Season ends for Heights softball

JOHNSTOWN – Earlier this season, the Cambria Heights softball team had just enough go its way when the Lady Highlanders edged Richland in an extra-inning contest.

Thursday afternoon, the Lady Rams turned the tables.

Jordon Syfert had two two-run singles, and the Richland offense found a way to scatter seven other hits in a 5-1 victory in the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals.

Chalk one up to Lady Rams coach Ed Haberkorn for preparing his team.

“The last time that we played them, [pitcher Cori James] threw a lot of changeups,” he said. “So we worked a lot on changeups. We hit the ball hard today.”

Cambria Heights had five hits – two by Lindsey Kosicki – but it was a far cry from the Highlanders’ offensive output in the teams’ previous meeting.

“We knew they were going to hit the ball,” Cambria Heights coach Eric White said. “They’ve got some good ball players.

“We hit [pitcher Nicki Mihalik] better last time than we did this time. We just didn’t hit today. We played solid defense. When you don’t hit, you don’t win.”

After scoring two runs in the first inning, Richland threatened again in the bottom half of the second with the bases loaded.

With two outs, Mihalik drove a ball to deep center, but the Lady Highlanders’ Emily Lewis was able to make a running catch and prevent a rout.

“Emily Lewis saved the game there,” White said. “They had the bases loaded and she had to turn and run. It really kept us in the game.”

“They took a lot of runs off of us with their defense,” Haberkorn said.

Syfert drove home Maddie Mahood and Mihalik with her second hit to give Richland (14-4), the tournament’s No. 6 seed, a 4-1 lead after five.

Courtney Syfert added an RBI single in the sixth for the Lady Rams.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” Haberkorn said. “If we just continue to get better, things look good for us in the future.”

The 11th-seeded Lady Highlanders (11-6) got their only run in the third inning when Kara Cordell beat the throw home on Hannah Smithmyer’s dribbler to the circle.

Heights stranded eight runners on the day, including six in scoring position.

“The defense has been there for us all year, it’s just been four or five games where the bats didn’t show up with it,” White said. “You can’t score one run and expect to win. It just wasn’t our day.”

Richland advances to Monday’s semifinals where it will host 14th-seeded Huntingdon. The Lady Bearcats upset No. 3 Blairsville, 11-4, on Thursday.

“They’re all good at this point so we’ll have to play one at a time,” Haberkorn said of moving on. “If we do that, we control our own destiny and we’ll be in good shape.”

CAMBRIA HEIGHTS (1): Miller rf 000, Lidwell dp 200, D. Slovikosky dp 201, Smithmyer 1b 400, Kosicki 3b 402, Wills ss 301, James p 200, Lewis cf 300, Link c 200, Cordell 2b 211, Kranz lf 200. Totals – 26-1-5.

RICHLAND (5): C. Syfert ss 412, Mahood 3b 412, Mihalik p 311, Dona 1b 311, J. Syfert c 302, Diamond 2b 300, Mishler rf 200, Kaminsky lf 311, Hauser cf 000, Rainey dp 100. Totals – 26-5-9.


Cambria Heights001 000 0 – 1 5 0

Richland200 021 X – 5 9 0

LOB-Cambria Heights 8, Richland 6. 2B-D. Slovikosky. SAC-Rainey. SB-Cordell, Kosicki. CS-James.


Cambria Heights-James (L), 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO.

Richland-Mihalik (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO.

PB-Link. WP-James, Mihalik. HBP-by James(Rainey).

Records: Cambria Heights (11-6), Richland (14-4).