BEDFORD - While Chestnut Ridge senior starting pitcher Bridgit Yothers will be taking her softball talents to Mount Aloysius next season, she doesn't quite appear ready to move on just yet.
Yothers threw a complete game for the Lady Lions, scattering 10 hits and led Chestnut Ridge past Everett for the second straight season to win the District 5 Class AA softball championship, 12-5. It was Ridge's fifth straight district title.
"It's unbelieveable," Yothers said. "I can't express how excited I am to be on a team that is this successful. We play as a team, and we've always done that. That's why we have had so much success."
The Lady Lions played as a team indeed. All nine starters had at least one hit, while Stehanie Deaner, Kenzie Bowser and Jayna Fickes each had two.
Everett's start to the game could not have been better. Allison Snider walked before Arika Price sacrificed her over to second base. Snider was brought in on a Raelyn Rice fielder's choice. Logan Brallier singled and Josie Clark reached on an error before Hannah Leidig brought both in with a two-RBI single into left field.
The Lady Warriors added a run each in the fifth and seventh innings, after Ridge had the game all but sealed.
"We got lax," Everett coach Junior Bennett said. "It seems like all year we score a few runs and get lax and don't score. You can't do that in championship games and expect to win."
Brallier led Everett with three hits, while Rice and freshman pitcher Kadie Morral each added two.
Ridge answered in the bottom of the first inning with three runs of its own. Mackenzie Feather walked, Jennifer Carthew singled and Yothers walked to load the bases with no outs. Feather scored on a passed ball before Deaner singled to bring in Carthew. Morral struck out Samantha Knisely, but the ball was not caught by catcher Hannah Leidig. Yothers scored to tie the game when Leidig threw to first to complete the strikeout.
"The girls came back and battled," Chestnut Ridge coach Chuck Corle said of his team's first-inning deficit. "We did a lot of bunting trying to force [Everett] to make plays."
After giving up three runs in the first inning, Yothers settled down to allow eight hits and two runs in the final six frames.
"I was trying to throw [offspeed pitches], and it wasnt working," Yothers said. "The strike zone was tight. I was barely missing. I just needed to put it in there so they could hit and my girls behind me could field it."
Ridge's half of the third inning proved to be the difference. The Lady Lions pounded out seven runs on five hits, including an RBI double by senior Kristi Batzel, the only extra base hit of the game, to give Ridge a 10-3 cushion. Fickes and Carthew also added RBIs in the inning. The other four runs came on passed balls and an error.
Everett returns all of its players next season, as this year's team was made of four juniors and the rest being sophomores and freshmen. They have gained valuable playing experience, falling just short in back-to-back district championship appearances.
"We have a monkey on our back when we play [Chestnut Ridge]," Bennett said. "We have to get it off one of these years."
Chestnut Ridge will move on to face District 6-AA runner-up Ligonier Valley in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. After winning the previous four District 5-AA championships, Ridge has been unable to secure a PIAA playoff victory.
"We want one," Corle said of earning a PIAA win. "We've lost four in a row. The next level gets tougher. It's one that we've been after, and we're going to work like crazy to get it."
EVERETT (5): Snider cf 310, Price 2b 301, Rice 3b 422, Brallier ss 413, Clark lf 411, H. Leidig c 401, S. Leidig 1b 300, Morral p 302, Showalter rf 100, Leach ph 100. Totals-30-5-10.
CHESTNUT RIDGE (12): Feather ss 421, Carthew 2b 411, Yothers p 221, Deaner cf 322, Knisely 1b 411, Bowser lf 322, Fickes c 412, Neatrour rf 401, Batzel 3b 411, Pennabaker cr 000. Totals-32-12-12.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Everett300 010 1 - 5 10 4
Chestnut Ridge307 200 X - 12 12 1
E-S. Leidig 2, Morral, Price, Feather. 2B-Batzel. RBI-H. Leidig 2, Rice, Brallier, Deaner, Fickes, Batzel, Carthew. SB-Yothers 2, Deaner, Rice, Morral. SAC-Price. DP-Chestnut Ridge 1. LOB-Everett 7, Chestnut Ridge 7.
Everett: Morral (L): 6 IP, 12 H, 12 R, 8 ER, 5 K, 5 BB.
Chestnut Ridge: Yothers (W): 7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, K, 2 BB.
Records: Everett (14-8); Chestnut Ridge (20-2).