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SOFTBALL: Lampeter-Strasburg and Warwick advance to L-L semis

WILLOW STREET - When Lampeter-Strasburg pitcher Jordan Weaver struck-out Garden Spot leadoff batter Courtney Petersheim to end the top of the eighth inning, she gave a modest pump of the fist and uttered a subtle, though still audible, shout of triumph.

It was, after all, her thirteenth strikeout of the contest, and it kept her Lady Pioneers' teammates deadlocked with the Lady Spartans in a 0-0 tie heading into the bottom of the inning.

From there, Weaver's sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the inning ultimately brought home the winning run after Spartan's third baseman Abi Fricke double-clutched and fired high, allowing speedy pinch-runner Jordyn Kondras to score the game-winning run all the way from first base.

The end result was a tiring, though certainly hard-earned, 1-0 victory in the final game of the Lancaster-Lebanon League softball quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Garrett Field in Willow Street, advancing Lampeter-Strasburg (19-2) to Monday's semifinal bout versus the Warwick Lady Warriors, a 10-0 winner over Pequea Valley in Saturday's third game.

"I knew I just had to keep pitching strikes and my defense would back me up," Weaver said of the pitching duel with the Spartans' Taylor Martin, "and that we had to end up coming in to hit and I had confidence in my offense that we would get the bats rolling."

Lampeter-Strasburg managed just seven hits and two walks versus Martin, three of those hits off the bat of freshman Hanna Garber. But a leadoff single by Kate High in the eighth lipped out of the glove of a diving Sydney Nichols at short to set up the winning play.

"Martin threw real well," said head coach of the Pioneers Tim Shoff. "We went into it knowing she had a good changeup and she certainly did, kept us off-balance. We didn't get good swings at her, that's the bottom line. Fortunately we got the key hit at the end and bunted the ball, they made a miscue and that was the difference in the game."

Lampeter-Strasburg had a bases-loaded opportunity off Martin in the third inning, but a comical catch by the catcher Petersheim with Martin engulfing her in a hug as both players went for the ball, ended the threat.

Garden Spot (10-10) had their chances as well despite just two hits off Weaver. A first and third opportunity in the fourth inning and Martin's long drive to left field in the sixth gave Spartan fans plenty of confidence.

Despite the shutout-all four games Saturday ended in shutouts, incidentally-Garden Spot played well in their Lancaster-Lebanon League playoff debut, coming in their first season in Section Two after several years playing with Lampeter-Strasburg in Section Three.

"I'm just extremely proud of the girls," said Spartans' head coach Julia Parmer. "For me it was heartbreaking to have it end that way, and yet I said after the first inning with such a good start, such a good showing, that whatever happened I was going to be proud of them.

"Having played them before (as members of Section Three), when you go out on the field and you're having that kind of battle but you have respect for them and them for us, that makes it nice."

In the third game Saturday, Section One champion Warwick (19-1) scored ten runs in the third inning, finished with ten hits, and freshman starter Amanda Herr recorded ten strikeouts as the Lady Warriors dismantled Section Four runner-up Pequea Valley (13-7).

"We've had a lot of good games, we've had a lot of tough games, but this is one of our better games," Herr said of being on the receiving end of a ten-run cushion. "I'm kind of used to it now because my team really hits."

Senior Vanessa Strohm got the ball rolling in the third with an RBI triple to right field that scored Mack Russell. An Ashley Royer double preceded RBI hits by Herr, Nicole Mengel, and Jo High before Royer eventually returned to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, jacking a grand-slam over the centerfield fence to cap the inning.

"Sometimes we kind of struggle in the early innings," Strohm said, "but once someone can get that critical hit, then we can just keep feeding off each other."

Not lost in the shuffle was a well-executed squeeze bunt RBI by Lexi Leonard in what was actually the first out of the inning.

"Quite frankly, you can talk about Ashley's grand slam, but I have to tell you Lexi Leonard getting down a bunt on two strikes, to get that run in, that just got everybody believing that we were going in the right direction," said Warriors' head coach Mark Hough.

Lady Braves' starter Sabrina Ryan pitched well outside of the third inning and was perhaps a victim of circumstance versus the Lady Warriors' vaunted lineup.

"It's that, and to their credit they have some good hitters, too," admitted Lady Braves coach Amy Shay. "You like to be competitive and when you're not it's never happy time."

Ryan had one of three hits off Herr, the other two coming off the bat of Lenea Riehl.

But now, with both Garden Spot and Pequea Valley now looking forward to the upcoming district tournament, the Lady Warriors are looking ahead to Monday's semifinal versus Lampeter-Strasburg, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

And while it's still "one game at a time," according to Strohm, Saturday's run-rule victory "definitely sets the tone and gives us confidence going into our second round, so I'm really excited for the next game, to see what happens."

Also Monday, Donegal and Hempfield will square off in the first semifinal beginning at 5:30 p.m. The finals are set for Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. All games are at Garrett Field.


Girls' High School Softball

L-L Quarterfinal at Garrett Field, Willow Street

Warwick 10, Pequea Valley 0

PV 0 0 0 0 0 - 00 03 3

WW 0 0 (10) 0 x - 10 10 0

WP-A. Herr; LP-S. Ryan

K-BB-S. Ryan (4IP, 5K, 3BB) and T. Doratt; A. Herr (5IP, 10K, 0BB) and J. High

2B-WW 3 (N. Mengel, A. Royer, J. High)

3B-WW 1 (V. Strohm)

HR-WW 1 (A. Royer)


Girls' High School Softball

L-L Quarterfinal at Garrett Field, Willow Street

Lampeter-Strasburg, Garden Spot

GS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 2

LS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 7 0

WP-J. Weaver; LP-T. Martin

K-BB-T. Martin (7+IP, 1K, 2BB) and C. Petersheim; J. Weaver (8IP, 13K, 2BB) and K. Weaver

2B-S. Braungard (LS)