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Penn Manor edges Central York softball

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Penn Manor’s Brittany Hook had used her right arm to dance out of trouble all game. Facing the top of Central York’s lineup in a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh, however, she had one more surprise for Central York.

“I always keep a little extra for the seventh inning,” Hook said. “I need to keep a little something in my back pocket.

“I definitely juiced it up a little bit.”

Hook forced Courtney Coppersmith to fly out with the tying run on first to secure a 3-2 victory for Penn Manor at Hershey High School, sending the Comets back to the District 3 championship game for a second consecutive year. This time they will be playing for the Class 6A title.

Penn Manor will face Chambersburg in the title game Thursday at a site and time to be determined. The game will be a rematch of last year’s championship that Chambersburg won, 1-0, in 10 innings.

“We're definitely looking to win,” Hook said.

The Class 6A semifinal game was resumed Wednesday in the top of the third inning after a steady rain forced the suspension of the game Tuesday. Both teams struck for runs in the first inning Tuesday, during a misting rain that likely contributed to throwing errors by both clubs. Neither team managed to scratch out a run during the final six innings.

“It’s definitely hard to come back (after) the rain, I mean everybody's like at a different level,” Hook said.

Hook stranded eight baserunners in the complete-game victory. She struck out 10 and walked three.

“We knew coming in she was going to be one of the best pitchers we faced,” Central catcher Briannah Dobson said.

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Dobson went 3-for-4, including a two-run double in the first inning.

Hook had her best stuff when it mattered most, including stranding four Central runners in scoring position.

“That was probably one of the best teams we faced all season,” Hook said.

Four Central York batters recorded hits, and her only clean inning came in the sixth, when she retired the bottom of Central’s lineup in order.

“We had our hits, but we just couldn’t string them together like all in a row so that was just our issue today,” Dobson said.

Central’s loss pushes the Panthers (22-2) into a win-or-go-home consolation game against Central Dauphin Thursday at a site and time to be determined. The Panthers must win the consolation game in order to keep their season alive and reach the state tournament.

“We’re not going to stress on this one because tomorrow will be a new day,” Dobson said.

The loss also ruined a near-perfect day in the circle for Coppersmith. She retired 12 of the final 13 batters she faced, including the last 12 in order. She struck out eight and did not allow a walk.

Watch: Central softball winning tradition continues
Despite changing head coaches and losing the league's player of the year last season, Central York remains a title contender.
Jim Seip,