Armstrong shut down by undefeated Pittston in Class 5A softball final

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Thursday, June 16, 2022 | 7:50 PM


UNIVERSITY PARK – Armstrong’s potent offense met its match Thursday in the PIAA Class 5A softball championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field.

Sophomore Gianna Adams spun a two-hit shutout, striking out 10 and walking three in leading Pittston to a 4-0 victory to cap a perfect 25-0 season.

It was the second consecutive season that Armstrong, the WPIAL champion, reached the state final, and first time in 38 games it was held without a run.

“I tip my cap to her. We just weren’t getting anything going against her,” Armstrong coach Doug Flounders said. “She hit her spots and kept us off balance. We missed a couple scoring opportunities, and we booted the ball a few times.”

Pittston took advantage of two Armstrong errors in the first inning to grab a 1-0 lead. It added another run in the third inning on Ava Callahan’s single.

“We watched a ton of film on Armstrong,” Pittston coach Frank Parente said. “We knew what they had, and Gianna did a great job. These girls wanted this perfect season and they got it.”

Pittston banged out 12 hits, all singles off Armstrong starter Cameryn Sprankle, who kept Pittston off balance with off-speed pitches.

”We were trying to throw off the plate a little bit,” Armstrong catcher Bella Atherton said. “We were throwing a bunch of junk, trying to keep them on their toes. I felt we did pretty well with that. A couple errors in the field cost us a couple runs. It was a hard game.”

Pittston tacked on its final two runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Bella Grandina.

Now Flounders hopes his players take something from a second consecutive state final appearance into next season.

Sprankle said she hopes so, but there are holes to fill.

“We’ll be a different team,” Sprankle said. “We’re losing two key seniors (Mackenzie Epley and Nichole Benvenuto). We have good underclassmen coming up, but it won’t be easy.”

Armstrong, which averaged more than 10 runs a game, had a leadoff batter on base twice against Adams, who has more than 300 strikeouts. But they failed to advance them.

Now they can hope a third time is the charm in 2023.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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