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Chambersburg falls in MPC title game

Just three times this season, the Chambersburg softball team trailed after the third inning.

That was, until the Mid Penn Conference Championship game against Lower Dauphin.

The Falcons took a quick five-run jump on the Lady Trojans, which combined by a quality outing by starting pitcher Ava Bottiglia, handed Lowed Dauphin a 6-3 victory to claim the Mid Penn Conference softball championship.

"We weren't prepared for them being up in the first inning," Chambersburg's Sammie Bender said. "We beat ourselves a lot today.

The Chambersburg team on the field Thursday was not one that coach Chris Skultety has seen this season-- committing errors leading to unearned runs, and striking out seven times all of which drawn from Bottiflia's rise ball pitches.

"That's a quality team, and you cant give a quality team six or seven extra outs and how many errors we had," Skultety said. "We talked all weekend about not striking out on high pitches and every one of those strikeouts were on high pitches. We had her under pressure, but we definitely helped her out a lot."

The Lady Trojans (18-4) had an opportunity to come back, though, with a bases-loaded situation in the fifth and top hitter Leah Hunt up to bat.

Hunt hit a perfect ball into left field that sailed just over the head of the third basemen to bring in two runs, but Bottiglia stopped the damage there, retiring the side with the bases loaded.

"Bases loaded with one out, we just needed that one hit to break it open and get us back in it," Skultety said. "But the big guns didn't come through today."

In the bottom of the sixth, Lower Dauphin (20-2) brought in a security run when Kelly Palmer was walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and brought home on an error.

"As soon as you get a lead on someone you have that advantage and that momentum," Bottiglia said. "As soon as they scored those three runs we knew we needed to answer back with a run and that was huge. I like when they get runs because it makes us battle."

"A break here or there in a game like this, we have to take advantage," Lower Dauphin coach Joel Schreiner said. "Getting the runs early and then adding on, especially when we have Ava, she's a workhorse and when you give her some support it makes her even tougher."

Laken Myers took the loss for Chambersburg, allowing three earned runs in three innings pitched. She struck out two and walked one.

Although Bottiglia struck out seven batters, she also walked five. Hunt went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Dori Loukopoulos was 1-for-1 and was walked twice.

"I told the girls, we don't have to be upset today," Skultety said. "If anything this helps us refocus, now that they've seen the pressure of a championship game, they know what it will take."

"We know if we win two games we play them again so we are hoping to win those and get another shot at them because we do believe that we gave them a few runs today," Bender said.