesday was a road trip to Cocalico and a 16-1 loss to the Eagles.

In a four inning outing, the Eagles scored crooked numbers in all four innings, while pitcher Nathaniel Martin allowed just two hits, while striking out nine and walking four.

The Tide scored their lone run in the third inning when Sheckard singled and scored on a double off the bat of Bailey Schoenberg.

In their fifth and final game of the week, a tired Tide hosted Garden Spot and lost 13-0 in a game called after five innings because of the ten run rule.

The Tide had just two hits and struggled in the field, committing seven errors.

TRACK

Columbia got its first taste of the post-season Saturday when they participated in the 91st John Roddick Invitational at Shippensburg University, home of the upcoming District Three and PIAA championships.

The Tide took four girls to Shippensburg and three of them came back to Columbia with medals. Jordan Haberstroh, Joeleen Wakefield and Tierre Jordan all earned hardware.

Haberstroh, a junior and one of the best distance runners in the L-L League, placed third in her two signature events, the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter runs.

Haberstroh battled Eastern's distance ace Maddie McLain, who won the 1,600, but settled for third in the 3,200. Tina Coryell, of Marian Catholic, finished second in the 1,600 while Christina Falcon of Pine Grove won the 3,200.

McLain and Haberstroh will meet again next week at the Battle of the Bridges at Eastern and two weeks later at the district championships.

In the sprints, Jordan placed fifth in the 100 and just missed her second medal in 200 when she placed ninth, .5 seconds behind the eighth place finisher.

Wakefield, who competed in both hurdle events along with the discus, also brought home two medals. She placed eighth in the 300 hurdles and she was a seventh place finisher in the discus. She also competed in the 100-meter hurdles.

As a team, the Tide girls placed 15th out of 30 teams.

On the boys' side, Columbia brought home one meal and that was in the 4x100-meter relay as the team of Yamil Rodriquez, Ishmel Wright, Ahmad Kamara and Xaiver Jackson placed fifth.

While the Tide will enjoy success in invitationals and the post-season, a lack of numbers prevents Columbia from experiencing that same success in dual meets.

In Section 3 action last week, the boys dropped a 120-24 final against Lancaster Mennonite while the girls fell 83-49.

On the boys' side, Columbia won just two events. Wright won the 800, while Kamara won the long jump.

For the girls', Jordan and Wakefield each won three events. Jordan won both the 100 and 200 meter sprints and added a victory in the high jump. Wakefield, as she has done most of the season, won both hurdle events and then added a first place finish in the discus. Adding to the first place surge was Haberstroh, who won two distance events yet again.

Schedule

There are, weather permitting, two full weeks of activity before the post-season begins.

In baseball and softball, crossover games end this week with Monday games against Northern Lebanon (softball is home) and Wednesday against Lebanon in baseball and Donegal in softball. The Tide returns to Section 4 play on Friday with games against Lancaster Mennonite, with baseball on the hill.

The track teams have completed their run of home meets and travel to Northern Lebanon this week.

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Tide Hardballers Battle Annville-Cleona April 17, 2017

The Easter week at Columbia High School, athletically, was a busy one. The baseball and softball teams played four games in four days and the track teams were again home.

The week also featured somewhat of a high school rarity. Both the Tide baseball team and softball teams were no-hit on the same day by the same school. That was last Monday when the Tide faced Annville-Cleona.

On the road, the Tide girls were blanked by a 15-0 score, in a game that ended after three innings.

The story of the game was A-C pitcher Zoey Garis, who fired a no-hitter, while striking out four and walking one, just missing a perfect game.

A-C scored seven runs in the first, added two more in the second and ended the game with a six-run third inning.

Meanwhile on the hill in Columbia, there was another gem being pitched in baseball. Little Dutchmen pitcher, Andrew Long, was anything but long in the 9-0 A-C win. Like Garis, Long was tantalizing as he struck out 12 and walked just one.

Columbia not only got no hit but their pitchers walked a combined eight batters and also committed eight errors in the field.

BASEBALL

In baseball pitching in a big part of the game. When you are a small school dealing with the new PIAA pitch count rules and face a four games in four day week, you need a lot of arms.

In the two games after being no hit by Annville-Cleona, the Tide was dominated by York Vo-Tech in a non-league game and Pequea Valley in a Section 4 contest.

Tuesday the Tide banged out eight hits and scored twice against the Spartans. Unfortunately, Columbia suffered a 16-2 loss.

YVT touched three Tide pitchers for 16 hits. The staff also walked nine batters and defensively, Columbia committed four errors in the field and also allowed seven stolen bases.

YVT scored three runs in the first and added a single run in the third. Over the middle three innings of the game, the Spartans scored six more times. The visitors broke the game wide open with a six spot in the seventh.

Columbia's two runs were scored by Matt Gambler and Dorian Grimes. Mason Sheetz had two of the eight hits for the Tide. Others with hits were Ryan Redding, Tyreese Musser, Nathan Nikolaus, Bailey Sollenberger, Brendon Ziegler and Grimes.

There were also a combined 18 runners left on base. For the Spartans, every starter but one had at least one hit.

A day later, at Pequea Valley, the Tide was blanked, 10-0. Columbia got one hit in the game, a lead off first inning single off the bat of Redding. Five other Tide hitters reached on walks, but they could not dent the dish.

The Valley Braves scored five runs in the first and four in the second to break the game open.

Columbia's bats remained silent in their fourth and final game of the week against Elco in a 10-0 loss to the Raiders.

For the second straight game, and the third time during the week, the Tide was shutout in a game that lasted just six innings because of the 10-run rule. The game also marked the second straight day Columbia got just one hit, a single off the bat of catcher Matt Gambler. Columbia had two other base runners, Andrew Sheckard and Musser, who walked.

The Raiders scored in every inning of the shortened game but the first and banged out 12 hits off two Columbia hurlers, including Nikolaus, who took the loss.

Elco pitchers Cole Miller and Travis Weaver struck out 12.

SOFTBALL

While the baseball team struggled, the Tide girls provided some spring drama by scoring their second win of the season, a 9-8 thriller over York Vo-Tech in eight innings.

The Tide rallied most of the game to beat the Spartans, early and late.

Vo-Tech scored three runs in the first inning and easily looked in control of the game. However in their half of the first, the Tide girls quickly tied the game. Hits by Hallie McCoy, Jenna Eckman and Cameron West produced three runs. Two Vo-Tech errors also helped the cause.

The Tide took their first lead of the game in the second on a run producing single by West with two outs. That lead didn't last long. Vo-Tech used two walks, two Tide errors, and a single to score four runs for a 7-4 lead in the third.

That's when the game calmed down a little until the sixth when the Tide scored twice to trail 7-6. Vo-Tech took an 8-6 lead in the top of the seventh. Again, the Tide rallied to tie the game at 8-8, having the winning run cut down at the plate in the bottom of the seventh.

Columbia pulled out the win in the home half of the eighth. They needed just three batters to win. Serenity Faus started the inning with a single and stole second. West then reached base bringing the Tide's Tiffany Hoffmaster to the dish. She crushed a pitch off the left field fence at Glatfelter Field easily plating Faus with the winning run.

Wednesday, the Tide girls struggled against Pequea Valley, suffering a 17-1 score in a game that lasted just five innings.

This one was close through two innings as the Lady Braves led just 2-0. But the Braves scored six in the third to go up 8-0, added three more in the fourth and added another six run inning in the fifth. Although the Braves banged out 15 hits for the game, they were also aided by nine CHS errors in the field.

Columbia had just one hit in the game and scored their lone run in the fourth inning.

Thursday, again at home, against Elco, the Tide came out on the short end of an 11-5 loss.

The game was tied at 2-2 after the first inning, but the Raiders, with single runs in the second and third innings, took a 4-2 lead before breaking the game open with a five spot in the fourth.

In that first inning for Columbia, the Tide played "small ball" as a sacrifice fly off the bat of Faus scored McCoy, who led off the inning with a single. An infield hit by Hoffmaster plated West, who singled to right and stole a base.

Columbia also got two base runners on in the second but failed to score. They did pick up a single run in the fourth and two in the sixth.

The two teams combined for 19 hits and 11 errors in the field.

Another downer for the Tide happened in the second inning when second basemen Emily Sumpman left the game with a finger injury on her throwing hand.

Hoffmaster, despite giving up 12 hits, was solid in the circle as she struck out nine and walked two.

TRACK

Like the baseball and softball teams last Monday, Annville-Cleona day continued on the CHS track with the visitors from Lebanon County scoring a sweep - 123-48 in the boys' meet and 96-33 in the girls meet.

On the boys' side, Columbia got two first place finishes. Ishmel Wright won the 800-meter run in 2:25.1 while Ahmed Kamara leaped 38-6.75 to win the triple jump.

The girls had five first place finishes, all by two athletes. Joeleen Wakefield won the 100 meter high hurdles (18.4) and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (51.9) along with tossing the javelin 99-11. Jordan Haberstroh continued her domination of the distance events, winning the 1,600-meter run (5:35.8) and the 3,200-meter run (11:49).

Wakefield and Haberstroh, both juniors, are two of six girls on the girls' team. Other members include juniors Ciara Arroyo and Kylah Farley, sophomore Tierra Jordan and freshman Angelica Torrey.

The boys' team is made up of seniors James Griffith, Nathaniel Houseal, Xaiver Jackson and Michael Vega. Juniors are Isaiah Acosta, Colin Dietz, Luis DeJesus, Jonathan Hinkle, Kamara, Shawn Kemmerer and Ishmel Wright. Sophomore members include Mitchel Lutz and Damien Sweigart, while Gabe Davilla, Alvin Davis, Daneil Moreta and Jan Cords-Rodriquez, are freshmen.

Schedule

It is a little bit of a different look to the CHS sports schedule for the upcoming week.

In track, it is not a Monday meet for the Tide, but the final home meet of the season on Tuesday against Lancaster Mennonite.

In baseball, the Tide has another four game week with games against Manheim Central (home, Monday), Lancaster Catholic (Tuesday, also home), Wednesday at Cocalico and Friday home against Garden Spot. The softball team has games at Manheim Central (Monday), Cocalico (home, Wednesday) and at Lampeter-Strasburg (Friday).

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Tide Track Teams Take on Lancaster Catholic April 9, 2017

The first full week of Lancaster-Lebanon League play brought positive results for the Columbia High School spring sports teams.

The track teams, coached by David Farley, opened their Section 3 season on the home track last week opposite Lancaster Catholic.

As stated last week, a lack of numbers will hurt the Tide's chances of winning a meet. Such was the case against the Crusaders, who won the boys' meet, 119-22 and the girls' meet, 97-35.

Despite the lopsided nature of the scores, there were a number of superior performances from the Crimson and Gold. On the boys' side, Ahmad Kamara won both the long and triple jumps with leaps of 19-4 in the long jump and 38-8 in the triple jump.

On the girls' side, Jordan Haberstroh, one of the dominate distance runners in the L-L League and Tierra Jordan, both won two events. Haberstroh won the 1,600-meter run in 5:29 and the 3,200-meter run in 11:44.8. Jordan won the sprint events - the 100 in 13.3 and the 200 in 27.1.

The only other first place finisher for the Crimson Tide girls was Joeleen Wakefield, who won the javelin with a toss of 96-4.

SOFTBALL

The Tide girls, softball team picked up their first win of the season in a mid-week contest with Lebanon Catholic.

In a battle of the two smallest teams in the Lancaster-Lebanon League, the Tide girls whipped the Beavers 16-1 in a game that lasted just four innings because of the mercy rule.

The Tide, who had just seven total hits, scored in each of the game's four innings. Coach Matt Phillips' squad pushed across four runs in the first inning and a combined nine runs in the second and third innings. Columbia scored their final three runs in the top of the fourth.

Lebanon Catholic scored its lone run in the bottom of the fourth to avert the shutout.

The Beavers had a lot of issues in the game. They committed five errors in the field, which led to a number of unearned runs, and their two pitchers combined to walk 12 Columbia batters.

CHS pitcher Tiffany Hoffmaster allowed the Beavers just one hit while striking out seven and walking one.

The Tide opened the week losing to Lancaster Mennonite by a competitive 6-1 score.

The game was scoreless entering the fifth inning when the visiting Blazers scored the game's first run and they extended that advantage to 3-0 with two runs in the sixth. Columbia scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth but got no closer as Mennonite scored three more in the top of the seventh.

Columbia had four hits in the game while Tide hurler Hoffmaster struck out a season-high eight batters, walking two and allowing 10 hits.

Friday, the girls closed out the week with a hard-fought 6-3 loss to Lancaster Catholic.

The Crusaders scored single runs in the second and fourth innings. Leading just 2-0, Catholic broke the game open with a four spot in the fourth. Down but not out, Columbia tried to make a game of it when they erupted for three runs in the top of the seventh but got no closer than 6-3.

BASEBALL

Coach Jordan Higgins' squad opened last week with its lone night game of the season on the road at Lancaster Mennonite.

The home standing Blazers scored a 9-2 win over the Crimson Tide.

"In every baseball game it comes down to throwing strikes and making plays defensively. My belief is that fundamental, defensive baseball works wonders and we just didn't do that tonight," said Higgins.

Columbia had their chances in this one. They scored two of their runs in the top of the fourth but still trailed 5-2. Crossing the plate with runs were Brendon Ziegler and Joseph Pizzaro.

Mennonite broke the game open with a three spot in the home half of the fourth.

The Tide left the bases loaded in the first. Mennonite prevented any damage by striking out six straight hitters in the first two innings of the game.

For the game, Columbia hitters struck out 13 times, their pitchers walked 12 and they committed six errors in the field.

Ziegler was the starting pitcher for Columbia and was relieved by Chandler Gibson.

"On a positive note, the swings are looking better and we are starting to knock on the door. Now we just need a few guys to give us that extra push and bust through," Higgins stated. "The guys didn't quit and I commend them for that, but now we are on to the next one."

In their second game of the week, the Tide '9' had a lot of fun in an 11-1, five inning win over Lebanon Catholic.

This one was over from the start. The Beavers touched Tide freshman hurler Ryan Redding for their only run in the top of the first. He settled down from that point and had a stellar outing in his first varsity start, allowing just one inning the rest of the way.

"With all of our pitchers, our focus is throwing strikes," Higgins said. "We are getting better defensively. It's putting that trust in one another."

Columbia took the lead when Dorian Grimes sliced a two-run single to right, followed by Andrew Sheckard's run-scoring triple. Sheckard scored on Redding's single.

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Austin Cramer, who singled to lead off the third inning, advanced to second on an error and one out later scored when Pizarro's infield single was thrown away for another error, one of five committed by the Beavers.

The Tide scored twice more in the third to go up 7-1, and, aided by five walks and two more Lebanon Catholic miscues, added two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

"We are really trying to teach these guys to be good fundamental ballplayers, and to be good men, too," Higgins said.

Redding struck out six and walked two batters as the Tide picked up their second win of the season.

Columbia's third game of the week, a Friday home game with Lancaster Catholic, was postponed until later this month by poor field conditions on the hill.

Schedule

The Easter holiday week will be a busy one for the Tide in baseball and softball. The two teams will be playing four games in four days. The teams have league game with Annville-Cleona (Monday), Pequea Valley (Wednesday) and Elco (Thursday). They also have a non-league game on Tuesday, with both teams home against York Tech. The baseball team is home on Monday, while the softball team is home Wednesday and Thursday.

In track, the Tide athletes host Annville-Cleona.

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Tide Baseball Opens 2017 With Mixed Results April 3, 2017

The final sports season at Columbia High School is under way with the three spring teams - baseball, softball and track looking to end the 2016-17 athletic year on a high note.

In the fall and winter sports, Crimson Tide athletes represented the school with good results at the district and state levels. What team or athletes wearing the Crimson and Gold will represent the school at those levels in the spring? That will be decided over the next month or so, weather permitting.

Here is the first spring sports round of the season.

BASEBALL

Coach Jordan Higgins and his team heading into league play, which starts this week, is 1-1 after two non-league games with Hanover and Mount Calvary.

The Tide opened its season with a 5-1 loss at Hanover. The Nighthawks scored all of their runs in the middle three innings. Of the five runs Hanover scored, only one came as the result of a hit. The Tide made three errors that allowed Hanover to win.

Columbia scored its lone run of the game in the second when a leadoff walk to Dorian Grimes led to a run on a sacrifice off the bat of Andrew Sheckard.

"We got a really nice effort on the mound from Bailey Sollenberger and a nice relief appearance from freshmen Zac Nikolaus," Higgins said.

"I truly feel we were the better team, but weather conditions have made it tough to get swings and get live action and it showed in our season opener. We are excited to get back on the field and to get a win under our belt," he added.

Getting back on the field came a few days later when the Tide got their first win of the season, 16-6, on the hill against Mount Calvary.

"We came out of the gate hard and built ourselves a nice lead early," Higgins said.

A big lead, how about a huge lead. Columbia scored 13 runs in the first inning and sent 18 batters to the plate. Last year, it was Columbia who was on the receiving ends of those type innings, this is year is a sign of improvement.

"We have to clean up the walks and errors, but overall a win is a win and it was nice to win our home opener," Higgins said.

"Andrew Sheckard and Zac Nikolaus both had bright spots on the mound and Ryan Redding collected his first career hit. Joe Pizarro ended the game with a walk-off RBI single to put us up 10 and that's always a good feeling," Higgins said.

Redding, a freshman, and Tyreese Musser, a senior, scored three runs each, while Sheckard and Brendan Ziegler scored two runs each.

Columbia had just seven hits to go with those 16 runs. Mount Calvary committed eight errors in the field. No Columbia player had more than one hit in the game. Getting hits were Redding, Sheckard, Pizzaro, Brandon Derr, Musser and Zeigler.

Mount Calvary scored three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

For the first time in a number of years, the Tide will field a junior varsity team. There are 17 players on the varsity squad including four seniors - Sheckard, Sollenberger, Musser and Gabe Grove. The team also features eight juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen.

SOFTBALL

Like the baseball team, the Tide softball team completed two non-league games last week, against Greenwood and Hanover, both of whom beat the Crimson Tide.

Coach Matt Phillips' team opened the season with their longest bus ride of the season with a game at Greenwood from the Tri-Valley League and the defending District Three Class A champion.

This one was all Greenwood, who scored an 11-0, five inning win over the Tide.

Greenwood pitcher Courtney Fleister was a one person wrecking crew. On the bump, she allowed the Tide girls just two hits while striking out seven. At the dish, she had three RBIs.

The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the second inning when Greenwood scored twice and they added two more in the third. Greenwood turned the game into a rout with a four spot in the bottom of the fourth.

A few days later, in the home opener, the Tide was paired with Hanover, another small school in District 3 and on a cold, brisk day, the two put on an entertaining game by combining for 28 runs. Unfortunately for the Tide, the visiting Nighthawks scored 17 of those runs in a 17-11 win.

The Tide girls have a number of players back from last year's team including pitcher Tiffany Hoffmaster. Other key players around the infield are Jenna Eckman, Emily Sumpman, Sorenity Faus and Erika West. The others are Paige Schmidt, Kylie Lachapelle and Halie McCoy.

The varsity team features 17 girls for the start of the season.

Results of the first two games were not provided for this report.

TRACK

One again, numbers will be a key concern in track for the Tide on both the boys and girls side. Despite the low numbers, coach David Farley's team does have some talented athletes that should do well at invitationals and the post-season such as the district level.

Columbia has had a couple of non-league meets. They opened the season with a quad meet known as the Out of the Blocks Invitational at the York County School of Technology. The other teams were York Catholic and York Country Day.

In their first home meet of the season, the Tide hosted the Christian School of York.

Individual results of both meets were unavailable at press time.

Schedule

Baseball and softball games are scheduled this week with Lancaster Mennonite (Monday), Lebanon Catholic (Wednesday) and Lancaster Catholic (Friday). The baseball team is home Wednesday and Friday. On the track, the Tide hosts Lancaster Catholic.

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Hoop Teams End Seasons in State Playoffs March 12, 2017

It's time to get the baseballs, softballs and track equipment out as Columbia's magical winter sports season ended Friday night in the opening round of the state basketball playoffs. Faced with the pressure of needing to win to keep their seasons going and taking their longest road trips of the season, both the Tide girls and boys basketball teams came up short in their quests for state gold. The basketball seasons ended in different parts of the state, hours away from the friendly confines of the cozy Columbia gym.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

The Tide girls hadn't been to the state playoffs in 17 years. It's also been about that long since they won 10 games. This year, thanks to a coaching change, the girls started to get back to their past glory. After winning just one game two years ago, the Tide won 10 games this season and played in the District 3 finals for the first time since 2000.

But a second place finish in District 3 sent them on the season's longest road trip against West Catholic Prep School, a team coming off their third straight District 12 title and playing less than two miles from their home court.

It was the Burrs who ended the Tide's comeback season with a 75-41 win.

The Tide finishes its season with a 10-13 record and took a big step toward past glory from the mid-1980s thru 2000 when they were among the best teams in the area year in and year out.

The future is bright for coach Karl Kreiser and his team as they lose just two starters and returning four of its top six players.

Speaking of the future, that is exactly where the Crimson Tide played Friday night, the School of the Future in Philadelphia. After a two hour bus ride, Columbia took to the court against the less traveled Burrs.

There were a combined 49 points scored in the first quarter, unfortunately, the Burrs scored 29 of them and led by nine. For West, freshman Tamiah Robinson, who scored a game-high 27 points, scored 13 in the first eight minutes of the game. For Columbia, Shanel and Jeneah Neal scored a combined 13 points.

It was still a game until the second quarter. Robinson stayed hot but the Tide scored just four points -- two each by Jeneah Neal and Savannah Walton and trailed 42-24 at the half.

Robinson scored seven more points in the third quarter but like most good teams another player picked up the slack. Morgan Kennedy, who was held to three points in the first half, erupted for 19 of her 22 in the second half and the Burrs easily advanced.

Columbia was led in scoring by Jeneah Neal with 15 points and Shanel Neal with 10.

As for the future, the Tide graduates two senior starters in Shanel Neal and forward Jordan Herchelroath, one of the top rebounders on the team. Three starters return - Jeneak Neal, Walton and Christina Jones, who started all but three games as a freshman, along with the top reserve Nevah Neal. Two other seniors, Delma DeJesus and Elena Young, also graduate. The rest of the varsity roster will come from junior varsity and junior high teams that did well this year.

Give coach Kreiser, who coached the Tide girls from 1984 through 1993, a full off-season and a strong core of players coming back, and the future is indeed bright.

While the Columbia girls were in the Eastern half of the state playoffs, coach Kerry Glover and the Tide boys, thanks to a fourth place finish in the District Three playoffs, had to go west, specifically Johnstown for their PIAA Class AAA opener.

At Richland High School, the boys faced Central Cambria, the surprise District 6 champs and the Red Devils, winners of nine straight entering Friday's game, proved too much in a 90-76 win.

One issue for the Tide, who finished the season with a 17-9 record, was the Red Devils' size. Center Matt Holsinger, who stood 6-6, scored a season high 34 points, while Evan Bopp added 25 and Matt Gillen 22. Holsinger grabbed 14 rebounds in the game and used his size to go 15-of-17 from the foul line.

The Red Devils, behind their big three, dominated early and led 25-19 after one quarter and 40-31 at the half.

But like they had done all season, Columbia found a way to get back into the game. Trailing by eight after three quarters, they were able to cut the lead to 64-58 with six minutes left. That would be as close as they could get as Central Cambria hit 21-of-22 foul shots in the final six minutes to easily win the game.

Columbia had four players in double figures led by senior Tyler Harmon with 19 points followed by Elijah Swanigan with 17, Jaden Neal with 15 and Meleik Crenshaw with 11, all in the second half.

"Our season came to an end after a tough game. We would like to thank our wonderful fans who supported us all year," said first-year head coach Glover said. "This has been an amazing year and we enjoyed the ride.

"We have restored the pride back on the hill and will be back," he added.

Like the Tide girls, the future is bright for the boys as well. Starters Neal, Crenshaw and Swanigan are back. Harmon and Tyreese Musser are the two graduating seniors. There are good numbers at the junior varsity and junior high levels that will make the Tide strong for years to come.

Both teams will be honored at a banquet later this month at the high school.

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Columbia Hoop Teams Qualify For States March 6, 2017

It's the dream of every basketball player in Pennsylvania to get a chance to play in Hershey in late March for a state championship. Both the Columbia girls and boys basketball teams, with top four finishes in the District Three tournament, will get that chance starting on Friday night.

The Tide girls, coached by Karl Kreiser, placed second in the Class AA bracket, while the boys were fourth in the Class AAA bracket.

And there is some history on the side of the Tide teams as they enter the state tournament. Back in 1986, when Kreiser was also the Tide girls coach, they lost to Camp Hill in the District Three finals and advanced to the state finals where they lost to Linesville. A year later, the Tide boys struggled with back-to-back losses in the District playoffs to place fourth. Not much was expected of the Tide once the state playoffs opened but somehow they wound up in the state finals where they won the program's only state title.

Will history repeat itself in 2017? Time will tell.

It is also the first time this season that either team will face the pressure of having to win to keep their seasons alive. If they win, they advance to the next round, where both teams will play again on Tuesday. A loss means its wait till next year.

Last Wednesday's game at the Giant Center, where the Tide girls were playing for the first time, was also a rematch, not 30 years in the making but three months. In the second game of the season, the consolation game of the Camp Hill Tournament, the Lions destroyed the Tide, 72-45.

Both teams have improved since then, particularly the Tide, who made the District Three tournament for the first time in about a decade and recorded double digit wins for the first time in 16 years.

Once again, it was the Lions who were too much, beating the Tide 59-38 for their third straight District Three title.

"I'm very proud. We never thought we'd be in a district final, so I told them to keep their heads up. We'd love to be back here again next year, but we want gold," Kreiser said after the game.

Like the second game of the season, the girls had trouble containing Lion junior Diamond Bragg. In game two of the season, she exploded for a season-high 39 points. Wednesday night, the Division I recruit recorded a rare triple-double, scoring 20 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists. To add to the equation, Bragg had four blocked shots and a couple of steals at the defensive end of the floor.

"We have my heart," Kreiser said of his squad. "I came in as a new coach and I've been pretty hard on them. They bought in 100 percent. So it's nothing but upward from here."

The Lions got off to a hot start on Wednesday, netting five first-quarter 3-pointers, two by Katy Hollingsworth, to grab an 18-10 lead. Then Bragg dominated, scoring 10 second-quarter points to spark a 16-7 run, giving the Lions a commanding 34-17 lead at the half.

Camp Hill built on its lead in the third quarter behind Passion Bragg, Diamond's younger sister, who had a pair of transition buckets, and Sheridan Reid, who had a post hoop and three rebounds. Reid finished with 10 points and five rebounds and Passion Bragg had 11 points and 12 rebounds, as the Lions out-rebounded the Tide 38-31 and turned Columbia over 17 times.

"We'll keep working. I'm not disappointed at all," Kreiser said

Shanel Neal nailed three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points and Janeah Neal added 10 points and a team-best 11 rebounds for the Tide.

Next up for the Crimson Tide girls is a return to the PIAA playoffs after a 17 year absence. Columbia will face West Catholic High School on Friday night at the School of the Future in Philadelphia with a 7:30 tip. The Burrs won their third straight District 12 Class AA title with a 74-9 win over the Maritime Academy.

Coach Beulah Osueke's team brings a 15-10 record into the game. They were 5-7 in the Philadelphia Catholic League, which was good enough for eighth place in a league which features three of the top teams in the state in Neumann Gorretti, Archbishop Wood and Archbishop Carroll. All three easily beat the Burrs. The Burrs' schedule isn't as nearly as tough as what Columbia played with teams such as Lancaster Catholic, Northern Lebanon, Camp Hill, Halifax, Lebanon Catholic and Linden Hall, who are some of the top teams in the state.

The Burrs average about 60 points a game on offense and are led in scoring by freshman Tamiah Robinson, who is averaging 17 points a game and put up back-to-back 30 point games earlier in the season. Other key players are 5-2 sophomore Destiny Epps; 5-10 sophomore Kylia Singletary; 5-7 junior Jaelynn Durrett and 5-10 senior Morgan Kennedy, who is the team's second leading scorer followed by Singletary.

Should the Tide girls win their PIAA opener, they would probably face unbeaten Minersville, who has been the top ranked team in Class AA for most of the season.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

The Tide boys are also bound for states and because of their fourth place finish, they will be trying to reach Hershey through the Western part of the bracket.

Coach Kerry Glover's team will play District 6 champion Central Cambria on Friday night at 7:30 at Richland High School in Johnstown.

Last Monday night, the Tide faced York Catholic at Milton Hershey High School in the third place game in the Class AAA field. The Fighting Irish, who were the second seed in Class AA, were coming off a tough overtime loss to Lancaster Mennonite, while the Tide was blown out by Trinity.

And it was York Catholic winning in a big way 81-62.

It was a seven point game after the first quarter with the Fighting Irish leading 25-18. They extended their advantage to 48-33 at the half. Columbia made a little bit of a comeback in the second half but were outscored 33-29.

For the game, Columbia had seven more field goals than the Tide but York Catholic was 17-of-28 from the foul line.

Elijah Swanigan led Columbia with 22 points, hitting 10-of-14 free throws, while key reserve Andrew Sheckard finished with 17 points including a team-high three 3-pointers, while Jaden Neal had 15.

For the Fighting Irish, D'Andre Davis and Melik Martin both scored 22 points.

Columbia will bring a 17-7 record into Friday's game. This was their third loss in the last five games and first time all season they have lost back-to-back games.

The Red Devils, coached by Adam Stephen, bring a 20-6 record and played in Division I of the Laurel Highlands Conference. They are playing some of the best basketball of the season, winning nine straight games including Saturday's 54-43 win over top seeded Richland in the District 6 finals. The Red Devils were the fifth seed in Class AAA. They were 10-5 in their league and are led in scoring by Evan Bopp, who is averaging 18.4 points a game, and 6-6 Matt Holsinger, who averages 16.6 a game. Nate Gillen, who averages 13.9 ppg, has 40 three-point baskets on the season.

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Tide Hoop Teams Qualify For State Tourney February 27, 2017

The dream of playing for a state basketball championship in late March in Hershey is still alive for the Columbia girls and boys basketball teams. For the Tide girls it is a return to a place where they haven't been in 17 years. For the boys, a trip to the District Three finals was thwarted by one of the best teams in the state.

Here is your March Madness weekly Columbia winter sports report.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

How long has it been since the Columbia girls' basketball team was among the elite teams not only in the Lancaster-Lebanon League but District Three as well? The answer to that question is 17 years.

The 2000 season was the last time Columbia won a district playoff game and also appeared in the district championship game and PIAA playoffs. That year, the Tide won their fourth district championship in six years, beating Trinity, 58-50.

So with that little history lesson, the Tide girls, the second seed in the Class AA field, returned to the post-season for the first time in almost a decade. Last Wednesday at Hershey High School, they face Antietam, a team they have a little history against.

You may remember that the Tide and Mountaineers were supposed to play a non-league game back on Dec. 23, but it was canceled because Antietam scheduled another game that day. So instead of a rematch, it was a game with the winner going to the District Three Class AA championship and loser going home.

And it was Columbia, following a big 50-27 win over the Mounts, moving onto the district finals and also qualifying for the PIAA playoffs, which begin Friday, March 10.

Before we can talk about the big win over the Mounts, there is more history with the girls' program to look at first. Two years ago they went 1-21 and last year they had just five wins in 21 games. This year, the Tide reached double figures in wins for the first time since 2000.

There is also some history between the Tide and Camp Hill, Wednesday's opponent in the Class AA championship at 4:30 at the Giant Center in Hershey. Turning back the clock even farther, Columbia and Camp Hill played in the District Three Class A finals in 1986 when the Lions scored a 50-45 win. Columbia got some revenge two weeks later, beating the Lions 47-45 in the Eastern finals to advance to the program's lone state final.

The coach of that team is current girls' coach Karl Kreiser, who coached the Tide girls from 1984 through 1993.

This year, the Tide and Lions played in the second game of the season with the Lions scoring an easy 72-45 win. In that one, the Lions' Diamond Bragg torched the Tide for 39 points. She is easily the best player the Tide has played against this year. Kreiser said his team has improved since that game and they won't be playing man-to-man defense against the Lions on Wednesday.

So after not playing for two weeks, Columbia got off to a quick start against the Mounts. Savannah Walton and Shanel Neal scored the first five points of the game as the Tide led 9-4 after eight minutes.

If there was any doubt as to the outcome of the game, it ended in the second quarter. Columbia took control of the game, outscoring the Mounts 14-2 to take a 23-6 lead at the half. In that second quarter, Antietam turned the ball over seven times and 18 in the first half. They were held without a field goal until 1:22 left in the first half.

Despite an attempt by Antietam in the third quarter to comeback, they never got closer than 10 points.

Jeneah Neal led the Tide with 19 points, followed by Shanel Neal with 14 (including four three-pointers) and Walton with 12. Kreiser was able to clear the bench with more than two minutes left in the game.

"Who would have thought this?" said Kreiser. "It's been 17 years since we've won the district. But now we're going to play for a district title. And who would have thought that at the start of this season? We've improved over the year. The girls have really hung in there."

The win not only put the Tide in the district finals, but also the PIAA playoffs which open Friday, March 10 against either a team from District 6 or District 12.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

The Engle Publishing history lesson also continues with the Columbia boys' basketball team, who also qualified for the state playoffs by reaching the District Three Class AAA playoffs. Coach Kerry Glover's team did that last week with a split of games against Camp Hill and Trinity.

The first history lesson deals with Camp Hill. The Lions hammered the Tide in the district playoffs a year ago, 71-45. The rematch was last Monday night on the hill as Columbia hosted a District Three playoff game for the fourth time.

In their previous three home games, the Tide was a winner. This time, it looked like an easy one for the home team, who scored a 71-70 win over the Lions, to advance to the semifinals against Trinity.

This was the tale of two games. Columbia could do nothing wrong in the first quarter. Hitting shots at a torrid pace, Columbia jumped on the shell shocked Lions and led 24-6 after eight minutes. Elijah Swanigan scored nine of his 16 points in that frame, Tyler Harmon (22 points) scored seven and Meleik Crenshaw added four.

Down but not out, the Lions started their comeback in the second quarter. Casey Caruso scored nine of his game-high 27 points but the Tide still led 37-28 at the break. Camp Hill closed the first half on a 14-3 run and continued that run in the second half.

The Tide kept the Lions at bay until Camp Hill's Casey Caruso drove for a reverse layup that cut the deficit to 62-60 with 2:48 to play.

After hitting one-of-two from the free-throw line on five straight possessions, Columbia led 68-63, but Caruso hit two free throws and the Lions forced a five-second call on an inbounds play. However, the Tide forced a turnover with 18 seconds.

The two teams exchanged free throws, with the Tide leading when Swanigan hit his huge shot from the stripe that was made even bigger. The Lions made a "Hail Mary" three at the buzzer to make it a one point final.

That win put the Tide into the semifinals against District 3 power Trinity. Columbia has only beaten Trinity twice since 1987 (the Eastern finals that year and in 1994) and again this year. The Shamrocks are the best team in the Class AAA field

With a lot of size, good shooting and defense, the Shamrocks rocked the Tide 80-45 to advance to Wednesday's championship game against Lancaster Mennonite.

And this one was close after eight minutes with Trinity leading just 14-10. Columbia led 3-0 on a three-point basket from Harmon before Trinity got hot.

The gap between the two teams widened in the second quarter and Trinity led 34-19 at the half.

Any chances of the Tide winning the game ended in the third quarter when the Shamrocks outscored the Tide 31-7 putting the mercy rule in effect early in the fourth quarter.

Jaden Neal led the Tide with 17 points.

Next up for the Tide is a third place consolation game against York Catholic, who is the number two seed in the Class AA field. The Tide has beaten the Fighting Irish twice in the last five years.

Win or lose, the Tide has qualified for the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. The first game will also be Friday, March 10 against either a team from District 12 or District 6.

WRESTLING

Columbia's wrestling season ended Saturday at the District Three Class AA wrestling championships at the Giant Center in Hershey, a match short of reaching this weekend's Class AA regional championships.

Tide junior Marcus Falcon placed eighth at 152 pounds when he was pinned by Colton Shriver of Fairfield in 2:33. The top seven wrestlers in each weight class advanced to the regional tournament this weekend at Wilson High School.

Falcon, who ended his junior season with a 15-17 record, opened the district tournament with a big 4-2 win over Taevon Miller of Susquenita before getting pinned in the quarterfinals by Ashton West of Bermudian Springs, who went onto place second in 4:36.

Now in the consolation bracket needing a win to possibly qualify for regionals, Falcon earned a tough 7-6 decision over Troy Staats of Eastern York. That win was a nice bit of revenge for Falcon, who was pinned by Staats earlier this month in a dual meet. Next up was a chance to place at least fifth in a bout with Joel Orlando of Schuylkill Valley. Orlando dominated Falcon, scoring a 10-1 major decision. That loss placed Falcon into the seventh place match.

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