Beaver finishes undefeated season with wild title-game win over Tunkhannock
Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 7:11 PM
UNIVERSITY PARK – Perfection.
That’s what the Beaver softball team was chasing this season, and the Bobcats achieved it by winning the school’s first PIAA title Thursday afternoon.
Winning pitcher Payton List scored the winning run on a throwing error in the top of the ninth inning, and Beaver’s defense turned a double play to end the game as the Bobcats finished a perfect season by defeating Tunkhannock, 5-4, in the PIAA Class 4A championship game.
It was the first state title for the Bobcats (22-0). Tunkhannock (23-4) is 0-2 in the championship game, falling to Mt. Pleasant, 5-3, in 2017.
“Becoming the first Beaver team to win a state title means everything,” coach Amy Haggart said as she held back tears. “I thought we had it taken away from us in 2020. This year, our first step was to win the section, the next was to win the WPIAL, and the third was to win states. It’s just bittersweet that we did it as a perfect season.”
List held Tunkhannock hitless until the sixth inning. She struck out 16.
Tunkhannock strung together four hits in the seventh inning to score three runs and tie the score, 4-4. Nicole Howell’s RBI double tied the score and send the game into extra innings.
Beaver collected 12 hits off losing pitcher Kaya Hannon, who struck out eight.
Emilee Hohenshel had three hits including a double for the Bobcats. Anna Blum had two doubles and Chloe List had two hits.
“We’ve faced pitchers like her before, and I don’t know if nerves had us too excited about the hype of this game,” Haggart said. “Everyone wanted to be that player to get that key hit.”
Payton List, who hit two long foul balls, worked Hannon for a walk to begin the ninth inning. When Kayla Cornell hit a slow roller to third, List noticed no one was covering the third base bag and kept running past second. When the ball sailed past the shortstop into foul territory, List sprinted home.
“When Emilee (Hohenshel) attempted to bunt, I noticed no one was covering third,” List said. “When Kayla (Cornell) hit the roller, I stayed aggressive and headed to the unoccupied base.”
Haggart said: “We’re always watching to see how teams cover during the game. Payton is an athlete and kept running.”
In the bottom of the inning, Tunkhannock had runners on first and second with one out. List got Howell to bounce to third baseman Cornell, who stepped on the bag and threw to first baseman Hohenshel to end the game.
“We’ve worked on that play all season,” Haggart said. “It’s crazy we ended the game on it.”
Said Hohenshel: “I was so nervous. I was just hoping I caught it.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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