Alivia Lantzy hits 600K milestone, helps Avonworth bounce Yough from playoffs

Thursday, May 16, 2024 | 9:51 PM

Almost every time Avonworth pitcher Alivia Lantzy received the ball from catcher Rylee Gray, she bounced it three or four times before returning to the circle.

It’s a routine she only does on turf, and the explanation is simple.

“It’s fun,” Lantzy said.

What else is fun for her is striking out hitters, and she reached a milestone to help the two-time defending champion Antelopes fend off a good challenge from Yough.

Lantzy struck out 10 while pitching a one-hitter and surpassed 600 strikeouts for her career in a 4-0 win over the ninth-seeded Cougars in the WPIAL Class 3A softball quarterfinals Thursday evening at Plum.

The Antelopes (14-3) will face Mohawk in the semifinals at a site and date to be announced. They also clinched a spot in the state playoffs

Yough finished 9-5.

Lantzy, a senior and UNC Pembroke recruit, now has 602 strikeouts for her career. She was unaware of her total going into the day and that was by design.

“She doesn’t really look at the numbers,” Avonworth coach Jenna Muncie said. “When I said to her she was getting close, she told me not to tell her about it. We knew it was going to be close today, and she did an outstanding job.”

Avonworth got out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks in part to consecutive doubles by Sydney Savatt and Gray. Emma Obersteiner brought in Gray on a fielder’s choice.

That score held through five innings, which is when Yough mounted its biggest threat of the day. Makayla Spoonhoward led off with a walk, and Maddie Horvat followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no one out.

Lantzy countered with a strikeout and a pop up to get two outs, then walked Kaylin Ritenour to load the bases but induced another pop out to second base for the final out.

“I like pressure,” Lantzy said. “When there’s runners on, it’s fun. I just try my best not to let them score.”

In the bottom half of the fifth, Jayla Jones cranked a line drive over the center-field fence for a two-run homer that made it 4-0.

“We had our chances, but we didn’t capitalize when we needed to,” Yough coach Dutch Harvey said. “It was a good game. We gave them all we had.”

Savatt, a Rider recruit, went 3 for 4 with three doubles.

Yough freshman pitcher Kylee Fisher had a solid outing striking out three over six innings, holding an Antelopes offense that’s scored 10 or more runs seven times to four runs.

“The future is bright for us,” Harvey said. We bring a lot of players back, and we played the two-time defending state champions and took them to the wire. That’s all we can ask for. I wish it would’ve gone our way, because I truly believe if you can beat (Avonworth) you have a good shot of winning it all. They’re definitely a good team.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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