SLIPPERY ROCK—-How sweet it is! With a one hitter by Holly Lansberry; home runs by Shannon McDonald and Dana Johnson; and some clutch hitting by Ashley Demchak, the Curwensville Lady Tide advanced to their first ever trip to the PIAA class A championship game. The Lady Tide now have a 24-2 season record with the 4-0 win over Cambridge Springs and will face Upper Dauphin at 2 pm Friday on Robb Field on the campus of Shippensburg University. Upper Dauphin defeated Williams Valley 1-0 in nine innings Monday to advance to the finals against the Lady Tide. Cambridge Springs ends their season with a 23-3 mark.
Afterwards, an ecstatic Curwensville head coach Allen Leigey said, “I am somewhat numb about this whole thing, but I can tell you I was very comfortable and confident from the start of this game.” Leigey, who knows all he can about his opponents, also mentioned, “Our scouting report really was a tremendous help. We knew just what to expect most of the time from them and it worked out so well for us.”
This time Cambridge Springs, District 10 champs, was the recipient of a Lansberry pitching gem. The Lady Tide sophomore threw her second shutout in three PIAA playoff games to run her record to 22-2 on the year. The Lady Devils only had three base runners all day. One on an infield hit by Lady Devil pitcher Stephanie Baer in the fourth; one on a hit batter and one on an error. Only one of those runners reached as far as second base.
The Lady Tide didn’t get anyone on base until they got their first hit with two outs in the bottom of the third by center fielder Tess Bloom, who was left at first when Lansberry flew out to end the inning. It was the fourth, fifth and sixth innings when the Tide did all of their damage, much to the delight of the many fans from Curwensville who made their way to Slippery Rock University for the Monday afternoon game.
With one out in the fourth inning, Lady Tide catcher Dana Johnson doubled to left center on a 1-2 pitch from Baer. Next it was third baseman Ashley Demchak’s turn as she jumped on the first pitch and poked it right back through the middle scoring Johnson with the games first run. So after four innings the Tide were up 1-0.
Samantha Haney led off the fifth for the District 9 Champion Lady Tide with a single to left. Ronna Knepp then put down a sacrifice bunt moving Haney to second. Up came the pesky freshman Bloom who slapped one toward first base were Lady Devil first baseman Margo Livermore first mishandled the grounder going to her right, then threw wide of the bag allowing Haney to score as the ball trickled down the right field line. Bloom smartly advanced the whole way to third on the play.
In Curwensville’s last appearance at the plate in the bottom of the sixth, power became the primary weapon. Johnson led off for the Lady Tide and promptly drove the first pitch of the inning over the center field fence giving the Tide a 3-0 lead. Not to be out done, McDonald, with one out, also jumped on the first pitch from Baer and cranked it over the centerfield fence. After six, Tide 4 and the Lady Devils 0.
A Lady Tide victory would never be complete without some great “leather’ being on display. Cambridge Springs shortstop Kristen Humes led off the seventh and hit one over shortstop Dani Struble who made a diving backwards catch for out number one. Centerfielder Bloom then made a forward diving catch on a soft liner hit by Livermore for out number two. Lansberry quickly struck out the last Lady Devil and it was over. The Tide are on their way to the PIAA Championship game.
On the emotions of his team Leigey stated, “They are just thrilled to death, like the coaches and I, to be representing Curwensville in a PIAA championship game. They all have chipped in by making plays offensively and defensively all the time . Each and every one on this squad knows they are responsible for getting us here.”
CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS 0 Elizabeth Dine c 3000, Stephanie Baer p 3010, Kristen Humes ss 3000, Margo Livermore 1b 3000, Anne Wilson cf 3000, Nicole Becker 2b 2000, Ashley Petrick dp 1000, Grace Flood pr 0000, Tiffany Patterson rf 2000, Jess Schaefer lf 2000, Carly Palmero flex-3b.
CURWENSVILLE 4 Holly Lansberry p 3000, Dani Struble ss 3000, Dana Johnson c 3221, Ashley Demchak 3b 3011, Morgan Peterman pr 0000, Shannon McDonald rf 3111, Kristi Newpher 2b 3000, Samantha Haney lf 3110, Ronna Knepp 1b 1000, Tess Bloom cf 2010.
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS 000 000 0 0 1 1
CURWENSVILLE 000 112 X 4 6 1
ERRORS-Demchak; Livermore. LOB-Curwensville – 3; Cambridge Springs -1.
2B-Johnson. HR-Johnson, McDonald. SB-Wilson. SAC-Knepp.
HBP-Patrick ( by Lansberry).
CURWENSVILLE Lansberry 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1HB, 5 K.
CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS Baer 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
WP-Lansberry (22-2) LP-Baer (23-3