- High School
Can Neshannock Win A First Softball Crown?
Just like baseball, it is slim pickings for the WPIAL in PIAA championship play. Only one team is taking the trip to Penn State, the Neshannock Lancers will make their first venture ever for championship gold.
Here is a preview of that game, all the action can be heard right here on the MSA Sports Network.
Neshannock Lancers (23-1) vs. Warrior Run Defenders (24-2) Friday at 3PM on the MSA Sports Network
A match up of first timers in the state championship game, neither team has played for a PIAA title.
Head Coach: Tracy Kimmel
Suffered it's only loss to Deer Lakers in the WPIAL semifinals, was the number one seed in Class AA going into district play, going 20-0 in the regular season.
Neshannock had to defeat section rival Riverside for a third time, just to make the state playoffs with a 3-2 win at California University, a game which they won in the final at bat.
Path to Penn State:
First Round: Phillipsburg-Osceola 5-3 in 8 innings
Quarterfinals: Fairview 4-3
Semifinals: Martinsburg Central 15-5 in 5 innings
In the PIAA first round, the Lancers made two trips to Penn State, the game was suspended in the first inning and resumed the following day.
In the Fairview win, Neshannock beat the District 10 champs, who were unbeaten going into the game.
In the semifinals, the Lancers reached first safely on 9 of 10 bunt attempts.
Junior Rayanna Furst, freshman Madison Shaffer and freshman Marissa DeMatteo are all hitting over .450 for the season. Shaffer singled home the winning run in the Fairview victory.
Rayanna Furst hit in the number three slot during the regular season, but has moved back to the top spot in the order in the post-season.
Senior Amanda Furst has done it for Neshannock both pitching and hitting this season.
Amanda Furst is the only senior in the starting lineup for the Lancers.
Head Coach: Garth Watson
Path to Penn State:
First Round: Annville-Cleona 14-4
Quarterfinals: Christopher Dock 2-1
Semifinals: Nanticoke 14-1
The Defenders had never won a PIAA playoff game before this season.
Jackie Clemens had three hits, including a homer, and 6 runs batted in Monday's win.
Taylor Parker had an run scoring double and Jackie Clemens a run scoring single for the Defenders in the quarterfinal win. Parker retired the final seven batters in that victory.
Parker tossed a four hitter in the District 4 championship game over Mifflinburg, a 2-0 win for the Defenders for their first district crown. Mifflinburg handed Warrior Run both losses this season.
Parker has fanned 221 batters this season, she leads the Defenders in average, homers and runs batted in.
Warrior Run also claimed it's first league title, the Defenders had missed the district playoffs from 2002-09.
The Defenders have a saying, "Pass the bat down". When one person gets a hit, we pass the bat down, according to third baseman Devin Nicholas.