PIAA Class 2A softball championship preview: Neshannock vs. South Williamsport

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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | 3:21 AM


This is the seventh season of the PIAA hosting six state softball championships and the 13th season the state has held the finals at Nittany Lion Softball Park at Penn State.

The WPIAL is sending four teams to the state softball championships in Happy Valley, including Neshannock in Class 2A.

WPIAL teams have struggled to win PIAA Class 2A championships. In this century, only two WPIAL schools have won 2A state softball crowns: Neshannock in 2012 and 2022 and Frazier in 2019.

Here is a look at the fourth PIAA softball championship game and the first game scheduled on Friday.

PIAA Class 2A softball championship

Neshannock (26-0) vs. South Williamsport (24-2)

11 a.m. Friday at Nittany Lion Softball Park at Penn State University

On the air

Pennsylvania Cable Network

District seeds

Neshannock was the top seed in the WPIAL playoffs and the District 7 champion coming into the PIAA postseason after defeating Bentworth in the WPIAL title game.

South Williamsport was the No. 1 seed out of District 4 after beating Muncy in the 2A title game to repeat as district champions.

Coaches

Jackie Lash, Neshannock; Thomas O’Malley, South Williamsport

Players to watch

Addy Frye, Neshannock, jr., P; Sage Lorson, South Williamsport, jr., RF

What coach said

“The key to a Lancers state title is having more run support to back up the strong pitching of the Addy Frye has been doing for us,” Neshannock coach Jackie Lash said. “Offensively, our goal is to string together more hits to score more runs and avoid leaving too many stranded baserunners. Defensively, we plan to focus on the fundamentals on any ball that is put in play. Ultimately, we want to play relaxed and loose and have confidence in everything we do.”

Path to Penn State

Neshannock – Defeated District 6 runner-up West Shamokin in the first round, 11-0, shut out District 10 champion Saegertown in the quarterfinals, 5-0, and then blanked rival Laurel in the state semifinals, 1-0.

South Williamsport – The District 4 champions rolled past District 3 champion Brandywine Heights in the first round, 15-3, eliminated District 1 winner Bristol in the quarterfinals, 6-4 and shut out 2023 PIAA champion Bald Eagle in the semifinals, 3-0.

Championship factoids

Neshannock

• The Lancers are an impressive 18-4 all-time in PIAA softball games.

• This is Neshannock’s fourth PIAA softball championship game appearance. The Lancers edged Warrior Run in eight innings in the 2012 2A finals, 4-3, they lost a year later to Williams Valley in the 2013 Class A title game, 11-0, and then defeated Conwell-Egan in the 2022 2A championship game, 4-1.

• This is the seventh year the Lancers have qualified for the PIAA playoffs, now reaching the finals four times and the state semifinals twice, in 2014 and 2023.

• Junior pitcher Addy Frye has been incredible in the circle once again for Neshannock. In the three state playoff wins, Frye had 14 strikeouts against West Shamokin, 14 more against Saegertown and 12 Ks in the third meeting against Laurel. Earlier in the regular season against Laurel, Frye threw a perfect game. She has allowed only one hit in each of the last two Lancers victories.

• Junior outfielder Miley Anderson has been a key on offense in the quarterfinals and semifinals for Neshannock. She was 3 for 4 in the win over Saegertown. She then scored the game’s only run in the first inning in the triumph over Laurel.

• Neshannock are undefeated in 26 games this season. The Lancers’ last loss was in the 2023 PIAA semifinals to eventual state champion Everett, 9-6.

South Williamsport

• The Mountaineers are 23-12 all-time in the PIAA playoffs.

• South Williamsport is making its fourth appearance in a state softball championship game. The Mountaineers lost to Sto-Rox in the 1989 Class 2A state finals, 2-0, lost to Carmichaels in the 1998 2A championship game, 5-2, and then crushed Chartiers-Houston in the 2003 Class A state finals, 11-0.

• The Mountaineers are 3-0 in the state playoffs this season, the 14th time they have participated in the PIAA softball postseason. This is the eighth time they have qualified this century, including in each of the last three years.

• Junior right fielder Sage Lourson is having a big PIAA postseason. She had four hits combined in the first two state playoffs wins, then smacked two home runs in the semifinals win over Bald Eagle. Her cousin Abby Lorson is the Mountaineers first baseman.

• Junior pitcher Alizabeth Schuler scattered five hits in the semifinals shutout win over Bald Eagle. During the District 4 playoffs, Schuler threw 18 consecutive scoreless innings.

• District 4 champions South Williamsport has won 16 straight games.

PIAA Class 2A history lesson

• Everett from District 5 defeated Bald Eagle from District 6 in the Class 2A finals last spring, 12-1.

Frazier knocked off Brandywine Heights from District 3 five years ago to win the 2019 PIAA Class 2A championship.

• Central Columbia from District 4 won it all in 2A 10 years ago in 2014.

• Bald Eagle from District 6 captured state gold 15 years ago in the 2009 PIAA 2A title game.

• Mifflinburg from District 4 was crowned 2A state champion 20 years ago in 2004.

Bishop Canevin shut out Kutztown from District 3 by a score of 1-0 to win the PIAA Class 2A state softball title 25 years ago in 1999.

• Central Columbia from District 4 beat Riverside 30 years ago, 10-3, to win the 1994 2A state crown.

• Kutztown from District 3 was the Class 2A state softball champion 40 years ago when it won the 1984 2A title.

• District 11 Minersville defeated District 3 Twin Valley 45 years ago, 2-0, to win the first PIAA Class 2A state softball championship in 1979.

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