SV softball falls to Spring-Ford in state final
UNIVERSITY PARK — Even on the brightest of stages, it all comes back to the basics.
Softballs that Seneca Valley’s batters put in play constantly found the gloves of Spring-Ford’s fielders. During their turns at the plate, the Rams hit them where the Raiders weren’t.
In SV’s 5-0 defeat in Friday’s PIAA Class 6A title game, that’s essentially what it came down to. The Raiders’ Lexie Hames bowed to the challengers’ Jules Scogna in an anticipated pitching clash at Penn State University’s Beard Field, snapping an 11-game win streak.
“We hit today, but we just hit at people,” SV coach Marlesse Hames said. “We did something right, we just didn’t get it in the gaps.”
The Raiders (16-7) were limited to two hits — by Lina Chardella and Kara Pasquale — and only had as many base runners up until the final frame.
Scogna, who had to ease her way back into things after she recently tweaked her leg, got out of each inning but the last in 11 or fewer offerings. Curiously, she didn’t record a strikeout.
“I told her, ‘Put the ball in play and you’ll be fine. We’ll field it for you,’” Spring-Ford coach Tim Hughes said.
In scouting SV, he didn’t particularly expect it to be so simple.
“I was scared to death,” Hughes said. “When I saw the power, they’ve got kids who can hit the ball. They’ve got kids that can throw.
“We were going to have to play the same thing we did against North Penn (in the semifinal) — a perfect defensive game and get some timely hits when needed. We actually got a couple more than I thought we’d get.”
The Rams (24-3) put ducks on the pond in each of the first five innings. The pitcher Hames managed to work out of the first and second frames with a runner in scoring position.
Morgan Lester led things off with a single to shallow right field in the visitors’ third. A bunt moved her to second and, two batters later, Gracie Carlin grounded an RBI-single to draw first blood.
Four hits in Spring-Ford’s next go-round pushed them to a 4-0 edge. They added an insurance run in the seventh.
Maddie Gross was hit by a pitch with two gone in the bottom of that inning, and Hames worked a walk afterward. Bella Gross popped out to end the game with the tying run two batters away.
The elder Gross intercepted her sister before lining up for handshakes.
“I wasn’t able to tell her much,” Maddie said. “She didn’t want to listen. I just wanted her to know that she wasn’t the reason we lost … Even if she had shot one over the fence, we would’ve had to do a lot to change the outcome.”
The runner-up hardware isn’t what the Raiders sought in making the trip to Happy Valley, but that trophy isn’t one that they’re ashamed of.
“I told them, ‘From where we started in the season to where we ended, hold that trophy proud,’” Coach Hames said. “I’m going to remember the fight that these girls have.”
Gross will cherish what the run was.
“(It was) just constantly being surprised, but also knowing that we could do it,” Maddie said. “It was good to see this team come together through all the games.”
Spring-Ford 001 210 1 — 5 9 0
Seneca Valley 000 000 0 — 0 2 3
W: Scogna 7IP (0K, 1BB). L: Lexie Hames 7IP (6K,1BB)
Spring-Ford (24-3): A. Wescott 3-1B RBI, Lester 2-1B RBI, Carlin 1B 2B, L. Wescott 1B, Jarrell 1B RBI, Gancasz RBI
Seneca Valley (16-7): Kara Pasquale 1B, Lina Chardella 2B