We started with 6 and now we’re down to 3 Schuylkill League teams still standing in the PIAA baseball and softball playoffs.
On Thursday, we lost two more.
Both the Schuylkill Haven and North Schuylkill baseball teams struggled to get their offenses going until it was a little too late. And their seasons ended in a pair of nail biters.
But for the Williams Valley and Pine Grove softball teams along with the Blue Mountain baseball team, they survive to fight another day.
Here’s a quick look at how each local team made out in Thursday’s quarterfinal rounds.
Williams Valley Relentless in Blanking Old Forge
The Lady Vikings hammered out 15 hits in a 6-inning shutout of Old Forge in the Class 1A softball quarterfinals.
On the mound, Emma Cresswell dealt nothing the Old Forge bats could handle. She struck out 10, walked just 1 and only allowed 2 hits to earn the win.
Nearly everyone who came to the plate for Williams Valley got a hit or scored a run. Four players drove in a pair of runs each: Mya Achenbach, Emma Crisswell, Jamie Neiman, and Grace Hoffman.
Pine Grove Uses Big Inning, Lights Out Pitching to Move On
Lady Cardinals pitcher Olivia Lehman worked a no-hitter into the 7th inning on Thursday. In the end, she allowed just a lone hit and struck out 8 Warrior Run batters.
At the plate, Pine Grove didn’t get going until the 4th inning, scoring 7 runs en route to the 8-0 Class 3A softball quarterfinal win.
Olivia Lehman and Maura Lehman each had a pair of hits for Pine Grove.
Blue Mountain’s Big 1st Inning Knocks Out Archbishop Wood
Blue Mountain got all the offense it needed in the first inning of its Class 5A baseball quarterfinal. The Eagles used 5 singles, a walk and a sacrifice bunt to push 4 runners across the plate in the 1st. They managed just 3 hits after that but it was all they needed in a 4-0 win over Archbishop Wood.
Nate Nabholz went the distance for Blue Mountain, striking out 6 Vikings batters and allowing just 2 hits.
A Home Run, Stranded Runners Sinks the Spartans
Owen Zimmerman socked a 2-run homer to right in the 4th inning Thursday to lift Hamburg to a Class 4A baseball quarterfinal win over North Schuylkill.
The Hawks added an insurance run in the top of the 7th and it proved to be just enough to hold off the Spartans, 3-2.
North Schuylkill didn’t have trouble getting runners on base. But it struggled to get anyone across the plate until it was too late. It total, the Spartans left 16 runners on base Thursday.
For the Spartans, it was a tough finish to one of the better sports seasons in the school’s history.
Haven’s Bats Wake Up Too Late in Quarterfinals Defeat
Credit South Williamsport’s Tripp Breen with an incredible day on the mound against Schuylkill Haven on Thursday. The pitcher whiffed 13 Hurricanes batters and the Mountaineers got just enough offense to sneak by Haven, 2-1 on Thursday.
Schuylkill Haven got its first (and second) hit of the game in the bottom of the 7th. Until then, only 5 batters put the ball in play during this pitchers’ duel.
The two hits were enough to get a single run across the plate in the 7th but the rally came up just short for the Hurricanes.
Jacob Houtz pitched a complete game for Schuylkill Haven in the loss. He struck out 4 and allowed just 3 hits.