Cards claim WV softball tournament
Published: April 11, 2013
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TOWER CITY - Williams Valley brought the fences in this season to 200 feet from home plate, all around at its home park.
The Vikings could have pushed the fences back to nearly 300 feet, and Courtney Brown's titanic blast still probably would have left the yard.
Brown's three-run home run capped a four-run first inning that powered Pine Grove to a 5-1 win over the Vikes on April 6 in the championship game of the Williams Valley Softball Tournament.
Upper Dauphin knocked off Hamburg 8-3 in the consolation game.
Pine Grove (5-0) cranked up the pressure on Williams Valley immediately as Jeena Sidleck and Samantha Bertasavage led off the top of the first with back-to-back bunt singles.
One out later, winning pitcher Ethel Santai blooped an RBI double just inside the right-field line for a 1-0 lead.
The left-handed Brown worked the count to 2-1 and then launched a soaring shot that was still rising as it cleared the fence. The ball continued beyond last year's much deeper fence line, finally getting deflected at least 50 feet off the ground by tree branches still farther from home plate.
"It felt pretty good. I just saw it go,'' Brown said. "... Last year we struggled a little bit with our hitting, but this year we're focusing more on putting the ball in play and not killing it all the time.''
Pine Grove finished with 14 hits, as Brittanie Whitman and Bertasavage both went 3-for-4. Amanda Kemmerling, Santai and Brown added two hits apiece.
Including the Cardinals' 12-1 win over Hamburg in the first round, they finished the day with 25 hits.
Against the Hawks, Sidleck led off the top of the first inning with a triple. Later in the inning, Brown scorched a two-run double to the gap in left-center for a 3-0 lead.
"I think the tone was set when Jeena got the first hit of the first game,'' Pine Grove coach Alan Felty said. "They said, 'Hey, we can do this. We can hit the ball.'
"It set the tone and everybody went from there,'' he added. "As a result, I think it carried over to this game. Up and down the lineup it was good.''
Williams Valley (5-1), coming off a big Division II victory over Minersville on April 4, struggled all day. The Vikings, who held off Upper Dauphin 8-6 to reach the final, made seven total errors in their two games.
Lacey Bixler was the only one to solve Santai in the championship game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
Though Santai struggled with her control - she walked the bases loaded in the first inning - the senior right-hander still finished with 14 strikeouts. Williams Valley went down looking six times.
"I just thought we were flat from the beginning,'' Williams Valley coach Lee Reiser said. "... We just didn't have a spark. In all the years I've been associated, usually we're excited about playing. I was disappointed in what I saw.''
Williams Valley softball presented two oversized checks as donations. One, for $500, went to the National MS foundation. Sheila Schwak, of Williamstown, accepted the check on behalf of the foundation, along with her family, husband, Bob; and children Hannah and Collin Schwak. The girls also presented a donation of $250 to the Samantha Lengel Memorial Fund. Lengel, who would have been a junior on the Pine Grove softball team, passed away over the winter. ... A propane leak at the high school turned away fans arriving for the 11 a.m. opener. After emergency officials deemed the area safe again, the Williams Valley-Upper Dauphin game started about 45 minutes late. The rest of the tournament ran smoothly without incident.
U. Dauphin 8
WILLIAMSTOWN - Winning pitcher Amber Bingaman struck out 17 and hit a solo home run to lead the Trojans to victory at Stoney Park.
Chasity Campbell knocked in three runs for Upper Dauphin, while Taylor Brown, Kate Boyer and Autumn Walker added two hits and one RBI apiece.
Brianna Richards went 2-for-3 with an RBI for Hamburg.
Pine Grove 12
WILLIAMSTOWN - Courtney Brown went 3-for-3 with three doubles, two runs scored and five RBIs as the Cardinals cruised in their tournament opener at Stoney Park.
Amanda Kemmerling also had a big game, going 3-for-3 with a double, three runs scored and two RBIs for Pine Grove.
Winning pitcher Ethel Santai tossed a three-hitter and struck out 10.
Wms. Valley 8
U. Dauphin 6
TOWER CITY - Winning pitcher Kylie Doyle helped herself by going 3-for-4 with a solo home run and three RBIs as the Vikings edged the Trojans. Doyle pitched a complete game and allowed just two earned runs.
Leadoff batter Hannah Nestor added two hits, two walks and two runs scored for the Vikings.
Amber Bingaman led Upper Dauphin at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and one RBI.