UNIVERSITY PARK - Philipsburg-Osceola players emerged from their dugout at Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park wiping away tears.
Losses like Wednesday night to rival Bald Eagle Area will bring the emotions out.
The Lady Mounties, seeking their fifth straight District 6 Class AA title, charged out to a 4-0 lead on BEA pitcher Makennah Dyke after the first three innings, but Dyke didn't give up another run only two hits while the Eagles tied the game in the sixth, went ahead with a run in the eighth inning and won, 5-4, in a game that took 2:15 before a standing room only crowd of 1,100.
Mirror photo by Patrick?Waksmunski
P-O’s Kenzie Burge singles in the third inning.
"It was a good game, exciting game," P-O coach Jim Gonder said. "It meant a lot to [the players], and it meant a lot to me. That might have been our first five in a row. That was a big thing for us. But tomorrow, we're going to get ready for practice and go at it again. With any kind of luck, we'll see these guys two Mondays from today [in the state title game]. That would be a great rematch."
The Lady Mounties (19-5) still advance on to the PIAA playoffs. They'll play District 9 champion Moniteau on Monday at a site and time to be determined, while BEA plays the District 7 third-placer on the same day.
P-O scored two runs in the third inning, forcing Dyke to throw 33 pitches. Haylee Hayward had an RBI triple, and Megan Bainey was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. P-O, however, left the bases loaded.
The Lady Mounties scored two more in the third when pitcher and No. 5 hitter Chelsey Henry doubled in two runs. Henry, though, was cut down at third trying to stretch it into a triple.
P-O, which left nine on base, loaded the bases again in the fifth, but Dyke worked her way out of the jam.
"They're a quality team, and I knew at some point they would mount a threat," Gonder said. "I thought their pitcher did a really nice job. She gave up some runs early, but she came back and held us for the rest of the game. They're hitters produced and came through in the clutch. We had some opportunities at the end of the game, but we didn't cash in."
"Makennah Dyke is a bull," BEA coach Curt Heverly said. "Four runs in three innings and no more after that. Unbelievable."
BEA scored a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth, and when Moreta Dyke's bases loaded walk made the score 4-3 and knocked Henry out of the game. Freshman Maggie Peck got Morgan Nyman into a ground ball, but Olivia Andrews scored to tie the game, Peck struck out Makennah Dyke with the bases loaded to get out of the jam.
"She's going to be a quality pitcher," Gonder said of Peck. "She was thrown into a defensive role this year because we were short some infielders. She's got a lot of composure."
P-O had runners at second and third with two outs in the seventh, but Dyke got a strikeout.
BEA scored a run in the eighth on three straight hits, but P-O escaped any further damage by turning a 1-3-6-2-5 triple play.
"That was a pretty amazing triple play," Gonder said.
"I've never seen that before," Heverly said.
P-O went three up, three down in the eight, and BEA began celebrating.
"This year is almost like a book," Heverly said. "Somebody ought to write a book about it because I can't believe it. We're 19-4 with a district title and four more wins we're state champs."
Bald Eagle Area (5): Giedroc ss 300, Ma. Dyke p 400, Tobias 3b 310, Fischer rf 400, Smith 2b 411, Andrews lf 322, Proctor dp 302, Woodward pr 000, Mo. Dyke 1b 312, Nyman c 401, Peters cf 000. Totals: 31-5-8.
Philipsburg-Osceola (4): Showers 3b 410, Frank c 301, Burge 1b 311, Hayward ss 422, Henry p-rf 202, Peck 2b-p 300, Bainey cf 300, Kost rf 300, Kephart ph 100, Wagner lf 400. Totals: 30-4-6.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bald Eagle Area000 013 01-5 8 2
Philipsburg-Osceola202 000 00-4 6 2
E-Giedroc, Ma. Dyke; Hayward 2. 2B-Andrews, Frank. 3B-Mo. Dyke, Hayward. RBI-Proctor, Mo. Dyke 2, Nyman 2; Hayward, Henry 2, Bainey. TP-Philipsburg-Osceola. SAC-Frank. SB-Smith; Henry 2, Hayward. LOB-Bald Eagle Area 7, Philipsburg-Osceola 9. HBP-Bainey.
Bald Eagle Area: Ma. Dyke (W)-8 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO.
Philipsburg-Osceola: Henry-5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO. Peck (L)-2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.
Records: Bald Eagle Area (19-4); Philipsburg-Osceola (19-5).