DISTRICT 3-AAA SOFTBALL: James Buchanan can't figure out Val Miller in loss to Conrad Weiser
CARLISLE >> James Buchanan coach Eric Reed knew his Rockets were up for a tough test in Conrad Weiser and pitcher Val Miller.
"I told the girls before the game that there are throwers and there are pitchers, and she was definitely a pitcher," Reed said.
Miller turned out to be as advertised. She held JB to just two hits, and the Scouts took advantage of some early walks for a 3-0 win in a District 3 Class AAA softball quarterfinal on Thursday.
"She was really good," Rocket starting pitcher Taryn Miller said of Val Miller. "She came in, hit her corners well and she had a nice rise ball and changeup. She just did a great job."
Shania Fogelsonger led off the game with an infield single for James Buchanan, which finishes with an 18-5 record, but that is all the damage the Rockets could do for a while. Miller didn't allow another hit until the seventh inning and allowed only one baserunner in that span, on an error in the third.
Val Miller said, "I felt really good today. I've been struggling a little bit, but I thought I had my best stuff out there today. It seemed like they had some power hitters, so I just tried to be selective with my spots and keep them off balance."
"I think facing a lefty was a bit different for us," Fogelsonger said. "She had a great curveball and a lot of movement on the ball."
Miller finished with 11 strikeouts, no walks and only three balls made it to the outfield. She was also 3-for-4 at the plate.
"She's been great for us all season," Conrad Weiser coach Tammy Schucker said. "When she's on and working batters the way she did today, we're confident."
The Scouts (20-3), who will play Donegal (22-3) in the semifinals on Tuesday, used three walks and a pair of two-out base hits to jump ahead in the second inning. Madison Potthoff worked a one-out walk, and after a sacrifice bunt, Aarika Ferko also worked a base on balls. A single by Miller loaded the bases, and Potthoff raced home on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. Then, Brianna Sassaman coaxed another walk to load the bases again, and Emma W. Price drove in Ferko with a line-drive single to give the Scouts a two-run cushion.
"We weren't getting the low strike call early, and then all of a sudden it just changed," Reed said. "But he was consistent with both teams, so I can't complain. Taryn only gave up three hits, and we didn't make errors on defense, but they took advantage of some walks, which is very unlike her."
Conrad Weiser added another run in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Brianna Pichler roped a single to centerfield and went to second on an error. Then, Rachel Turco hit another line drive up the middle to score Pichler and give the Scouts a three-run lead.
Nina Shatzer pitched four innings of relief for the Rockets, giving up just one run, which was unearned, on four hits with five strikeouts.
James Buchanan's season came to a tough end, but not before it made history. The Rockets finished with 18 wins, a school record, and finished as co-champs in the Mid Penn Colonial Divison. JB will lose three key seniors – Fogelsonger, catcher Abbie Doyka and second baseman Jennae Piper.
Fogelsonger said, "It's pretty upsetting to know this is my last game, but we definitely did better than I thought we would this year. I'm proud of our team."
"That's probably the most heartbreaking part," Taryn Miller said. "I've played with these girls for three years now, and Abbie and I have played together even before that. It's going to be tough, and we're going to miss them a lot."
Conrad Weiser 3 James Buchanan 0
J. BuchananConrad WeiserabrhbabrhbFoglsngr ss3010Ferko 3b2100Pittman cf3000VMiller p4030TMiller p3010Sassmn ss3000Doyka c3000EWPrice c3011Piper 2b3000Schaffr dp1000CMiller 2000Pichler 1b3110Cmmngs lf2000Turco 2b3011Shatzer 1b2000Potthoff lf2100Bender 3b2000ERPrice rf2010Lutz cf0000Totals23020Totals23372
James Buchanan0000000—0Conrad Weiser020010x—3
E: JB 1, CW 1; LOB: JB 2, CW 9; SAC: ERPrice; SB: Ferko; CS: Fogelsonger.
James Buchanan pitching
TMiller (L,7-2) 232263Shatzer441005
Conrad Weiser pitching