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Eastern York punches ticket to district final

When the huddle broke after the District 3 Class 4A semifinal softball game between Eastern York and James Buchanan, Eastern coach Brad Rohrbaugh had to gather himself. 

"I'm about to jump out of my skin," Rohrbaugh said. 

That's because his team just clinched its first ever berth to the PIAA tournament, and will battle for its first district title in program history, thanks to a 2-1 win over James Buchanan in extra innings. 

"I'm extremely proud of this group of girls," Rohrnaugh said. "It's a dream for me too. I'm just elated with the outcome and I couldn't be any more thrilled." 

Eastern York will meet Kennard-Dale in the district championship game on Thursday. 

After putting the game-winning run on third in the bottom of the eighth inning, Morgan Winter hit a short grounder to James Buchanan's third baseman Maddie Bailey, who quickly scooped the ball ready to throw the runner out at home. But courtesy runner Gillian Toomey charged home and slid across the plate just as Bailey's throw tipped off the JB catcher's glove. 

It was a textbook pitchers' duel between James Buchanan's Jenna Mongold and Eastern York's Maelynn Leber, who - along with the help of top-notch defense - kept the game scoreless through four innings. 

Leber helped herself in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single that blooped over the head of James Buchanan short stop Alyssa Blair. But the Rockets were right back in it in the top of the sixth, thanks to a gutsy play by Mongold on a double steal then scored on a throwing error. 

"As a freshman, Maelynn handled it perfectly," Rohrbaugh said. "It's been the routine throughout the season, she has a good eye for the ball and she puts it in play. We needed to get the ball in play today to get something happening."