District 3 AAA stalwarts Donegal and Lampeter-Strasburg both made it through the State quarterfinals last Thursday thanks to solid hitting and focused pitching.

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And then there were two.

District 3 AAA stalwarts Donegal and Lampeter-Strasburg both made it through the State quarterfinals last Thursday thanks to solid hitting and focused pitching.

Both teams will need more of the same in Monday’s semis if by chance they are to meet in the PIAA championship game slated for Thursday, June 16 at Penn State University’s Softball Park.

“To be one of four teams, and to share it I hear now with Donegal, it makes the league look really good,” said Lampeter-Strasburg junior Jordyn Kondras following the Pioneers’ victory in the quarterfinals. “Hopefully, we see them in the finals.”

The following is a team-by-team look at the four contenders in Monday’s AAA semis.

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MATCHUP: District 3 champion Donegal versus District 7 third-seed Yough at Mt. Aloysius College in Cresson, 5:00 p.m.

The Indians and the Cougars don’t exactly have a history with one another, though fate has been quite the tease the last two years.

Last year, Yough was beaten out by Bellwood-Antis for a spot opposite Donegal in the quarterfinals.

In this year’s quarters, Donegal defeated West Allegheny, a team which beat Yough, 1-0, in the District 7 tournament prior to being run-ruled by Mt. Pleasant in the title game.

Since then, Yough has outscored its opponents 31-8, including a run-rule win in the state quarters over Bellefonte, which, incidentally, defeated Mt. Pleasant 3-2 in the first round. Make sense? Yea, didn’t think so.

DONEGAL INDIANS (22-5)

Wayne Emenheiser’s Indians are led by a strong junior core and a bevy of productive underclassmen.

At the forefront are juniors Makyla Yoder (0.474, 26 RBI) and Kaitlyn Witmer (0.404, 27 RBI), sophomores Savanna Kolenda (0.505, 34 runs, 21 RBI) and Peighton Hornick (0.341, 25 runs, 24 RBI), and freshman Morgan Biesecker (0.393, 20 runs, 23 RBI).

In the circle, Yoder has been business as usual, compiling a 21-5 record with a 1.50 ERA, and a Kershaw-esque strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 28-to-1.

Donegal last reached the semis in 2008, previously winning the PIAA state title in 2006.

YOUGH COUGARS (20-3)

Through the regular season, Dutch Harvey’s Cougars were paced by senior Allie Harvey (0.529, 20 RBI) and pitcher Macy Mularski (13-2, 0.78 ERA).

In addition to Allie Harvey, the Cougars have a plethora of regulars hovering around the unofficial “Jessica Mendoza line” — a 0.400 batting average — including senior Alona Sleith and sophomores Aubrie Mance and Hanna Bach.

Senior Cassidy Pearce and junior Olivia Miller have each been clutch throughout the season as well — meaning the Cougars, like the Indians, don’t rely on any one bat.

Yough will be playing in its first state semifinal.

OUTLOOK: All three of Yough’s losses have come on a 1-0 shutout. While the Indians can out-slug any opponent, expect a low-scoring game in which one big hit turns the tide.

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MATCHUP: District 3 third-seed Lampeter-Strasburg versus District 2 champion Abington Heights at Patriots Park, Allentown, 7:00 p.m.

Unlike the Indians, the Pioneers and veteran coach Tim Shoff have a head-to-head history versus their upcoming opponent.

Abington last met Lampeter-Strasburg in the 2007 quarterfinals, also at Patriots Park, with Comets’ pitcher Caitlin Monahan wrapping-up a 42-inning scoreless streak by shutting-out the Pioneers and star pitcher Courtney Eckman, 5-0.

Which means an element of respect is probably due here. Or vengeance. Or perhaps a bit of both.

LAMPETER-STRASBURG PIONEERS (25-2)

Power slappers Bri Garber (0.558, 33 runs), Jordyn Kondras (0.557, 29 runs), and Hanna Garber (0.523, 4 HR, 36 runs) set the tone for a Pioneers’ lineup that can reach base and score in a myriad of ways, exemplified by a 14-hit onslaught in the quarterfinals.

Juniors Delaney Baker (0.508) and Caroline Braungard (0.367) are key in keeping the wagon wheels turning.

Stud pitcher Jordan Weaver (19-2, 1.04 ERA, 231 strikeouts) has been stellar in the big moment, as well, having pitched her way out of a pair of tricky jams in Thursday’s quarterfinal.

Like Yough, L-S will be playing in its first state semifinal.

ABINGTON HEIGHTS COMETS (17-1)

Throughout the regular season, the senior battery of pitcher Paige Harris (1.40 ERA) and catcher Dominique Emmett (0.444, 6 HR, 21 RBI) carried much of the load for the Comets.

Much like Shoff with the Pioneers, however, Abington coach John Kelly emphasizes one-through-nine in the order to get the job done.

Senior first baseman Marissa Lewis and junior third baseman Kaylee DeMatteo both carry 0.400-plus batting averages as part of a bottom five in the lineup that had seven of the team’s eight hits in the quarterfinals.

Abington’s last appearance in the semifinals was in 2007.

OUTLOOK: On paper, this Pioneers’ opponent seems a lot like the one from the quarterfinals, what with the veteran slugger and senior pitcher. As was the case then, the team that capitalizes with runners on base will likely prove victorious.

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PREDICTION:

In the nine seasons since Donegal won its championship, the third-seed out of any one district has gone on to win the AAA title four times. So unless the Indians end up celebrating their ten-year anniversary in style, it’s either Yough or…

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“It’s tough to get information about these teams because you don’t play them in your regular season and you’re limited by the internet — which I guess is better than what it used to be.” -- Pequea Valley Head Coach Amy Shay, after her team’s quarterfinal loss to Pine Grove.

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