UNIVERSITY PARK - After an Anna Goshorn single in the first inning gave Southern Huntingdon a 2-0 lead in Wednesday's District 6 Class A championship game, Claysburg-Kimmel pitcher Kiersten Coho buckled down to retire 17 of Southern's next 20 batters.
Unfortunately for Claysburg, Southern pitcher Julisa Zinobile was just a little better as the Lady Rockets defeated Claysburg, 7-3, at Penn State's Nittany Lion Softball Park to claim the district title.
Each team will advance to the PIAA playoffs.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Claysburg’s Madison Ickes (4) is congratulated by Hannah Claycomb after scoring.
After Hannah Claycomb's first-inning sacrifice fly knotted the game at 2-2, Zinobile allowed just two base runners over the next five innings.
"The pitchers settled down after the first inning," Claysburg coach Mike Barbarini said. "Both teams made plays defensively and we didn't come up with he big hits."
Zinobile worked in front of hitters for the entire game, as she did not allow a Claysburg hitter to get to a three-ball count.
"She throws a lot of strikes," Barbarini said of Zinobile. "I told the girls before the game to swing the bat. She tries to get ahead of you in the count and then throw drop balls, curveballs and change ups."
Freshman Larissa Leonard tripled to start the game and scored on a passed ball before Goshorn's RBI single gave Southern a 2-0 lead.
"The first hit right away set our tone for the game," Southern coach Terri Lessley said. "Last year our girls came in here and had the awe factor. This time, I told them we've been here before."
Ickes and Abigayle Kulick each singled to start the first inning for Claysburg, before Morgan singled Ickes in and Kulick scored on Claycomb's sacrifice fly.
Morgan had three hits for Claysburg, while Claycomb had two RBIs.
The teams combined for just five hits in the second through sixth innings.
"In the middle innings, we fell asleep," Barbarini said. "We couldn't hit the ball. It seemed like we were all waiting for someone else to get a hit."
Claysburg's luck changed in the seventh inning.
Michaela Detwiler singled to start the inning. On the next play, King hit a soft ground ball that was fielded by Coho, but first baseman Kari Glass could not handle Coho's toss to first base. Leonard walked to load the bases before King singled in Detwiler and Querry and Chandler Kern added two-RBI hits to inflate the lead to 7-1.
"They put the bat on the ball in the last inning," Barbarini said. "They took advantage of the one mistake we made and everything snowballed from there."
"It's the little things [that make a difference]," Lessley said of the error. "Anything can switch [momentum]."
Claycomb doubled in Morgan in the seventh inning for Claysburg, but it's rally fell far short.
SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON (7): Leonard dp 322, King rf 221, Querry c 311, Kern 1b 301, Goshorn 2b 302, Winter 3b 300, Varner ph 100, Sheeder cf 200, Yohn ph 100, Detwiler lf 312, Donelson ss 300, Dell pr 010, Zinobile p 000.Totals-27-7-9
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (3): Ickes 2b 412, Kulick rf 311, Cox c 300, Coho p 300, Morgan 3b 313, Claycomb as 201, Wannyn cf 300, Glass 1b 200, Dively dp 300, LeMaster flex 101. Totals-27-3-8.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Southern Huntingdon 200 000 5-7 9 1
Claysburg-Kimmel 200 000 1-3 8 1
E-Winter, Glass. 2B-Goshorn, Leonard, Querry, Claycomb. 3B-Leonard. RBI-Querry 2, Kern 2, Goshorn, King, Claycomb 2, Morgan. LOB-Southern Huntingdon 6, Claysburg-Kimmel 5.
Southern Huntingdon-Zinobile (W): 7IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 5K, 0BB.
Claysburg-Kimmel-Coho (L): 7IP, 9H, 7R, 6ER, 4K, 2BB.