Ridge blazing trail
FISHERTOWN — The Chestnut Ridge softball team is used to success from its days in the Sideling Hill League and District 5.
Now, playing in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference and District 6, there have been new adventures in 2019. Let’s just say that after Thursday’s 7-1 win over Ligonier Valley in the 3A semifinals at home, more stories are on the horizon.
“I think playing in the Laurel Highlands definitely helped us for the playoffs, facing pitchers from like Johnstown and Cambria Heights, it just gave us confidence,” said Ridge’s Makayla Weyant, whose was brimming with confidence, collecting three hits, including a towering home run, and three RBIs, which led her team to victory.
Ridge (17-1) will play next at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Bald Eagle Area for the district title at Saint Francis University. BEA downed Philipsburg-Osceola, 8-4, in Thursday’s other semifinal.
“This one assures us of a trip to the state tourney,” said Ridge coach Greg Lazor, in his first year at the helm. “Our next goal is a district championship. We have a shot at doing something we’ve never done in District 6, obviously, because we’ve been in District 5 before, so this is something special that could happen.”
It happened first Thursday for Ligonier Valley, which scored its only run against Ridge starter Atlanta Milliron in the second inning. With one out, Abigail Cmar singled and moved to third on a Isabella Vargulish single. Mia Lynn brought home Cmar with a single.
“One run doesn’t bother us because I know we are going to fire back on them,” Milliron said. “I was definitely still comfortable because I believe in my team, and I trust them.”
The senior righty knew what she was talking about.
In the bottom of the third, Ridge got to Valley starter Jane Garver for three runs on two hits and an error. Lydia Mock opened with a triple and scored on Kayla Diehl’s fielder’s choice. Weyant followed with a single, and one out later, Jamie Emerick brought home a run with an infield groundout. A misplayed ball off the bat of Bella Wingard plated a third run.
After giving up a run on six hits in the first three innings, Milliron settled down and did not give up a hit over the final four innings.
“Milliron pitched her tail off, and we came up with some big hits,
Lazor said. “We knew (Garver) was one of the better pitchers around coming into the game, but we put our bats on the ball and eventually broke through.”
Ridge broke the game wide open with three in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-1 lead. Diehl tripled and scored on a Weyant home run just to the right of center field.
“We have a few homers this year, but she got a hold of that one,” Lazor said. “She put it over the scoreboard. That was her first one this year, and it was a good time for it.”
Weyant was just happy that it extended her team’s lead.
“I honestly thought their girl was going to catch it,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going yard on that one. When I saw my teammate going crazy on third, I thought to myself ‘Yes, two runs on the board.'”
Ridge added a solo run in the sixth when Diehl singled and scored on a Weyant single one out later.
Up 7-1, Milliron retired the side in order in the seventh to send the Lady Rams home at 18-3. She finished with two strikeouts and no walks.
“It was a gutsy effort,” Lazor said. “We had a couple little blunders early, but then the defense tightend up and we were solid.”
LIGONIER VALLEY (1): Griffin ss 401, Bojtos cf 200, McKlveen rf 301, Garver p 301, Schueltz cr 000, Colt c 300, Cmar 3b 311, Vargulish dh 301, Hakel 1b 000, Breegle lf 300, Lynn 2b 301 . Totals — 27-1-6.
CHESTNUT RIDGE (7): Mock cf 422, Diehl 4-2-1, Weyant ss 423, Mishler cr 000, Emerick rf 310, Wingard 2b 300, A. Dunlap c 302, Z. Dunlap cr 000, Baney 1b 301, Gibbner 200, Calhoun ph 100. Totals — 30-7-10.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Ligonier Valley 010 000 0–1 6 3
Chestnut Ridge 003 031 X–7 10 1
E–Lynn, Cmar, Breegle, Emerick. 3B–Mock, Diehl. HR–Weyant. RBI–Lynn, Diehl, Weyant 3, Emerick, Baney. WP–Milliron. LP–Garver. SO–Milliron 2, Garver 4. BB–Garver 2.
Records: Ligonier Valley (18-3), Chestnut Ridge (17-1).