LYONS - Chestnut Ridge softball coach Chuck Corle sounded like someone who is looking forward to next season instead of spending time dwelling on his team's latest first-round loss in the PIAA playoffs.
The Lions built an early three-run lead Monday as Bridgit Yothers hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and a two-run home run in the third.
But the Lions, who made a three-hour bus trip to eastern Berks County and endured two rain delays of more than an hour each, couldn't hold the lead.
Kutztown scored four runs in a rainy, sloppy fourth inning and went to to defeat Chestnut Ridge, 7-3, in a PIAA Class AA opener.
"We were definitely in this game," Corle said. "We know we can play with this competition. We're definitely looking forward to next year. It's a hard way to end, but it's still on a good note to start for the future."
The Lions (16-7) lost in the PIAA first round for the fourth straight year. But Corle was more focused on the fact Chestnut Ridge was able to win its fourth straight District 5 title after graduating seven seniors from last year's team.
"The girls have really done well," Corle said. "I didn't earn know if we'd be winning the district. To be this close in the state playoff game, it makes us really hungry."
The Lions looked poised to end their string of first-round losses playing in Kutztown's backyard.
MacKenzie Feather led off the game with a single and later scored on a Yothers sacrifice fly.
In the third, Jennifer Carthew hit a two-out single and Yothers followed with a long home run to left.
Yothers held Kutztown hitless for the first three innings before a shaky fourth played as the rain worsened field conditions changed the momentum.
Tessa Dorr hit an RBI single for Kutztown's first run before a walk put runners on first and second.
Carissa Wehr hit a ball out in front of home plate that Yothers fielded. But she threw the slippery ball over the first baseman into right field, enabling two runs to score.
Emma Weaknecht hit an RBI single to cap the inning and put Kutztown ahead to stay.
After that inning, the game was halted because of poor field conditions for the second time.
Chestnut Ridge, which finished with five hits off winning pitcher Meghan Donat, had just one hit and three baserunners after Yothers' home run in the third.
Taylor Faust hit a two-out, two-run single in the fifth and the District 3 champ Cougars (20-5) tacked on a run in the sixth.
Yothers, who allowed eight hits, finished with four strikeouts.
Jodi Weaknect and Emma Behm had two hits each for Kuztown, which won its first state playoff game since winning the PIAA Class AA title in 2002.
CHESTNUT RIDGE (3): Feather ss 411, Carthew 2b 211, Yothers p 211, Corle lf 301, Dunlap cf 200, J.Fickes c 300, K.Fickes 1b 200, Knisely ph 100, Neatrour rf 301, Batzel 3b 300. Totals: 25-3-5.
KUTZTOWN (7): J.Weaknecht 3b 412, Behm ss 422, Dorr 1b 411, Donat p 300, Faust cf 211, Wehr rf 211, Zimmerman dh 300, Lenhart c 000, E.Weaknecht rf 201, Rothermel 2b 210. Totals: 26-7-8.
E-Yothers, J.Fickes, J.Weaknecht. LOB-Chestnut Ridge 4, Kutztown 4. 2B-J. Weaknecht. HR-Youthers. RBI-Yothers 3, Behm, Dorr, Faust 2, E. Weaknecht. SAC-Carthew. SF-Yothers. SB-Dunlap, Behm 2, Dorr.
Yothers (L)6 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO
Donat (W)7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
WP: Yothers. PB: Lenhart.
Records: Chestnut Ridge (16-7). Kutztown (20-5).