BELLEFONTE - Bellefonte's Gregg Kohlhepp knows the dangers of the playoffs. The Lady Raider coach has seen his fair share of success and failure.
So when Hollidaysburg came to O'Leary Field for the semifinals of the District 6 Class AAA championship, he knew his team had to be ready.
"They are a good team," Kohlhepp said. "Don't let their record fool you. They have some great athletes and are dangerous at the plate."
Indeed, on paper this was a classic David versus Goliath matchup.
Bellefonte came in, looking to defend its district title and make a deep run in the playoffs.
Hollidaysburg is a young, tough-luck team, dropping seven of the their 14 prior losses by two runs or less.
There would be no upsets on a sun-soaked O'Leary Field, as the Lady Raiders used two strong innings from the plate and outstanding defensive performances to down Hollidaysburg, 9-1, and advance to the finals.
"We went back to playing Bellefonte softball," Kohlhepp said. "We have 42 years of tradition and the girls are proud to be a part of it."
"We were nervous in the beginning," Hollidaysburg coach Mike Harris said. "We talked about not spotting Bellefonte runs. We did just that in the first and it ended up hurting us."
With a quick 4-0 lead, Bellefonte's ace Hannah Cooper went to work from the circle, surrendering only one run, on three hits and striking out four batters.
The Golden Tigers didn't go down without a fight.
Down 4-0 in the fourth, Hollidaysburg fought back into the game.
Following an Alyssa Pheasant hit, Brooke Ickes stepped up and delivered a two-out run-scoring single.
"It was important to get that run," Harris said. "This team has a great attitude and are a great group of girls."
HOLLIDAYSBURG (1): Bristle lf 300, Shay rf 301, Mercer ss 210, Pheasant p 301, Storm 2b 300, Ickes dh 301, Herr c 300, Carter 3b 300, Rosensteel cf 200. Totals-25-1-3
BELLEFONTE (9): H. Cooper p 322 Musser cf 411, Gmerek 2b 322,V. Cooper c 312, DeVinney ss 221, Tressler 3b 301, Chambers rf 301, Watson 1b 200, McClenahan ph 100, Kiles lf 311. Totals-27-9-10.
Score by innings
Hollidaysburg000 100 0 - 1 3 1
Bellefonte400 410 X - 9 10 3
2B-Musser, Gmerek, DeVinney, Giles. Multiple hits-H. Cooper, Gmerek, V. Cooper (B). WP-H. Cooper. LP-Pheasant. SO-Pheasant 4, H. Cooper 4. BB-Pheasant 1.
Records: Hollidaysburg (3-15), Bellefonte (17-4).