Lady Rockets end Glendale’s season

FLINTON – “Keep the line moving” has become a fashionable term in just about every level of baseball and softball these days.

It refers to the importance of teams getting runners on base, moving them along the bases by extending innings, and ultimately, having them score runs.

Southern Huntingdon did an excellent job of keeping the line moving in its District 6-A semifinal softball playoff game against host Glendale Friday afternoon, scoring five runs on five hits in the fourth inning to break open an 8-2 victory.

Third-seeded Southern Huntingdon rode a 14-hit offensive attack to improve its season record to 19-4 and punch a berth into this Wednesday’s 5 p.m. District 6-A championship game against top-seeded and unbeaten Conemaugh Valley at Penn State University Park’s Beard Field.

Whether the Rockets win or lose that district final, Friday’s win also clinched an automatic berth in the PIAA Class A state playoffs for Southern Huntingdon.

Second-seeded Glendale wrapped up a 17-5 season.

Leading just 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning, Southern Huntingdon capitalized on its timely hitting and a couple of walks to send 10 batters to the plate and gain control.

Bunt singles by junior catcher Cassie Querry and junior second baseman Maddie Dell, sandwiched around a walk drawn by senior shortstop Kendra Donelson, loaded the bases with one out. Sophomore designated hitter Gracie Long drew a walk to force in Querry with the first run of the inning, and one out later, senior center fielder Morgan Sheeder drilled a single to center field to score Donelson and give Southern a 4-1 lead.

Junior left fielder Larissa Leonard’s single to left field scored Dell and kept the bases loaded with two outs for sophomore first baseman Bailee Jenkins, whose two-run single to center plated both Long and Sheeder to polish off the big inning.

“We had left a lot of runners stranded on base in games earlier this year,” Southern Huntingdon coach Terri Lessley said. “We kind of struggled with that at times this year, but today, we did not. Today, we got (the job) done.”

The big inning changed the tempo of the game after Querry’s two-run homer in the second inning following a single by junior third baseman Elaine Varner had opened the scoring, and Glendale had pulled to within 2-1 when catcher Lauren Clarkson walked in the third and came around to score on a Southern error.

“They put the ball in play and there’s nothing you can change about that,” Glendale coach Phil Barroner said of Southern’s big fourth inning. “Give them credit for being solid hitters.”

Querry’s long two-run homer that cleared the fence in the left-center alley in the second inning was a monumental one for her. It marked her school-record eighth for this season, and the 17th of her career, which is also a school record.

“Getting those two runs early in the game was a big point for them,” Barroner said.

Southern Huntingdon senior pitcher Julissa Zinobile spaced eight hits in a complete-game performance to get the win.

“She did a very good job,” Lessley said. “She moved the ball around for us very well.”

Glendale’s second run was scored by first baseman Sydney Gallaher, who doubled in the sixth inning and came in to score on an error.

Glendale enjoyed a watershed season in Barroner’s third year as the program’s coach. The Lady Vikings won a playoff game for the first time since 1992, and earned the second seed in the District 6-A tournament after winning 17 games.

Glendale will lose only one senior starter to graduation this spring, so the future looks very bright for the program as well.

“We had our first playoff win since 1992, and 17-5 is nothing to be ashamed of,” Barroner said. “There are a lot of positives from this season to build for the future around.”

Southern Huntingdon is headed to the District 6-A championship game for the third time in four seasons. The Rockets know that the task will not be easy against a Conemaugh Valley team which has yet to lose this year.

“We expect a fight,” Lessley said. “They knocked us out of the playoffs (in the semifinals) last year, and they’re undefeated, 17-0, this year.”

Game notes: Sheeder, Leonard and Querry each had three hits for Southern, with Leonard and Querry driving in two runs apiece … Pitcher Lexi Mulhollen, rightfielder Makenzie Lukehart, and Gallaher, each had two hits for Glendale.

SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON (8): Sheeder cf 413, Leonard lf 503, Jenkins 1b 401, Varner 3b 412, Querry c 423, Donelson ss 210, Dell 2b 411, Donelson rf 101, Long dh 210, Zinobile p 310, Leslie cr 000. Totals – 33-8-14.

GLENDALE (2): Leyo 2b 301, Lukehart rf 402, Mulhollen p 402, O’Shell cr-ph-lf 100, Pennington pr 000, Fowler cf 401, Gallaher 1b 412, Hewitt lf 200, LeMaster 3b 300, Gustafson ss 200, Clarkson c 210. Totals – 29-2-8.

SCORE BY INNINGS

So. Huntingdon020 501 0-8 14 2

Glendale001 001 0-2 8 0

E-Querry, Donelson. 2B-Lukehart, Gallaher. HR-Querry. RBI-Leonard 2, Jenkins 2, Querry 2, Sheeder, Long. SAC-Sheeder, Donelson, Leyo. LOB-Southern Huntingon 9, Glendale 9. HBP-Gustafson by Zinobile.

PITCHING

SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON: Zinobile (W) 7IP, 8H, 2R, 0ER, 3SO, 1BB.

GLENDALE: Mulhollen (L) 7IP, 14H, 8R, 8ER, 2SO, 2BB.

WP-Mulhollen, Zinobile. PB–Clarkson.

Umpires: Skip Powell (plate); Ron Stempka (first base); Bill Zamboni (third base).

Records: Southern Huntingdon (19-4); Glendale (17-5).