SOFTBALL: Warwick falls, Donegal soars in district openers
LITITZ - For the Warwick Lady Warriors softball team, there was plenty of good going on in their District 3 opener versus Exeter Township.
Take, for example, Jo High's 3-for-3 day at the plate, including a clutch RBI single in the fourth inning and a leadoff single in the pivotal seventh.
There was Rene Ross' well-executed sacrifice bunt in the third, in which Katelyn Seibert adroitly went first to third.
There was senior shortstop Vanessa Strohm throwing behind a runner at third base for an out, avoiding a bases-loaded opportunity for the visiting Eagles. Second baseman Mack Russell pulled a similar trick on a sacrifice bunt, taking an out at first base before firing to Nicole Mengel at third for a double-play.
And there was pitcher Amanda Herr striking out a pair of Exeter batters with the bases loaded in the sixth inning - on her way to nine strikeouts overall - keeping a 3-1 deficit just where it was.
Despite all that, however, it was the No. 16 Lady Eagles (14-7) pulling out a 3-2 upset victory over the Quad-A No. 1 seed Lady Warriors Tuesday evening at Warwick High School, ending the Warriors' banner-winning season with an impressive 19-3 record.
"It ended too early," summed up head coach Mark Hough regarding the season. "And that's what I'm heartbroken about for the kids."
After a miserable first inning in which Exeter plated a trio of unearned runs, Warwick sought to comeback off the Eagles' sophomore pitcher Sarah Musselman (6Ks, 1BB).
But as with all things, the Lady Warriors had to take the good with the bad.
Pinch-runner Jenny Woolley was picked off first base to end the second inning, a snap-throw by catcher Halle Kisamore doing the deed. In the third, Strohm lined a hard shot to center with runners on first and third, but the ball was hit right to centerfielder Emily Hangen.
"We hit some at 'em balls today," Hough said. "You have three errors, you give up three runs, and you hold them. We played the game an inning too late and that's really what we did."
Yet High was able to single home Ashley Royer, who had doubled, in the fourth, giving the Lady Warriors some life.
In the seventh, High led off with a single to right. With Woolley courtesy running at first, Seibert singled on a bunt and both runners moved up on an overthrow by the Eagles' third-baseman.
Then with two out, Russell singled softly over the shortstop's head to plate Woolley, Seibert holding up at third on the play.
"It was too short of a shot," Hough said. "I felt Vanessa was hitting the ball pretty hard, and you hate getting a run thrown out at the plate when you got first and third and a senior coming up that's been hitting."
Strohm held her own in the at-bat, but Kisamore squeezed a foul-tip, strike three as Musselman and her teammates began to celebrate.
"She was a very consistent pitcher," Hough said of Musselman. "She's going to give a lot of people challenges in the next round and I wish (Exeter) a lot of luck because they beat us."
Incidentally, Exeter will move on to face Warriors' L-L Section One rival Penn Manor (13-6), a 3-1 winner over Mechanicsburg, on Thursday.
Meanwhile, knowing that there was plenty of good on Tuesday will eventually become part of the memory of the Lady Warriors' banner season.
DONEGAL 15, HAMBURG 5
In the AAA bracket, the L-L League champion Lady Indians (22-3) prevailed over No. 16 Hamburg (11-10) with a pair of bat-around innings, sealing the run-rule victory with a seven-run fifth inning.
Makyla Yoder, Rachel Mummau, Natalie Orr, Kaitlyn Witmer, and Peighton Hornick all tallied two hits apiece, Donegal finishing with thirteen hits - all singles - along with four Hamburg errors.
Yoder (8Ks) went the distance in the circle, allowing one earned run on seven hits, to pick up the victory.
Top-seeded Donegal will move on to face No. 9 Bishop McDevitt (15-6), a 12-0 winner over Kennard-Dale, on Thursday.
Girls' High School Softball
District 3 AAAA First Round
Exeter 3, Warwick 2
ETWP 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 03 10 1
WW 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 - 02 08 3
WP-S. Musselman; LP-A. Herr
K-BB-S. Musselman (7IP, 6K, 1BB) and H. Kisamore; A. Herr (7IP, 9K, 0BB) and J. High
Girls' High School Softball
District 3 AAA First Round
Donegal 15, Hamburg 5
H 1 0 0 0 4 - 05 07 4
D 0 5 2 1 7 - 15 13 1
WP-M. Yoder; LP-P. Lesher
K-BB-Lesher (4.2IP, 2K, 3BB) and M. Shellenberger; Yoder (5IP, 8K, 0BB, HBP) and R. Mummau