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Historic end to Vikes’ year

Photo for the Mirror by Jackie Yingling Glendale pitcher Madison Peterson fields a bunt by Montgomery’s Sloan Wooten, who was out on the play.

By Todd Irwin

sports@altoonamirror.com

MILESBURG — The young Glendale softball team was playing in the PIAA state semifinals for only the second time in program history, with the first time coming 30 years ago.

But on a hot Monday at the Milesburg Little League Complex, the Lady Vikings’ record-setting season ended.

Montgomery pitcher Faith Persing tossed a four-hitter, struck out 13 and walked none, and the Lady Raiders pounded 10 hits and scored five runs in the second inning en route to a 9-0 win over Glendale in the Class A semifinals.

“They’re good,” Glendale freshman pitcher Madison Peterson said. “We knew coming into this game that we’d have to put up a fight today. We had a great season, so we can’t really put our heads down because we made it this far.”

“It’s pretty disappointing, but I’m really happy with how far we came,” Glendale junior shortstop Riley Best said. “We were the second team to come this far, and we’re sitting right up there with that team that was really good from Glendale. Right now, we’re the best of the best that Glendale’s ever had.”

The District 6 runner-up Lady Vikings (18-3) matched the state playoff success of the 1992 Glendale softball team, which was coached by Pat Pino and led by ace pitcher Jen Wagner.

But that was the end of a brilliant career for Wagner, a flamethrower who was later elected into the District 6 Softball Hall of Fame.

For Peterson, this year’s appearance could the first of multiple visits to the semifinals or beyond. Peterson took over during the season when Hannah Noel broke a finger.

“How good is she going to be in three years, or even next year?” Glendale coach Bruce Vereshack said. “I thought she pitched well today. That was a senior-led team for (Montgomery). She can build off of that. If she steps in here next year, it won’t rattle her a bit.”

Montgomery (21-4) will play DuBois Central Catholic at 11 a.m. Thursday at Penn State in the state championship. DCC beat Saegertown, 4-0.

Noel, who was cleared medically Monday morning to play, started in left field and moved to shortstop when Peterson took a frightening line drive to her stomach off of the bat of Shelby McRae in the top of the seventh inning.

“Yeah, that hurt,” Peterson said with a laugh. “It will be bruised.”

Peterson left the pitching circle, was replaced by Riley Best, and singled to center in the bottom of the seventh.

The Montgomery hitters were aggressive, but they didn’t chase anything out of the strike zone. Peterson had six walks, but two of them were intentional walks of Persing.

In the first inning, leadoff hitter Persing laced a single to center and later scored on a throwing error.

The Lady Raiders loaded the bases for Courtney Smith, who plated two runs with a single to center. Then Persing smacked a one-out, three-run home over the center field fence to make the score 6-0.

Persing isn’t very big, but she struck out seven of the first eight Glendale batters before No. 9 hitter Caitlyn Rydbom singled to center in the third inning. Riley Best followed with a single to center, but Rydbom was thrown out at third base. That was Glendale’s best opportunity to score until the seventh.

“We ran into a really good pitcher,” Vereshack said. “She held us down pretty good. That pitcher was something special. She had a pretty good rise ball.”

“This is her stage,” Montgomery coach Chris Glenn said, “and she wants to be in the center of that stage. She comes up big for us.”

Vereshack intentionally walked Persing in the fourth to face Sloan Wooten. It looked like Glendale got out of the jam when Wooten bounced back to Peterson for the third out. But the umpires conferred and ruled a dead ball, and Wooten took advantage with a run-scoring single.

The Lady Raiders added two more runs in the fifth on consecutive hits by Brynn McRae and Smith. Persing was intentionally walked again with a runner on second. This time, Peterson struck out Wooten for the third out.

In the bottom of the seventh, Peterson singled and Alyson Buterbaugh was hit by a pitch to begin the frame. But the game ended with center fielder Kaylie Snyder making a nice catch of a Noel line drive.

“They were just better than us today,” Vereshack said.

It was the last game for senior starters Noel and Abby Williams. Vereshack was already looking forward to next season.

“We’re young,” he said. “We’re going to get another shot at this. I expect to be here next year with the team I have. I am so excited for next year.”

“I take my hat off to them,” Glenn said. “I think they’re a darn good team. I think you’re going to see them right back in here again.”

MONTGOMERY (9): Persing p 322, Drick cr 000, Wooten 2b 301, Raemsch ss 301, T. McRae 1b 400, Waring rf 411, Snyder cf 321, B. McRae 3b 221, Smith lf 312, S. McRae c 411, Preitz cr 000. Totals: 29-9-10.

GLENDALE (0): Best ss-p 301, Ka. Cavalet 2b 300, Peterson p-dp 301, McNitt pr 000, Buterbaugh 3b 200, Ko. Cavalet pr 000, Taylor rf 301, Kasaback cf 300, Noel lf-ss 300, Williams 1b 200, Rydbom c 201, A. Richards cr 000, C. Richards lf 000. Totals: 24-0-4.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Montgomery 150 120 0–9 10 0

Glendale 000 000 0–0 4 2

E–Taylor, Williams. HR–Persing. RBIs–Persing 3, Smith 3, Wooten, B. McRae. SAC–Wooten, Smith. SB–T. McRae, Waring, Snyder, B. McRae. CS–Smith (by Rydbom). HBP–Buterbaugh. LOB–Montgomery 6, Glendale 4.

PITCHING

Montgomery: Persing (W)–7 IP, 4H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO.

Glendale: Peterson (L)–6 1/3 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 6 BB, 5 SO; Best–2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.

Records: Montgomery (21-4); Glendale (18-3)

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