Avonworth softball makes adjustment, rallies to win school’s 1st state title

Thursday, June 16, 2022 | 6:48 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK – Avonworth found itself in a two-run hole heading to the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday in the PIAA Class 3A Championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field.

But a small adjustment by the Avonworth batters at the plate helped the Antelopes rally for a 7-2 victory against Lewisburg, the District 4 champion.

It was Avonworth’s first state title in any sport in the school’s history.

Avonworth was held hitless through the first three innings, but in the fourth inning, the batters moved away from the plate and started finding grass.

Right fielder Leah Kuban got things going against Lewisburg ace Kimmy Shannon. She doubled off the center field fence and later scored on a single by Cat Barie to cut the lead to 2-1. Later in the inning, a single by Emma Obersteiner tied the score 2-2.

“I knew if we were going to get in the scoreboard, we had to make an adjustment at the plate,” Avonworth coach Jenna Muncie said. “So we moved back off the plate. Their pitcher was jamming us with a curveball. Once we did that, we started hitting her.”

Avonworth took control of the game by scoring four runs in the fifth inning. Meghan Fissore drove in Sydney Savatt. Kuban walked to load the bases and Shannon was replaced by Alexis Walter.

She was greeted by a bases-clearing double by Rylee Gray to make it 6-2.

“I wasn’t worried.” Muncie said. “I had extreme confidence with no outs that Rylee would come through. She’s amazing.”

The Antelopes tacked on another run in the sixth inning on a double by pitcher Alivia Lantzy and a single by Fissore.

“I was not worried,” Lantzy said. “We seem to get stronger throughout the game and get more hits. We always finish well.”

Gray added: “We have to get used to a pitcher. We knew she was tough and she spun it really well. Leah got the momentum going.”

Lewisburg (19-4) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Sydney Bolinsky and extended its lead to 2-0 when Walter homered off the scoreboard behind the left field fence.

After Avonworth took a 6-2 lead, Lantzy worked out of bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning when she got Gracie Murphy to ground out to end the threat.

Lantzy allowed three hits while striking out nine and walking three.

Kuban, Gray and Lantzy had doubles for the Antelopes and Fissore had two hits and two RBIs.

“This is awesome being the first team to win a state title,” Gray said. “The school has a lot of runner-up trophies but no first places. It’s incredible to be the first champion.”

And with only four seniors on the roster, Avonworth hopes to be back again next season.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.


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