MARTINSBURG - The regular season apparently didn't mean much to the Penns Valley High School girls softball team.
Beaten twice by Central during the regular season, the Lady Rams turned the tables Thursday, upsetting the Lady Dragons, 8-2, in a District 6 Class AA first-round game.
"All the credit to them," Central coach Dale Walters said. "They played better; they hit the ball better; they pitched better."
The Central coach was right on all three counts as his Dragons, the fourth seed, fell to the 13th-seeded Rams. Central, the district runner-up and a state semifinalist a year ago, finished with a 15-5 record. PV (10-10) will face fifth-seeded Bellwood-Antis next Monday.
"We challenged them in practice," PV coach Don Lucas said. "We told them it was one-and-done if they lost. We said they could either be contenders or pretenders.
"Our shortstop, Ashley Struble, wrote 'contenders' on her wrist bands," Lucas noted.
Struble didn't waste any time holding up her end of the bargain as she smacked a home run over the right field fence leading off the game.
"That definitely set the tone," Lucas said.
"We hit the heck out of the ball, we played outstanding defense and Maggie Lynch pitched a tremendous game," Lucas quickly added.
"It didn't phase me because I figured we'd score," Walters said of the leadoff homer, "but it was huge for them, a big emotional lift."
Struble hit a two-run single in the second to make it 3-0 and the Rams added a pair in the third. Ashley Smith's RBI single helped Central cut the deficit to 5-2 in the fourth, but PV wrapped it up with three runs in the fifth.
Penns Valley rapped out 14 hits, including a 4-for-4 effort by Madyson Sharer. Struble had three hits while Kaylee Wasson had two hits and three RBIs.
Smith had two of Central's four hits off Lynch, who struck out three and walked two.
"She definitely got stronger as the game progressed," Lucas said of his pitcher.
PENNS VALLEY (8): Struble ss 413, Houser 2b 401, Lyons rf 321, Sharer 1b 424, C. Ironside 211, Royer dp 211, Wasson lf 302, Harbaugh c 411, M. Ironside cf 200, Lynch p 000. Totals - 28-8-14.
CENTRAL (2): M. Snyder 401, Aiello rf/dp 200, Eberlin ph 100, Garman c 300, McKnight ss 100, Kreider pr 000, Smith 3b 312, K. Snyder 1b 310, Gunnett p 301, Boyles dp/rf 300, Barnes cf 300. Totals - 26-2-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Penns Valley122 030 0-8 14 2
Central000 200 0-2 4 2
E-Struble, M. Ironside, Aiello, Gunnett. 2B-Struble, Sharer, Wasson. HR - Struble. RBI-Struble 3, Wasson 3, Royer 2. WP-Lynch. LP-Gunnett. SO-Lynch 3, Gunnett 2. BB-Lynch 2, Gunnett 1.
Records: Penns Valley (10-10); Central (15-5).