BEDFORD - Taylor Swatsworth lived up to her surname Monday afternoon, and as a result, Central Cambria lived to fight another day in the PIAA Class AA state softball playoffs.
Swatsworth, Central Cambria's senior shortstop, swatted a two-run home run in the first inning and a grand slam in the seventh to lead the Lady Red Devils to a 14-6 win over Chestnut Ridge in a first-round, PIAA playoff matchup on the Bedford Area High School softball field.
Central Cambria (15-2) advances to the second round of states to face District 7 champion Burrell Thursday at a site and time to be determined. Chestnut Ridge closed the books on a 21-2 season.
Mirror photo by Gary N.?Baranec
Central Cambria coach Pat Stock high-fives Taylor Swatsworth, who belted a first-inning home run.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Central Cambria’s Breanne James (right) hugs Kiersten Lorditch after homering in Monday’s game.
Swatsworth highlighted Central Cambria's four-run first inning with a two-run homer to right-center off Ridge ace senior right-handed pitcher Stefanie McCoy. With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Swatsworth lofted another McCoy pitch over the fence in right.
"On the first one, I just went up to the plate and thought to myself, 'Center field, center field,''' said a beaming Swatsworth after the game. "I just went with the pitch. It was a solid hit, but I was surprised when it went out.
"The grand slam felt awesome,'' Swatsworth added. "I never thought in a million years that I'd do that. It's an indescribable feeling. I'm so happy to help my team out.''
Swatsworth's first-inning homer followed Kiersten's Lorditch's leadoff single and preceded a run-scoring triple by third baseman Ali Vogatsky and a run-producing sacrifice fly by Aimee Espe.
Senior catcher Breanne James, who also scored a run in the inning after singling prior to Vogatsky's triple, had a big game for Central Cambria. James went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs, unloading a two-run homer after Swatsworth had reached on a Ridge error to lead off the third.
In the seventh inning, senior right fielder Kacey Haluska reached on a forceout, and moved to second on Mackenzie Magley's single, before Lorditch walked to load the bases. Swatsworth followed with her grand slam, giving Central Cambria a 14-6 lead and putting the game on ice.
Haluska had a two-run single in the fifth inning and James chipped in an RBI single in the sixth inning for Central Cambria, which benefited from five Ridge errors to score five unearned runs.
"We've got a good team and they've got a good team,'' Ridge coach Chuck Corle said. "I thought we'd score some runs, but we made way too many errors today.''
Central Cambria made four errors itself, but the Lady Devils' long-ball power made up for the miscues in the field.
"We won it today with our bats,'' Central Cambria coach Pat Stock said. "We have to continue to hit like we did today, but we must field a little better to have a chance in the next round.''
Ridge battled gamely, answering Central Cambria's four first-inning runs with three of its own in the bottom of the inning. McCoy slugged a two-run homer to left-center after senior center fielder Tiffany Clingerman's leadoff single to account for two of the runs. Senior third baseman Brittany Mock's RBI single cashed Clingerman with the third run.
Ridge tied the game, 4-4 with an unearned run in the second, courtesy of two Central Cambria errors, before James' two-run homer in the third put Central Cambria ahead to stay, 6-4.
The Lady Red Devils scored two unearned runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. McCoy was 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored for Ridge.
Senior righthander Jordan Makin pitched the complete-game win for Central Cambria, scattering 10 Ridge hits. Stock praised his team's cohesive approach, and ability to shake off last week's loss to Philipsburg-Osceola in the District 6-AA championship game.
"Our players have a wonderful team attitude and ability to stay focused,'' Stock said. "We're looking forward to the next game. With the kind of desire our players possess, even though we're district runners-up, I think we always stand at least a 50-50 chance of upsetting anybody.''
CENTRAL CAMBRIA (14): Lorditch cf 431, Swatsworth ss 442, James c 523, Beyer 1b 310, Vogatsky 3b 421, Espee lf 100, Haluska rf 411, Makin p 400, Magley 2b 411. Totals - 33-14-9.
CHESTNUT RIDGE (6): Clingerman cf 513, Deaner rf 311, McCoy p 323, Weaver 3b 310, Mock ss 401, Yothers 2b 300, Dunlap lf 000, Corle dh 400, Finnegan c 311, Gates 1b 301. Totals -31-6-10.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Central Cambria402 022 4-14 9 4
Chestnut Ridge310 101 0-6 10 5
E-Swatsworth 2, Vogatsky, Espee, Weaver, Mock 2, Yothers 2. 2B-Mock. 3B-Vogatsky. HR - Swatsworth 2, James, McCoy. RBI-Swatsworth 6, James 3, Haluska 2, Vogatsky, Espee, McCoy 3, Mock. SAC-Gates. SF-Espee. HBP-Espee by McCoy. LOB-Central Cambria 4, Chestnut Ridge 10. DP-Chestnut Ridge 1 (Weaver-Gates-Mock); Central Cambria 1 (Vogatsky-Beyer).
PITCHERIP R ER H SO BB
McCoy (L)7 14 9 9 4 4
PITCHERIP R ER H SO BB
Makin (W)7 6 4 10 0 5
WP-Makin, McCoy. PB-Finnegan.
Umpires: John Nakich (HP); Gary Singel (1b); Curt Kerns (2b); Dave Lowry (3b).
Records: Central Cambria (15-2); Chestnut Ridge (21-2).