Lady Bison Must Hurdle Lady Chucks To Advance in 9-AAA

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HYDE — Securing a berth in the District 9 Class AAA championship game was one goal for the 2014 Clearfield Area High School softball team, and the No. 3-seeded Lady Bison will get that opportunity at Punxsutawney Tuesday.

Standing in their way are the Lady Chucks, whose 9-1 victory at Clearfield on May 1 factored significantly into the home field advantage for the 4:15 p.m. semifinal at Harry Noerr Field.

“It’s a whole different season,” Lady Bison second-year coach Bob Lewis said as he looked forward to his first playoff game. “We’re 7-12, they’re 8-11, and I think we can play with them.

“We probably played one of our not-so-good games against them the first time.

“So, if we do make the adjustments we’re supposed to, I think it’ll be a great game.”

Against common opponents, Punxsy sports a 4-3 record compared to Clearfield’s 3-4 log.

The Lady Bison defeated Bradford 7-2 and Brookville 13-3 in five innings, while the Lady Chucks Mercy Ruled those District 9 squads, blitzing the Lady Owls 14-0 and the Lady Raiders 13-0 and 12-1.

Both pinned losses on Altoona last week, Clearfield by 10-1 on Tuesday and Punxsy by 8-5 two days later to avenge a 7-1 upset by the Lady Lions on April 12.

The Lady Chucks, who were 3-8 against teams in the Central Penn League that has four Class AAAA schools, did have closer outcomes with two Mountain League teams that swept the Lady Bison.

Punxsy lost 7-6 to Philipsburg-Osceola and 3-1 to Bald Eagle Area earlier this month, while Clearfield was beaten 11-0 and 11-1 by P-O and 7-2 and 10-5 by BEA.

Lewis projects defense and clutch hitting as the keys.

“We can’t give them extra outs,“ he said “We have to make the routine plays, and we have to get timely hits and continue to hit the ball the way we have. We’re 5-5 in our last 10 games.”

Though scoring two or fewer runs in 10 of their losses, the Lady Bison are hitting .280 with seniors Rachel Hoffman and Megan Vanderburgh leading the way.

Hoffman sports a robust .537 average with team highs of 29 hits, five doubles, six triples, five home runs, 24 runs driven in and 17 runs scored.

Vanderburgh, who has 11 multi-hit games, checks in with a .438 average on 28 hits that include four doubles, two triples and two homers. She’s driven in 14 runs and scored 14.

Hoffman will be in the circle for her 15th start with a 5-10 record and 4.55 earned run average. She’s struck out 100 batters, walked 39 and hit six in 87-2/3 innings.

Vanderburgh is the shortstop and will be joined on the inner defense by a trio of sophomores, third baseman Sierra Jones, second baseman Lauren Butler (.321, 18 hits) and first baseman Victoria Ireland.

With soph Karlie Lewis, the coach’s daughter, sidelined because of an injury, freshman Molly Sartin will patrol center field and be flanked by soph Raeleigh Redden (.287) in left and junior Macala Leigey in right.

Devynn Ireland (.245), another sophomore, goes behind the plate.

If Lewis opts for the designated player in the lineup, senior Taylor Luzier (.276) will get the nod.

The Lady Bison probably will have to solve the pitching of Nicole DiPietro again after the junior right-hander retired the first 11 batters she faced en route to a six-hitter in the previous meeting when her shutout was broken up in the sixth inning.

According to MaxPreps stats, DiPietro is 6-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 13 appearances.

Punxsy’s top hitters are second baseman Alyssa Reitz (.385), DiPietro (.375, 21 hits), shortstop Shaina Painter (.328, 20 hits) and third baseman Ivy Phillips (.327).

DiPietro and left fielder Shania DeFoor had two hits and two RBIs apiece while Reitz also had two hits and Constantino added two RBIs in the regular season win over the Lady Bison.

The winner will challenge defending champion St. Marys (13-4) for the title at a date, site and time to be determined.

Lady Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
3/24 @ Central 0 – 10 0 – 1
3/25 @ Central Mountain ppd. 0 – 1
3/27 @ Huntingdon 8 – 4 1 – 1
3/31 @ Central Mountain 1 – 12 1 – 2
4/01 BALD EAGLE AREA 2 – 7 1 – 3
4/04 BELLEFONTE ppd. 1 – 3
4/07 @ Tyrone ppd. 1 – 3
4/08 @ Tyrone ppd. 1 – 3
4/09 BELLEFONTE 4 – 5 1 – 4
4/10 PENNS VALLEY 7 – 6 2 – 4
4/14 BROOKVILLE ppd. 2 – 4
4/16 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA ppd. 2 – 4
4/17 CENTRAL 2 – 7 2 – 5
4/22 HUNTINGDON 1 – 7 2 – 6
4/23 @ Bradford ppd. 2 – 6
4/24 @ Bald Eagle Area 5 – 10 2 – 7
4/25 @ Bradford ppd. 2 – 7
4/28 @ Tyrone 11 – 1 3 – 7
4/29 @ Bellefonte ppd. 3 – 7
4/30 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA ppd. 3 – 7
5/01 PUNXSUTAWNEY 1 – 9 3 – 8
5/02 TYRONE 13 – 3 4 – 8
5/05 @ Penns Valley 1 – 2 4 – 9
5/06 @ Bradford 7 – 2 5 – 9
5/07 BROOKVILLE 13 – 3 6 – 9
5/08 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 11 – 0 6 – 10
5/08 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 11 – 1 6 – 11
5/12 @ Bellefonte 1 – 6 6 – 12
5/13 ALTOONA 10 – 1 7 – 12
5/15 @ Hollidaysburg cancelled 7 – 12
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5/20 @ Punxsutawney
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