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Fairfield rolls to first District 3 softball title

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Fairfield sophomore Ryleigh Bolyard delivered a 4-for-4 day at the plate in leading the Green Knights to their first District 3 softball title with a 5-2 victory Wednesday over Upper Dauphin at Starry Field at Messiah College.

Bolyard put a cap on her monster afternoon at the dish with a booming two-run homer well over the 220-foot marker on the center-field fence in the top of the seventh that pushed the Knights' advantage to 5-1 in the Class 2A final.

"I was looking for a pitch that was low and in, and that's where it was," Bolyard said of her round-tripper. "I had a good swing and made good contact with it."

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Upper Dauphin (13-6) didn't go down without a fight. When Lexi Weaver singled home Allison Snyder with one down, the Trojans had the tying run at the plate in cleanup hitter Mickalya Grow.

Grow hit a ball deep in the hole between third and short, but Bolyard ranged from shortstop to field it and threw to third baseman Natalie Holmes for the second out.

Fairfield (13-7) hurler Courtney Harbaugh induced a ground out from Meghan Crosby to end it and finish up her complete game in the circle.

Harbaugh allowed two runs and 10 hits with no strikeouts and one walk. She tossed 87 pitches, 56 of them were strikes.

"I wanted to stay focused and throw strikes. We have a good defense and I trust them to make plays," Harbaugh said. "I had my drop ball and my curve ball working well and I was just trying to hit my spots."

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The game was scoreless into the fourth when Bolyard led off with a double, then a two-out error allowed her to score the game's first run.

Fairfield added two more runs in the fifth when Harbaugh and Bolyard each singled home runs.

"Ryleigh has been our best hitter all season long. She came into today with 29 RBIs and I've never had a player have that many in any season that I've been coaching here," Fairfield coach Terry Weikert said. "She really squares the ball up well."

This is Weikert's 25th year at the helm for the Knights and the first time he's guided a team to the district championship game or the state tournament.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," he said. "We had some great teams back in the late '90s, but we just couldn't get over the hump."

The Trojans finally dented the scoreboard in the fifth when Lea Lenker singled to plate Snyder, but Harbaugh limited the damage as she retired Crosby to leave the bases loaded. Upper Dauphin left nine runners on base, five of them in scoring position.

"We knew that Upper Dauphin was an excellent team and that we'd have to play well to win today," Weikert said. "The girls played probably their best game of the season today and I think that we can keep going."

The Knights will play in the opening round of the PIAA tournament on Monday.