UNIVERSITY PARK - Bishop McCort scored eight first-inning runs, took advantage of three first-inning errors and downed Montgomery, 14-2 in five innings in Friday's Class A state championship at Penn State University's Medlar Field.
Montgomery had won seven straight and outscored its last two state playoff opponents, 15-0. Friday, it simply ran into the one team in Pennsylvania that was better. The Crushers (24-2) had eight different players deliver hits, made no errors and received solid pitching from Jesse Cooper, who finished 12-1.
McCort features players who were part of district champions in football and basketball earlier this scholastic year. That experience paid big dividends and after reaching the state semifinals and quarterfinals in the last three seasons, the Crushers experienced their ultimate breakthrough.
McCort outscored its final two opponents, 31-2 in 10 innings. Three of the first four hitters reached on errors and that opened the floodgates as five hits followed and McCort seized control.
Fannett-Metal claims title
UNIVERSITY PARK - The celebrations in Path Valley have probably already begun.
The Fannett-Metal softball team earned a 1-0 victory over Southern Columbia in the PIAA Class A championship game Friday morning at Penn State's Beard Field for the tiny school's first-ever state title in any sport.
Nearly 750 Tigers fans made the trip to PSU, most clad in specially designed white T-shirts that said, "How far? All the way" on the back. They got their wish.
F-M junior pitcher Blair Lauthers was stellar on the mound. She allowed just one base hit and struck out 11 batters. In the bottom of the seventh inning, she threw nine consecutive strikes to set Southern Columbia down in order and claim the state crown.
Lauthers also drove in the game's only run with a two-out single in the top of the fifth ining that scored Megan Dougherty from third base.
"It felt just great seeing all those fans here," Dougherty said. "There are no words I can say to thank them enough."
Other champions crowned
Central Bucks South won the Class AAAA softball title with a 1-0 victory over Bishop Shanahan in nine innings, and Big Spring won the AAA title with a 2-1 triumph over Valley View.
Neshannock, which eliminated Philipsburg-Osceola in eight innings in the first round and Central in the semifinals, defeated Warrior Run, 4-3, in eight innings to claim the AA title.
La Salle College defeated Council Rock South, the team that beat Altoona in the semifinals, in the Class AAAA baseball championship. Pine Grove, which topped Philipsburg-Osceola in the quarterfinals, fell to Riverside, 5-4, in the AA title game.
West York, which topped Hollidaysburg in the first round of the state tournament, topped Lampeter-Strasburg, 9-6, in the Class AAA championship.