Avonworth wins section with shutout of Freeport

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 | 9:43 PM

The Avonworth softball team came into Wednesday’s Section 1-3A matchup against Freeport at Freeport Community Park in control of its own destiny to claim another outright section championship.

A win over the Yellowjackets was all that was needed.

And the Antelopes got what they were looking for.

Led by the pitching of senior Alivia Lantzy with 16 strikeouts and three hits surrendered, Avonworth scored a 7-0 victory to improve to 10-3 overall and 8-1 in the section.

“Alivia was outstanding today,” Antelopes coach Jenna Muncie said. “It was a good game for us overall. We’re in our stride right now. We started in a light jog, but we have really picked it up at the right time. We’re off and running and are in a good place. I’m really proud of the offense and the way we generated runs against a pretty good pitcher. It was just a good all-around day for us.”

The Antelopes, who ran their win streak to eight games, close section play Thursday against Valley.

The Yellowjackets came in winners of three straight but fell to 8-6 overall and 5-4 in the section. Freeport finishes its section slate Tuesday at Shady Side Academy.

It will take on rival Highlands in a nonsection game Thursday at 4:15 p.m. and will cap the regular season next Wednesday at Derry.

Avonworth and Freeport will find out their playoff fates when the WPIAL softball committee releases the tournament brackets next Thursday.

“I told the girls after the game that we put a number of games together where we accomplished our goal of getting better,” Freeport coach Ron DeJidas said.

“At some point, you are going to hit that stumbling block. Today was that stumbling block. We had some mistakes we hadn’t had much of before. We didn’t play our best game. I told them that I would much rather a game like this be now and not in a week or two. We have three games left (in the regular season) to focus on, starting with Highlands. We have a chance to get back on track quickly. Our goal is to keep working on getting a little bit better each time.”

The Avonworth bats staked Lantzy to a 2-0 lead after one inning.

Sydney Savatt led off with a walk, and with one out, Lantzy drew a free pass off of Sydney Selker to put two runners on.

A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third, and Savatt scored when Selker threw to first on a bunt from Emma Obersteiner.

Layne Shinsky followed with an RBI double.

Selker settled down and retired the next five in a row before Rylee Gray drew a walk with one out in the third.

But Selker struck out Lantzy and Obersteiner to finish the inning with no damage done.

Freeport’s first base hit off Lantzy came with one out in the third on a single from No. 8 hitter Jayme Radvan.

Abby DeJidas then delivered a two-out single to left to put two runners on. But Lantzy caught Selker looking for strike three to end the rally.

DeJidas reached on an error to lead off the Yellowjackets’ bottom of the first, but she was caught stealing. Lantzy then retired the next six with five strikeouts.

Avonworth extended its lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth as Shinsky singled to open the frame, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and raced home when a pitch deflected up in the air off the glove of catcher Reese Selker.

The Antelopes added a run in the fifth as Savatt doubled with one out and later scored on a Gray grounder to short.

They made it 5-0 in the sixth with some small ball.

Abigail Brooks led off with a walk, moved to second and third on a pair of groundouts and scored on an infield single to short from Mara Stetser.

Avonworth capped the scoring in the top of the seventh on an RBI groundout from Obersteiner and an RBI single from Jayla Jones.

The Antelopes finished with seven hits off of Selker, who also ended the game with seven walks and seven strikeouts.

“I thought she pitched well,” Coach DeJidas said. “She kept us in the game. We made some mistakes in the field, and they put some hits together with those mistakes. They are a really good team with a lot of experience at winning big games.”

DeJidas led Freeport with two hits, both singles.

Shinsky finished 3 for 3 to front the Avonworth offense.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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