UNIVERSITY PARK - Chris Patrick knew what the odds were.
You didn't need to tell the Huntingdon coach about that.
Bellefonte is two years removed from a state title and one from a state semifinal berth. And that team almost returned intact for 2012.
A daunting task, and even tougher with Vanessa Cooper swinging the stick like she was.
The Bellefonte sophomore planted a 2-2 fastball off Huntingdon's Morgan Glover quickly over the left-field fence and off the scoreboard in the second inning. After the Lady Raiders hit around, she stepped again and this time smashed a 0-1 offering over the center fielder's head, good for a three-run shot.
Cooper led the way for Bellefonte in its 8-1 victory over Huntingdon in the District 6-AAA softball championship Wednesday at Penn State's Beard Field.
"We have been resilient all year," Patrick said. "We have fought through some tough games before. The girls could have very easily folded and this game could have been done in four or five innings. But they didn't. They stayed and battled with a great team. We knew the first couple of innings would set the tone for the game. It is tough to give Bellefonte any kind of lead. They are such a good team, and they proved that today."
Bellefonte advanced to the state playoffs, which begin Monday.
"It is wonderful," Bellefonte coach Gregg Kohlhepp said. "She did a nice job working hard on middle-ball work during practice. She found her pitch and hit it hard. She has the power to take it over the wall. If we were at our fields, those would have been doubles, but with a fence - we were happy to let her swing away."
The Lady Raiders racked up all the eight runs in the second inning and used a solid defensive performance to pick up their ninth district title in 10 years.
"We are thrilled to come away with the championship," Kohlhepp said. "We battled through some things out there today, and it was a great team victory."
Following Cooper's opening home run, Erica DeVinney and Chrissy Tressler hit back-to-back singles. After a Carly Chambers walk, Amber Watson laced a two-run double into left field, plating DeVinney and Tressler and giving Bellefonte a quick 3-0 lead.
"That [two-run double] was fantastic," Kohlhepp said. "Amber does her job time and flies under the radar. She came up clutch today. She steps up in big situations for the team."
The Lady Raider rout continued when Hannah Cooper sent a hot shot up the middle that the fielder couldn't handle, plating Chambers. Jillian Musser reached by way of a walk and Jessica Gmerek sacrificed Watson home.
With two on, Vanessa Cooper went back to work and popped her second home run of the inning to give Bellefonte an 8-0 lead.
Bellefonte pitcher Hannah Cooper surrendered only one unearned run on two hits while fanning four.
"It was a nice experience being in the circle," the senior said. "There were a lot of new emotions, especially in a big game like this. I am glad my defense was there to pick me up when I didn't hit my spots."
The Lady Bearcats scored in the fourth when Glover knocked in a run on a fielder's choice.
Bellefonte will get the winner of the District 3 consolation finals.
HUNTINGDON (1): Mort c 300, Strait cf 310, Yingling rf 201, Baird 1b 200, Glover p 300, Mansberger cr 000, Snyder 3b 300, Spencer lf 300, Shea ss 300, Henney 2b 201. Totals - 24-1-2.
BELLEFONTE (8): H. Cooper p 300, Allen cr-ph 110, Ripka ph 100, Musser cf 210, Gmerek 2b 100, V. Cooper c 222, Fishburn cr 000, DeVinney ss 312, Tressler 3b 311, Chambers rf 210, Confer rf 000, Irwin dp 000, Watson 1b-ph (flex) 211, Giles lf 200, McClenahan lf 000. Totals - 22-8-6.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Huntingdon000 100 0-1 2 1
Bellefonte080 000 X-8 6 1
E-Shea, Giles. LOB-Huntingdon 2, Bellefonte 1. HR-V. Cooper 2. RBI-V. Cooper 4, Watson 2, Gmerek, Glover. SF-Gmerek. SB-DeVinney, Tressler. PO-Fishburn .
Huntingdon: Glover (L) -6 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO.
Bellefonte: H. Cooper (W)-7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.
Team records: Huntingdon (11-8); Bellefonte (18-4).
Umpires: Mark Gormont, plate; Jay Siegel, first; Tim Rupp, second; John Rosselli, third.