Grabill’s hit gives Claysburg walk-off win
CLAYSBURG — The Claysburg-Kimmel softball team drubbed Homer-Center during the regular season 14-0. If the Lady Bulldogs and their fans thought it would be more of the same in the playoff meeting between the two teams, they were in for a big surprise.
Fourth-seeded Homer, which entered the game with a sub-.500 record, jumped out to an early four-run lead before Claysburg rallied late to eke out an 8-7 walk-off win in the District 6 1A semifinals Thursday.
Corryne Weyandt scored the game-winning run when Raelynne Grabill lined a single to left in the bottom of the seventh, sending the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs to the district championship game.
“Our senior, Raelynne, did it all year. She came up with the big hit there,” C-K coach Mike Barbarini said. “All she had to do was put the ball in play, and I thought we’d score the run, but she put a nice swing on it and got the line drive for us.”
Claysburg plays Glendale in a rematch of last year’s championship game at noon Wednesday at Saint Francis University. Glendale advanced with an 11-7 win over Bishop Carroll Catholic Thursday.
Glendale won last year’s game 5-4 with a run in the bottom of the seventh. The two teams split a double header earlier this month.
Freshman Olivia Bushore struggled on the mound early for Claysburg but rebounded with four straight scoreless innings to keep the Lady Bulldogs in the game.
“It was definitely her nerves early on. I just kept telling her to calm down and play it like a regular game,” C-K catcher Harleigh Cavender said. “After the second inning, she pitched with more confidence.”
Bushore finished the game with nine strikeouts and nine walks to get the complete-game victory.
“She struggled throwing strikes there for a while but ended up coming through in the end,” Barbarini said. “She started getting the ball over the plate and keeping their hitters off-balance. We made some nice catches in the outfield, and they weren’t able to tack on any runs until the last inning.”
After Claysburg scored one in the third, three in the fifth and one more in the sixth to take a 7-6 lead, the Lady Wildcats pushed across a run in the top of the seventh to tie it when Bushore walked Maitlyn Berfield to force in a run.
Bushore bounced back to strike out Emily Worcester with the bases loaded to keep it at 7-7 headed to the bottom of the seventh.
Weyandt reached on an error to lead off the final half-inning and moved to second on Jasmine Kennedy’s bunt single. Emily Claar advanced both runners with a second consecutive bunt, setting up Grabill’s game-winning hit.
Claysburg led 2-1 after one inning, but Homer exploded for five in the second. Abbey Ginter’s two-run homer was the big blow of the inning.
Cavender started the Claysburg comeback with a two-out triple in the third. She scored on a Haileigh Reed single to make it a 6-3 game.
Cavender went 3-for-3 with a triple, double and two runs scored. Reed knocked in three runs with a pair of singles and a sac fly.
The Lady Bulldogs tied the game with a three-spot in the fifth. Madison Knisely energized the Claysburg dugout with a leadoff home run to left center.
“Things came together at that point, and everybody just started getting hits. It was definitely a team effort,” Knisely said.
Mikalynn Bauman and Cavender both followed with singles and came around to score. Reed knocked in Bauman with a sac fly, and Madison Frye singled home Cavender to tie the game.
Cavender gave Claysburg a 7-6 lead in the sixth with a double that scored Megan Hartman, who was pinch-running for Knisely.
Homer’s season ends with a 7-9 mark.
“We have a young team. We made some great plays. We told them this is the type of game we want to be in. This is what softball is all about where you come up against a great team, which only makes you better,” H-C coach Sharon Mechling said.
HOMER-CENTER (7): Worcester rf-p 411, Goldberg cf 310, Ahlborn 3b 411, Ginter c 412, George p-rf 211, Piper lf 402, Sisak 1b 110, Zenisek ss 200, Berfield 2b 311. Totals — 27 7 8.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (8): Claar ss 400, Grabill 2b 411, Knisley 1b 322, Hartman pr 010, Mikalynn Bauman cf 411, Cavender c 323, Reed 3b 302, Frye dp 402, Mikenlee Bauman pr 000, Weyandt lf 411, Kennedy rf 402, Bushore p (flex) 000. Totals — 34 8 14.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Homer-Center 150 000 1–7 8 3
Claysburg-Kimmel 201 031 1–8 14 1
E–Zenisek, Ahlborn 2, Weyandt. 2B–Cavender. 3B–Cavender. HR — Ginter, Knisley. RBI–Ginter 3, Berfield 2, Worcester, Ahlborn. WP–Bushore. LP–Worcester. SO–George 3, Bushore 9. BB–George 2, Worcester 1, Bushore 9.
Records: Homer-Center (7-9); Claysburg-Kimmel (16-4).