CARLISLE — Both teams managed five hits and had nearly the same amount of scoring opportunities.
The difference, then, between Chambersburg and Central Dauphin in a District 3 Class 6A softball semifinal Tuesday evening at Carlisle H.S. was that the Rams were better at moving their runners up and the Trojans made two costly errors.
The result was a 3-1 victory for CD (20-2), which moves into the district championship game Thursday against Warwick (18-3). Chambersburg (16-6) will face Dallastown (14-7), a 4-1 loser to Warwick, for third place and a berth in the PIAA Tournament.
Sites and times have not yet been announced.
“The girls played their hearts out,” Trojan coach Chris Skultety said. “The difference was they made every play and there were a couple costly plays we didn’t make.”
Chambersburg was facing Rams ace Sam Gress for the third time this season. In 14 previous innings, the Trojans had mustered only four hits, and two of them were bunts.
Tuesday, all five hits were well-hit and two of them were doubles. But only two came in the same inning — the third when Sara Washabaugh lined a single to right-center and one out later, Taylor Myers drove a ball to the fence in left for an RBI double.
Skultety said, “The girls battled hard against her. We had couple of (former Trojan pitchers) come to throw against us (in practice) and I think that helped us get ready.”
Gress, who seemed to throw nearly as many changeups as fastballs to keep the Trojans guessing, walked only one, hit a batter and struck out six.
Mackenzie Stake did her job in the circle for Chambersburg, giving up five hits but no earned runs.
After the Trojans went ahead 1-0 in the top of the third, CD came back with two in the bottom half of the inning. Kristin Cusick singled and Gress doubled. Tyler White hit a hard grounder to shortstop that got past the fielder and both runs scored.
Central Dauphin made it 3-1 in the fifth on a single by Jillian Kendra, a sac bunt by Cusick, an error by the shortstop and an RBI base hit by White.
“Mack pitched a really good game, but she needs to limit the amount of leadoff hitters that got on (5 of 6 innings),” Skultety said. “And we can’t boot those balls.”
Chambersburg, which was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, stranded courtesy runner Brynn Schoenberger in the fifth after Hailey Privett doubled.
In the top of the seventh, the Trojans had a golden opportunity when Alyssa Wenger led off with a walk and Haiden Brookens singled sharply to right.
Brooklyn Miller then crossed up nearly everybody with a bunt … except that the home plate umpire ruled the ball hit her when she was out of the batter’s box.
Privett then made an out when she drove a pitch onto home plate and the ball popped straight up, making an easy play for the catcher. A strikeout then ended the game.
Skultety said, “That was a terrible call on Miller, and then Privett had that strange bounce on hers. That made a difference.”
The other factor was that the Rams were 2-for-2 on sac bunts, stole a base and several runners were able to take an extra base on hits.
The Trojans were 0-for-2 on bunts — not counting Miller’s — were caught stealing once and did not take an extra base.
“We needed those runners moved up,” Skultety said. “We’ve got to execute those bunts because facing a pitcher like that, you have to put pressure on her and the best way to do that is to have runners in scoring position.
“We wanted this one bad, but we’ll now have to re-focus. We still have goals to attain, so the girls will really want to win this game Thursday.”
Central Dauphin 3, Chambersburg 1
Taylor Myers, cf, 3-0-1-1; Kirsten Johnson, 2b, 3-0-0-0; Alyssa Brechbill, ss, 3-0-1-0; Alyssa Wenger, rf, 1-0-0-0; Haiden Brookens, 3b, 3-0-1-0; Carrie Loy, pr, 0-0-0-0; Brooklyn Miller, dp, 3-0-0-0; Mackenzie Stake, p, 0-0-0-0; Hailey Privett, c, 3-0-1-0; Brynn Schoenberger, cr, 0-0-0-0; Sara Washabaugh, 1b, 3-0-1-0; Raelyn Johnson, pr, 0-1-0-0; Kara Neidigh, lf, 2-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-5-1.
Bella Culp, 2b, 2-0-0-0; Sam Gress, p, 3-1-1-0; Tyler White, 3b, 3-0-1-1; Alondra Figueroa, rf, 2-0-0-0; Kyler Nelson, lf, 2-0-0-0; Samantha Burns, ss, 2-0-1-0; Hailee Beaver, c, 2-0-0-0; Abbey Hinson, ph, 1-0-0-0; Jillian Kendra, cf, 3-1-1-0; Kristin Cusick, dp, 2-1-1-0; Nicole Sellers, 1b, 0-0-0-0. Totals 22-3-5-1.
Chambersburg 001 000 0 — 1-5-2
Central Dauphin 002 010 x — 3-5-0
DP — CD. LOB — Chbg 4; CD 6. 2B — Myers, Privett; Gress. SAC — Burns, Cusick. SB — Burns. CS — Brechbill.
Chambersburg pitching: Stake (L,11-6) 6 ip, 5 h, 3 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 3 k, 1 wp.
C. Dauphin pitching: Gress (W) 7 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 6 k, 1 HBP.