CURWENSVILLE – The Curwensville Area High School softball team will enter the District IX, Class AA Championships on Thursday as a team looking in from the outside. The Lady Tide enters the AA playoffs having played just one of the other four teams bracketed, and that lack of familiarity may help or hurt in their first appearance.
Curwensville, as the number three seed, will travel to meet number two, Moniteau, on Thursday. Fourth-seeded Karns City will host number five Cranberry on Tuesday in a lone quarterfinal contest. The winner of that game will then travel to meet top-seeded Redbank Valley on Thursday in the second semifinal match-up. Following the semifinals, a site and time for the championship game will be decided.
“We haven’t seen much from the teams in the AA brackets, and it’s not easy to get a lot of information about them,” said Tide head coach Allen Leigey. “We did play a game with the top seed, but it wasn’t our best effort. It’s not fun going into the playoffs not knowing much about them, but they probably don’t have that much information about us either.”
The Warriors of Moniteau are coming into district play with a record of 15-4 on the season. Two of the losses were dealt out by Redbank Valley (7-0, 9-5) and they lost their final game of the regular season to Karns City (13-12). However, they had also beaten Karns City earlier in the year 4-3 and handled Cranberry 17-3.
The only common opponent that the Lady Tide has played this season was Redbank Valley. Curwensville fell to the Bulldogs by a 4-2 mark on the road on May 3. Also, both teams will be coming into the game having lost their last game as the Tide slipped to Brockway 3-1 on Saturday.
In the circle, the Warriors depend on sophomore pitcher Taylor Hasychak, who has been the pitcher of record in all but one game. Sophomore Nicole Auvil also has notched a win on the season. Hasychak has struck out 71 batters in 2013 while walking 37 and giving up 132 hits in 105 innings of work.
“From what we have been able to surmise to this point, she doesn’t seem to be an overpowering pitcher,” Leigey noted. “It’s hard to know for sure without seeing them play, but competition has a lot to do with the outcome. Our schedule just seems like it is tougher and facing teams like ECC and Brockway should have us more than prepared for the game.”
Junior Tierra Shope’s numbers in the circle have tallied 110 strikeouts and 51 walks as she holds the team’s 15-5 slate for the year. Shope has allowed 86 hits in her 115 innings of work.
As a team, Moniteau has posted a .406 batting average. Leading the team at the plate is senior Chloe Eshenbaugh, who stands at the .536 mark with six extra-base hits. Other sticks to watch include fellow seniors Nicole Buterbaugh (.457), Kelsey Anderson (.450), Sydney Boben (.375) and Emily Hiwiller (.370). Hiwiller also leads the team with five home runs as well as going down on strikes 10 times.
Underclassmen with good stats include freshman Alyssa Dailey who is hitting at a .434 pace while junior Kayla Campbell holds a .429 mark and Hasychak is at .312. Perhaps one aspect that the Tide should note is the fact that nine different Warrior batters have laid down sacrifice bunts this season.
The Lady Tide offense is fueled by seniors as well. Taylor Goodman is hitting at a .522 pace with two homers, two triples and five doubles. Tiffany Carter has four round-tripers on the season and an average of .500 with a triple and five doubles as well. Abby Johnson (.475), Cheyenne Pentz (.426) and Sarah Wriglesworth (.373) make up the remander of the first five spots in the order. Junior Abby Dugo has swung a .463 bat on the season while sophomore Alaina Stiles is hitting .293.
“I think if we can come into the game focused on winning, we can do well, added Leigey. “It’s one and done time, and we have to be ready to do whatever it takes to get through Moniteau. We have to take charge early and play a complete game.”
Curwensville and Moniteau will take the field at 4:30 on Thursday for their semifinal match-up.
The District IX bracket that Curwensville left behind this season due to numbers of students shows Smethport (18-1) at the top of the class with a bye. Also receiving byes in the first round are number two Clarion, Otto-Eldred (3), Elk County Catholic (4) and Brockway (5). Monday’s first round contests include number six seeded Keystone hosting Ridgway (11), Clarion-Limestone (10) at Coudersport (7), and Port Allegany (8) hosting Kane (9).
The quarterfinals are scheduled for Wednesday with Smethport awaiting the Port A./Kane winner. ECC and Brockway will clash while Clarion waits for an opponent from the Coudy/Clarion-Limestone game, and Otto meets the winner of Keystone/Ridgway. The semifinals are scheduled for May 28 with the championship game on May 30 with times and sites to be announced.
Punxsutawney and St. Marys are the only entries in the Class AAA Championship. That game has not been given a date or site at this time.
Lady Tide Scoreboard:
|3/25||JOHNSONBURG||ppd.||0 – 0|
|3/27||@ DuBois Central||ppd.||0 – 0|
|4/03||SHEFFIELD (Doubleheader)||ppd.||0 – 0|
|4/04||SHEFFIELD (Doubleheader)||10 – 0||1 – 0|
|4/04||SHEFFIELD (Doubleheader)||17 – 0||2 – 0|
|4/05||WEST BRANCH||4 – 3||3 – 0|
|4/08||KANE||11 – 12||3 – 1|
|4/10||ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC||ppd.||3 – 1|
|4/12||MOSHANNON VALLEY||ppd.||3 – 1|
|4/15||JOHNSONBURG||14 – 0||4 – 1|
|4/16||@ Brockway||3 – 1||5 – 1|
|4/18||@ Ridgway||5 – 0||6 – 1|
|4/20||@ DuBois Central||13 – 0||7 – 1|
|4/22||@ Johnsonburg||12 – 1||8 – 1|
|4/23||ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC||0 – 5||8 – 2|
|4/24||DUBOIS CENTRAL||ppd.||8 – 2|
|4/25||DUBOIS CENTRAL||11 – 1||9 – 2|
|4/26||@ Punxsutawney||2 – 8||9 – 3|
|4/29||@ Glendale||19 – 0||10 – 3|
|5/02||@ Kane||11 – 0||11 – 3|
|5/03||@ Redbank Valley||2 – 4||11 – 4|
|5/06||@ Elk County Catholic||5 – 3||12 – 4|
|5/08||BROCKWAY||ppd.||12 – 4|
|5/13||@ Harmony||16 – 1||13 – 4|
|5/14||RIDGWAY||10 – 0||14 – 4|
|5/15||MOSHANNON VALLEY||ppd.||14 – 4|
|5/17||MOSHANNON VALLEY||11 – 2||15 – 4|
|5/18||BROCKWAY||1 – 3||15 – 5|
|District 9 AA Playoffs|