Frosh ends Lady Dragons’ season
By Michael Boytim
MARTINSBURG — Bald Eagle Area freshman Sierra Albright got her first look against top-seeded Central in just her third varsity game in early April.
It didn’t go well, as she allowed nine runs in a Lady Dragons victory.
Unfortunately for Central, after a month and a half of pitching high school ball, Albright is on a different level.
After outdueling Central Cambria star Kami Kamzik in the quarterfinals, Albright limited the Lady Dragons to just two hits and struck out 18 hitters in a 7-0 victory Thursday in the District 6 Class 3A semifinals.
Albright now has 36 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched this postseason.
“She had 18 strikeouts last week against Central Cambria, and tonight, to shut out a team the caliber of Central with some really good hitters is impressive,” Bald Eagle Area coach Don Lucas said. “She’s developed a nice offspeed pitch, and she never gets too high or too low. She pitches like someone who has been in the circle for four years, and she’s only a freshman.”
Bald Eagle Area will play Westmont Hilltop for the district title next Thursday at 1 p.m. at Saint Francis University. Central’s first season in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference came to an end with a 19-3 record.
“Today was not our best showing,” Central coach Johnathan Burket said. “Unfortunately, when you’re in the playoffs, one game defines your season. One game is going to define our season, because we don’t get to move on. We’re much better than a 7-0 outcome.”
After Central pitcher Lacey Lynn held BEA scoreless in the top of the first inning, the Lady Dragons had a chance to strike first in the bottom of the inning. Averey Black led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch with no outs. But Albright struck out the next two hitters before intentionally walking Lynn. With Bralyn Ellis at the plate, Bald Eagle Area ran a pick-off play to erase Black and escape the jam.
“If we could have had an early lead, the game might have went differently,” Burket said. “Their pitcher wasn’t throwing super fast. We had seen a lot faster against Kam Kamzik (from Central Cambria), but we just weren’t putting the bat on the ball, and when you don’t put the bat on the ball, you don’t produce runs.”
Lynn, who went 4-for-4 with two home runs and six RBIs against Bald Eagle Area in the regular-season matchup, was intentionally walked twice by design.
“We decided we were not going to let Lynn beat us,” Lucas said. “We were going to put her on every time. When we got a little bit more of a lead, we decided to go after her, but we were not going to let her beat us.”
Madison Kennedy had Central’s only other hit.
Sydney Thompson got Bald Eagle Area on the board with a two-out RBI single in the second inning, and Ava Stere hit a two-run home run in the fifth to make it 4-0. Maddie Perry, who finished 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs, hit a solo home run in the sixth and added a two-run single in the seventh.
“We could have came in a little stronger,” Black said. “We all knew we could hit her, but I think we just had a rough time. We came together as a team and played as one, and I couldn’t ask for a better team than what we have.”
Central will lose Black, Taylor Stock, Regan Dodson, Maddie Daugherty and Morgan Kennedy to graduation.
“We all clicked and bonded for my senior year,” Black said. “We were always laughing, even in practice. We always had each other’s backs, no matter what. This team was very special, especially to me. This team is a family.”
Burket said the senior group made sure to make the younger players feel accepted early.
“Our seniors worked hard and looked out for our freshmen,” Burket said. “From the time we started, they organized get togethers like going out to eat and took them underneath their arms and created a family atmosphere.”
BALD EAGLE AREA (7): Eckert c 120, Stere 1b 321, Tobias 3b 400, Smitchko 2b 300, Perry ss 434, Shawley dp 401, Baney pr 000, Albright p-flex 000, Habovick cf 300, Boone rf 300, Thompson lf 301. Totals–28-7-7.
CENTRAL (0): Black cf 301, Hazenstab 2b 300, Kennedy 3b 301, Lynn p 100, Ellis c 300, Stock rf 300, Renner dp 100, Fetzer ph 100, Hoyt ss-flex 000, Dodson lf 200, Kensinger pr 000, Daugherty 1b 200. Totals–22-0-2.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bald Eagle Area 010 121 2–7 7 1
Central 000 000 0–0 2 0
E–Smitchko. HR–Stere, Perry. RBI–Perry 3, Stere 2, Thompson.
Bald Eagle Area: Albright (W)–7IP, 2H, 18K, 2BB, 1HBP, 0R, 0ER, 102 pitches.
Central: Lynn (L)–7IP, 7H, 8K, 5BB, 7R, 7ER, 136 pitches.
Records: Central (19-3).