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L-S advances to PIAA Class AAA softball semifinals

LYONS — It’s always good to be yourself.

That’s just the way the Lampeter-Strasburg softball team looked Thursday evening at Lyons Park outside of Fleetwood, when the District 3 third-seed Pioneers bombed past District 11 champion Bangor, 8-2, to reach the PIAA Class AAA semifinals.

Having banged out 14 hits Thursday, including three mammoth extra-base knocks, the Pioneers (25-2) move on to the Eastern final Monday, where they will face District 2 champion Abington Heights, a 7-3 winner over Bishop Shanahan on Thursday.

“We like to get up early in the beginning of the game so it was good to see we followed that up with a couple of runs,” said two-hole hitter Jordyn Kondras, who finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored as well as a long RBI triple to the right-center field gap in the sixth inning.

The Pioneers were able to score in the first inning on Hanna Garber’s opposite-field home run over the left fielder’s head, scoring Kondras and herself for a 2-0 lead.

“I thought (Hanna) was going to catch me (rounding the bases),” Kondras said with a laugh. “I didn’t know if the girl was going to catch it, then I realized I was dumb for thinking she was going to. I know if I get on, Hanna is going to hit me in.”

As she did in the Pioneers’ first-round contest with Villa Maria, ace pitcher Jordan Weaver (5K, 3BB) made the lead stand up against Bangor (24-3), fighting through a couple of long at-bats and extended innings versus a potent Slaters’ offense.

“I like being the away team … just get on top and it’s nice to go out there with a lead,” said Weaver, after she allowed just one earned run on five hits. “Even if we don’t get runners in, we still have people on base and it's comforting to know we can do that.”

Kondras helped out her pitcher in the second inning, throwing out Bangor pinch-runner Maddie Adams at home plate on a perfect line throw that also kept the other runners from advancing.

“Not that I’m glad they hit off Jordan, but I’m glad I had a play,” Kondras said on her first opportunity to throw out a runner this season.

That momentum carried over to the top of the fifth, in which L-S tallied three runs on four hits and three Bangor errors. Kondras got the rally started with two outs before Garber, Delaney Baker (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Weaver all singled for a 5-0 lead.

Kondras answered an unearned run by Bangor with a two-out triple that scored pinch-runner Haley Cikovic, Natalie Carson having opened the sixth with a single.

“Jordyn Kondras, the last three weeks, has just been doing really well,” said L-S coach Tim Shoff. “Hitting the ball to all fields, bunting the ball, hitting with power; she’s been a big contributor to our success.

“We need one to nine and we’re doing that. We’ve been trying to get that consistency all year and today we did that a little bit more.”

Baker singled to lead off the seventh before Caroline Braungard (3-for-4, RBI) hit a big-league double to answer another Bangor run and set the final margin.

“The team we have is so special and we build off each other,” Kondras said. “It’s good that we get to be successful together, one-to-nine in the lineup and then in the field.”

“I’m very happy for the girls,” said Shoff, believing this is the Pioneers’ first trip to the semifinals. “They’ve worked hard all year and the success goes to them. They’ve done extra work and they should be very proud of themselves.”

Lampeter-Strasburg 8, Bangor 2

L.Strasburg          2  0  0    0  3  1    2 — 8  14  4
Bangor                 0  0  0    0  1  1    0 — 2  5  4
SO-BB — LS, Jordan Weaver 5-3; B, Erin Happel 1-0.
2B — LS, Caroline Braungard; B, Dani Fey. 3B — LS, Jordyn Kondras. HR — LS, Hanna Garber