Beaver’s Payton List crosses off Burrell in state quarterfinals with 20-K shutout

Thursday, June 9, 2022 | 8:27 PM

Beaver coach Amy Haggart often says standout pitcher Payton List gets better each game.

It’s hard to disagree.

The senior right-hander struck out a career-high 20 batters and gave up just one hit as the Bobcats (21-0) won their 42nd consecutive game with a 3-0 victory over Burrell.

The PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal victory at Mars Centennial Field puts the defending state champs in the semifinals Monday against District 9 champ Clearfield at a site and time to be determined.

List bested Burrell standout Katie Armstrong, who struck out 15 and yielded only five hits. The bottom five of the Beaver batting order went 0 for 14 against the Bucs junior.

“I said this all last year and I’m saying it this year, she just gets better every game we play,” Haggart said. “She stays focused, and that’s her.”

List scored all three Bobcats runs. She walked in the first and scored on Hanna Crowe’s sharp single off Armstrong’s glove. List homered in the third, her 11th of the season, and was intentionally walked in the fifth, scoring on a wild pitch.

It was billed as an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, the type common before the pitching distance was moved from 40 to 43 feet in 2011.

“We knew it going in it was going to be a pitchers’ duel, and they didn’t disappoint,” said Burrell coach Rick Nealer. “Katie’s a battler, too. She’s a good pitcher, but hats off to them. Too bad we couldn’t get the offense going. It’s hard to do with (List). She’s awesome.”

List, a Virginia Tech recruit, saw early that the home plate umpire was giving a generous part of the outside corner to the pitchers.

“He umped our games during the regular season, and I know his strike zone,” List said. “I was definitely pushing the outside because nobody likes the outside, so I kept trying to work outer and outer and outer.”

List did walk five batters, testing the outside pitches as much as she could. Alanna Miller had the only Burrell hit, a bunt between the pitcher and the charging first baseman. Miller was easily safe when first base was uncovered.

About the only thing that went wrong for the Bobcats was List leaving first base early in the seventh. She was ruled automatically out, ending the inning.

Burrell catcher Bella Stewart was injured diving toward home plate in an attempt to get List scoring on a wild pitch. Stewart was shaken up but played the remainder of the game.

Stewart’s grounder to short in the sixth was the only out that wasn’t a strikeout.

Beaver is now two steps away from becoming the first WPIAL softball school to win back-to-back state championships with undefeated records.

“The whole year we’ve been talking one game at a time,” Haggart said. “After the WPIAL championship, I told them a brand new season’s starting. Don’t look too much to the future. Focus on the present.”

“I definitely go one game at a time,” List said. “I even go smaller than that. I go pitch by pitch. I try to study the batters before the game. My coach is great getting film on the other team.”

Burrell finished the season at 14-3, making the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season.

A 17th straight postseason is a distinct possibility since only one starter — shortstop Caroline Dynka — graduates.

“We had four freshmen starters who did a great job for us,” Nealer said. “We got a lot of mileage out of only 10 kids. Next year, we have four or five eighth graders rolling up, so we’ll have some depth.”

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