Riverside Perfect No More After PIAA AA Title Game Loss To Brandywine Heights
Friday, June 14, 2013 | 12:39 PM
One run was all it took to claim a state championship. The Brandywine Heights Bullets got that run and won their first PIAA Class AA softball title 1-0 over the Riverside Panthers at Beard Field on Friday morning. Senior Megan Olson pitched a dandy, keeping the Panthers hitters off balance all day. The loss spoils the undefeated season for Riverside, who had won 22 straight games and had only allowed seven runs all season.
The Bullets got their run in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs Amanda Hess singled to right field to break up a Kirsten Wilson no hitter. The key play came on the next batter. Dayna Jalowy hit a grounder on the right side of the infield that kicked off the glove of Natalie Pritts and went into shallow center field. That allowed Hess to go to third base. Jessica Musser delivered with a line painting single to right field, the ball landing square in the middle of the foul line to bring home Hess with the only run of the game and the first run allowed by Wilson in the state playoffs.
Riverside had two runners on base to lead off the game but could not score. The best opportunity came in the third when Logan Snyder tripled to deep right field. But Brooke Barker grounded to first and Wilson grounded out to second on a 3-0 pitch to end the inning and Riverside’s threat. The Panthers had a runner at third again with one out in the fourth, Natalie Pritts singled to center to lead off the inning, a sacrifice and a passed ball moved her to third but Morgan McElwain could not get a bunt down and struck out. Coach Pam McCarty said she has the squeeze play on but just could not execute.
Riverside had not played from behind all season and only had one base runner in the final three innings. McCarty gave all the credit to Olson, who forced the Panthers hitters into a number of ground balls. The Panthers have now made four trips to the state championship but have came up empty each time. McCarty said she was so proud of her team, that winning a WPIAL title and being undefeated going into the state title game was a tremendous accomplishment.
Wilson took the loss, she added 13 more strikeouts to her season total, giving her 269 for the season. Snyder and Pritts accounted for all of the Panthers four hits. Both Wilson and catcher Nicole Mansfield graduate, McCarty said she got emotional when giving both their medals, knowing that it was the last time they would play for Riverside.
For the Bullets, the monkey is finally off their backs, the District 3 champions had made the trip to the state title game in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Coach Don Roach said if you do something enough times, you’ll finally get it right. Brandywine Heights got two hits from Sam Sweigart and Hess, the Bullets had five on the day. Brandywine Heights finishes 27-2 with 13 shutouts for Olson on the season.
RIVERSIDE PANTHERS 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 0 – 4 – 1
BRANDYWINE HEIGHTS BULLETS 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 0 – X = 1 – 5 – 0
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