Neshannock softball runs record winning streak to 47 with first-round PIAA victory

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Monday, June 5, 2023 | 11:31 PM


For having just made history, it seemed like business as usual for the Neshannock softball team after a 9-0 shutout of visiting Penns Valley on Monday in a PIAA Class 2A first-round playoff game.

That’s probably because the Lancers have been in the business of nothing but winning these last two years.

Following a 26-0 season last year, Neshannock improved to 21-0 this season for its 47th consecutive victory, passing the 2016-2018 Hempfield teams that won 46 games in a row for what is believed to be the longest winning streak in WPIAL softball history.

“Winning 47 in a row is special,” Neshannock coach Jackie Lash said. “This group and this coaching staff have worked extremely hard to get to this point. I actually forgot about the winning streak immediately after the game until coach Donny Nogay reminded the girls that they just set a record.

“We all paused for a few seconds and then Hunter Newman said, ‘Now that deserves a clap,’ and we all erupted in clapping and cheers. There might have also been just a few sighs of relief at that point. Our cheering was short-lived since we started talking about what we need to do from this point on.”

To beat perfection, you have to bring your A game, and District 6 runner-up Penns Valley got off to an A-for-awful start.

In the bottom of the first inning, Aaralyn Nogay walked and Jaidon Nogay was hit by a pitch, spelling the quick end for Rams starter Avery Dinges only two batters in.

Coach Taylor Bumgardner replaced Dinges with his daughter Taylor, who walked Addy Frye and Hunter Newman for the game’s first run. An RBI groundout by Gabby Quinn and a sac fly by Gabby Perod allowed Neshannock to score three runs in the first inning without a hit.

That would be more than enough for the Lancers sophomore sensation Frye.

She allowed seven hits but gave up no walks and struck out 12 as the Rams could not get a runner past second base the entire game.

“It was clear to me that Penns Valley was prepared to face Addy,” Lash said. “They were aggressive on almost every first pitch, and they put a bat on just about every type of pitch that I called, which forced Addy’s pitch count to be a little higher than it normally is.

“What’s great about Addy is that she remained poised and didn’t let this get to her. Addy and I have talked about trusting her defense, so (Monday) was one of those games in which that needed to happen. Her strikeouts came at key moments as she was able to end the first, second, third, fourth and seventh innings and left baserunners stranded.”

Meanwhile, Neshannock kept adding to the lead with a run in the second inning on a Jaidon Nogay RBI single and a run in the third on a two-out run-scoring double by Ali Giordano that plated courtesy runner Payton Newman.

The Lancers put the game away by batting around in the fifth inning and scoring four runs on another Perod sac fly, a passed ball, a throwing error and a run producing single by Aaralyn Nogay.

“Our goal from the start of the season has been to have all batters, one through nine, contribute to our offense,” Lash said. “Over the past few games, we are achieving this goal more often thanks to the players’ hard work and focus. Our first through sixth batters in the lineup had done most of the offensive production early in the season, but our seventh through ninth batters have been making things happen for us too throughout the playoffs.

“I recently told Jadyn Malizia, our No. 9 hitter, that her hard work has paid off at the perfect part of our season. I expect to continue to see great things from one through nine.”

Penns Valley’s season ends with a final record of 16-6.

Neshannock hopes to keep the streak and its state title hopes alive when it battles District 10 champion Sharpsville (19-3) at a site and time to be determined Thursday in the PIAA 2A quarterfinals.

“We expect a tough competition against a team that is extremely motivated,” Lash said. “We know they have good pitching and hitting. We need to refocus and give the next two practices and that game our absolute best effort.”

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