PIAA Class 4A softball championship preview: Elizabeth Forward vs. Blue Mountain

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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | 3:29 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 Elizabeth Forward in Class 4A.

Here is a look at the fifth PIAA softball championship game and the second game scheduled on Friday.

PIAA Class 4A softball championship

Elizabeth Forward (23-1) vs. Blue Mountain (26-1)

1:30 p.m. Friday at Nittany Lion Softball Park at Penn State

On the air

Pennsylvania Cable Network

District seeds

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

Blue Mountain was the No. 1 seed out of District 11 after beating Northwestern Lehigh in the 4A title game to repeat as district champions.

Coaches

Harry Rutherford, Elizabeth Forward; Mike Rollman, Blue Mountain

Players to watch

Shelby Telegdy, Elizabeth Forward, sr., P; Marla Freiwald, Blue Mountain, sr., P, LF/1B

What Coach said

“I think the key to the team’s success has been their confidence in themselves,” Elizabeth Forward coach Harry Rutherford said. “They believe in each other and they work together as a unit, not as individuals.”

Path to Penn State

Elizabeth Forward – Defeated the No. 3 team out of District 3 Big Spring in eight innings in the first round, 1-0, they cruised past Chartiers Valley in the quarterfinals, 11-1, and then blanked the No. 3 team out of District 12 Archbishop Wood in the state semifinals, 8-0.

Blue Mountain – The District 11 champions shut out District 12 runner-up Archbishop Carroll in the first round, 5-0, eliminated District 1 winner Pope John Paul II in the quarterfinals, 13-3, and defeated Northwestern Lehigh in a District 11 title game rematch in the state semifinals, 5-3.

Championship factoids

Elizabeth Forward

• The Warriors are 10-10 all-time in PIAA softball games.

• This is Elizabeth Forward’s second PIAA softball championship game appearance. The Warriors lost to West Perry in the 2019 4A finals, 3-2.

• This is the 11th year the Warriors have qualified for the PIAA playoffs. EF has played in the state softball postseason in each of the last five seasons, plus they also made it in 1983, 1984, 2002, 2007 and 2012, going a combined 1-5 in those years.

• Senior pitcher Shelby Telegdy has been lethal with her bat and her pitching arm as she concludes an impressive scholastic career. She has allowed only one run in the state playoffs, while striking out 27 in three games. She also picked up career strikeout No. 500 in the semifinals. At the plate, she has had six hits in her last two games and drove in six runs in the quarterfinals victory over Chartiers Valley.

• Junior Julia Johnson has also been a big part of the Warriors’ success in the state playoffs. She hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in the first-round win over Big Spring, 1-0, and then she led the team with three hits in the semifinal triumph over Archbishop Wood.

• Elizabeth Forward has won 14 games in a row since its only loss of the season against Hempfield on April 22.

Blue Mountain

• Senior pitcher Marla Freiwald has been crushing it at the plate and in the circle for the Eagles this spring. The St. Joseph recruit is 16-1 this season with a 0.90 ERA with 25 walks and 165 strikeouts in 109⅓ innings pitched. Offensively, Freiwald is batting .591 with eight home runs and a jaw-dropping 45 RBIs. She has hit three home runs in each of the Eagles’ last two wins. In the quarterfinals, she had two blasts and drove in five runs, and then in the semifinals, she opened the scoring with a two-run shot in a two run win over Northwestern Lehigh.

• Besides Freiwald, the Eagles have five regulars batting over .400. Senior Olivia Labe is batting .526, sophomore Avery Hudock (.462), freshman Addyson Fishburn (.453), Madison Heim (.452) and senior Mylei Hablett (.404).

• District 11 champions Blue Mountain are the defending PIAA 4A champions and have won 21 straight games since their only loss of the season to Pine Grove on April 8.

PIAA Class 4A history lesson

• Blue Mountain defeated Montour in the 2023 Class 4A state finals, 3-2.

• West Perry from District 3 knocked off Elizabeth Forward five years ago to win the 2019 PIAA Class 4A championship, 3-2.

• Souderton from District 1 won it all 10 years ago in the 2014 4A finals.

• Parkland from District 11 captured state gold 15 years ago by beating Shaler in the 2009 PIAA 4A title game, 5-1.

• Pennsbury from District 1 captured the first PIAA Class 4A state softball championship in 2005 by crushing Shaler in six innings, 10-0.

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