PC softball upset in playoffs
CRESSON – Juniata’s Hali Weiand wandered a little too far off third base in the top of the second inning and had to deal with some pain when Penn Cambria catcher Alli Reese whipped a softball off her body.
By the end of the seventh inning, however, it was the Lady Panthers that were hurting.
After the ball ricocheted off Weiand and she scored the first run of the game, 15th-seeded Juniata controlled the game and upset the No. 2 Panthers, 8-3, in the first round of the District 6 Class AA softball playoffs Thursday.
“I said all year that there were some things in our game that we needed to work on,” Penn Cambria coach John Casale said. “Our pitching covered a lot of our problems, but when you play a sound team they can exploit that.”
The Lady Indians took a 2-0 lead after Megan Shoop tripled and Kristen Pray drove her in with a sacrifice fly, but Penn Cambria responded in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Ashton Hite barely beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play at first base before Sarah Roberts singled. Senior Taylor Freeman followed that with a two-run triple to tie the game.
The tie was short-lived. Juniata reclaimed the lead, 4-2, with two unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning when Brinley Irvin hit a two-run single.
“We came in and were all excited,” Casale said. “They came back and got the runs they got, that was a blow. I think at that point, it was deflating. I saw the girls get down.”
Crystal Smith, who had three hits for Penn Cambria, brought the Lady Panthers within one with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, but Juniata scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to put the game away.
The Lady Indians’ rally was aided by Penn Cambria’s fifth error of the game. Juniata made none.
“We’ve hit all year,” Juniata coach Brian Sheaffer said. “We scored 34 runs in two games at one point. We’re a very young team, and when we keep our heads up, we can be good.”
Among those who played Thursday, Penn Cambria will lose Freeman, Smith, Emily Roberts and Sarah Roberts. The Lady Panthers finished the season 15-4 and won the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship.
“We’ve always come out on the short end with tiebreakers before,” Casale said. “We were tied with Central Cambria two years ago, but they beat us. We only lost one game last year, but it was to Richland and they won it. So this was the first year we won it, and we reached that goal.
“These girls never quit. They always tried to get better, and I thanked them for everything they’ve done.”
JUNIATA (8): Pray ss 321, Horning lf 312, Irvin p 403, Knapp cr 010, Weiland cf 421, T. Shoop c 301, Bearley cr 000, Swab 3b 403, Colyer rf 200, Saner ph 000, Marrone 1b 300, M. Shoop 2b 321. Totals – 30-8-12.
PENN CAMBRIA (3): Freeman ss 302, Reese c 402, Yusko p 401, Hurley cr 000, Little cf 412, E. Roberts lf 401, McIntosh dp 401, Smith rf 403, Hite 1b 210, Sheehan ph 100, S. Roberts 3b 311, Doughty 2b 000. Totals – 33-3-13.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Juniata011 024 0-8 12 0
Penn Cambria000 210 0-3 13 5
E-Freeman 2, Reese, Doughty, Yusko. 2B-Weiand, Smith, McIntosh. 3B-Freeman, M. Shoop, Pray. RBI-Pray 2, Irvin 2, T. Shoop 2, Horning, Freeman 2, Smith. WP-Irvin. LP-Yusko. SO-Irvin 2, Yusko 5. BB-Irvin 1.
Records: Juniata (8-8); Penn Cambria (15-4).