Trojans capture District 3-AAAA title in 10th inning
Finally, somebody got a hit when it really counted.
Maggie Myers bounced a single through the shortstop hole with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Chambersburg to a pulsating 1-0 victory over Penn Manor in the District 3 Class AAAA softball championship game Thursday evening at Lebanon Valley College.
Both teams - especially the Comets - had wasted numerous chances to break through earlier, but Myers was ready for her big moment.
"The other times I had a chance to score somebody, I was a little too hyped up and overwhelmed," Myers said. "But I just calmed down and put it in play."
Trojan coach Chris Skultety said, "That was unbelievable. For a championship game, you can't get a better ballgame than that."
Chambersburg and pitcher Leah Hunt got out of a one-out, two-on jam in the top of the 10th, which began with the international rule that puts a runner on second base to start the inning. They were the 12th and 13th runners Penn Manor stranded.
In the bottom of the 10th, Tierra Kauffman started at second base and Kirsten Pugh was called on to bunt. With two strikes, she barely got a piece of the ball, but it spun just in front of the plate and then on the plate and the catcher could not make a play. The Comets then walked Alexis Estep to bring up Myers, who had made outs twice previously with a runner in scoring position.
Not this time.
She hit a hard grounder off Brittany Hook to score the game's only run and set off a wild celebration for the Trojans, who won their 12th District 3 title, but first since 2002.
Chambersburg will play a first-round game of the PIAA Tournament on Monday, with the game tentatively set for 4:30 p.m. at Shippensburg University's Robb Field.
The Trojans pulled off a Houdini act in the fifth inning with Laken Myers pitching. Bri Wood-Hickey singled to lead off for the Comets, and Abby Busswood bunted for a hit. An error on a bunt loaded the bases with no outs and the 2-3-4 hitters coming up.
Laken Myers said, "We kept the ball down because we wanted to get grounders and either get a force play or a double play."
And that she did.
Danielle Wright tapped one to third baseman Tara Harmon, who threw home to catcher Sammie Bender for one out. Then Hook bounced one back to Myers, who threw to Bender for out No. 2. Then Samantha Duplissey hit a hard grounder that Maggie Myers snared and ran to second base for the force.
"We made some errors (3), but they didn't hurt us," Skultety said. "When we had to make plays, we did. We've preached that all season - that the defense can make a big difference."
There were two other major plays by the Chambersburg defense. In the fourth, PM's Morgan Yingling belted a one-out triple. Addie Long then dribbled a ball to Harmon, who threw home. Bender's tag was high on Yingling, but the umpire called her out.
In the sixth, Yingling was on third with one out after a single, a sacrifice bunt and an error. But on a grounder back to Hunt, she was caught off third base and thrown out.
Hunt pitched the final five innings to earn the win, giving up two hits and striking out three. It's the longest she has pitched in a while.
"When it's a 0-0, 10-inning game, you're not worried about being tired," Hunt said. "I might be tired tomorrow morning, but not today."
Laken Myers hurled the first five innings and gave up five hits with two strikeouts. Hook was dominant in the middle innings and eventually allowed six hits with six Ks.
Skultety said, "You have to tip your hat to their pitcher, but I think we beat ourselves a little. We were too aggressive early in the count and popped it up too much (15 of the 21 outs put in play were in the air)."
Maggie Myers said, "Our plate discipline wasn't really good - we didn't lay off the high stuff enough."
But in the end, Myers did hit one on the ground and it counted for the game-winner.
"When you get into the international rules (with the runner starting on second) and you don't score in the top of the inning, you put yourself in a lot of pressure," Skultety said. "Once Kirsten got that bunt down I knew we were in great shape."