ANNVILLE — An inability to hit Warwick pitcher Katelyn Minney and an inability to get the last out in two innings proved too much to overcome for Chambersburg in the District 3 Class 6A softball championship.
The Warriors scored eight of their runs with two outs, Minney checked the Trojans on just three hits and Warwick captured the district title, 10-2, at Lebanon Valley College on Thursday.
Chambersburg (22-3) will play in the first round of the PIAA Tournament on Monday against the District 1 runner-up (either Neshaminy or Spring-Ford), with site and time to be announced. Warwick (19-3) will play the sixth-place team from District 1.
“We picked the wrong day to play bad,” Trojan coach Chris Skultety said, “and that starts with me. We didn’t follow our game plan … or maybe it wasn’t the right game plan.”
Minney struck out 12 batters, including six of them looking. She had one walk, but not many three-strike situations.
Skultety said, “The McDevitt pitcher threw harder, but this girl hit her spots better. I think 10 is the most strikeouts we’ve ever had (with Skultety as coach). She is a good pitcher, but when we got behind we started to press a little and just couldn’t get that spark.”
Chambersburg did get on the board early. Hannah Runk ripped a double to straightaway centerfield with one out in the top of the first and when Alyssa Brechbill singled sharply to right, Runk scampered home when the relay throw was mishandled.
That 1-0 lead lasted only until the bottom of the second, however, when the Trojans committed all three of their errors.
Kenzie Stewart reached on an error by shortstop Runk, and after Mackenzie Stake got a strikeout, Jenna Ober bunted. She was out at first and then Chambersburg caught courtesy runner Madison Minney past second base, getting her in a rundown. She would have been out trying to get back to the bag, but second baseman Erin Pattillo could not complete the catch and she was safe.
With the bottom of the order due up, an out would have still maintained the Trojans’ lead. However, Isabella Smithson blasted a triple to right-venter, Abby Murray singled up the middle for an RBI and Samantha Shaak doubled in another. The final run scored on a throwing error by third baseman Mackenzie Kohler, making it 4-1.
“We work on that (rundown) play all the time,” Skultety said, “but we messed it up. And then Mack got three pitches up to the bottom of the order and that killed us.”
The Warriors struck again in the third inning without the aid of errors. With two runners on and two outs, Stake hit Smithson with a pitch to load the bases, then Murray singled in two runs, Shaak got a base hit to bring in two more, and suddenly, it was 8-1.
Skultety said, “We just couldn’t stop the bleeding. They got too many runs with two outs.”
Chambersburg manufactured a run in the fourth when Brechbill walked, moved to second on a fielder’s choice by Samantha Paetow, reached third on a wild pitch and trotted home when Saleen Null dropped a single into left.
Pattillo pitched the final two innings for the Trojans. She got out of the fifth unscathed, but a double by Kenzie Stewart drove in a pair of runs in the sixth for a 10-2 lead.
“I think we’ll be reflecting on the bus ride back about this,” Skultety said. “We’ll have to learn from our mistakes. Warwick is good, but I don’t think they’re that much better than us. We just didn’t play well and some of our batters made zero adjustments today.
“I think we’re still good enough to win a state championship, but we’ll have to play better than this.”
NOTES: Through three innings, Warwick’s 7-8-9 hitters were 5-for-5 with five runs scored and seven RBIs and its first three batters were 0-for-7… This was the third District 3 title for Warwick, and the first since 2003 … Stake allowed seven hits, plus a walk and a hit batter and struck out two; four of the eight runs against her were unearned … Centerfielder Brechbill made a nice diving catch to end the first inning.