Southmoreland softball team eliminated from PIAA playoffs by Bald Eagle Area

Monday, June 6, 2022 | 7:22 PM

MILESBURG — Southmoreland was hoping its two hour-plus bus ride into the heart of District 6 wouldn’t be its only road trip in the PIAA playoffs.

With the PIAA softball championships at Penn State, the Scotties were planning a few rides on Route 22 and Interstate 99 to State College

But Bald Eagle Area spoiled those plans.

The Eagles, a mere 15 miles from Penn State’s Beard Field, are planning to end their season there. If they continue to play like they did Monday, there is a chance they can get there.

The District 6 champions pounded out 10 hits, played solid defense and got a brilliant pitching performance from freshman Sierra Albright to defeat Southmoreland, 4-1, at Milesburg Little League Complex.

Bald Eagle Area (17-4) will face Deer Lakes, which defeated Corry, 5-1, on Thursday at a site and time to be determined. Southmoreland (14-5) will look forward to next season after graduating only three seniors: pitcher Maddy Cyphert, third baseman Tyson Martin and right fielder Elle Pawlikowsky.

“We won because we did all three phases well to win the game,” Bald Eagle Area coach Don Lucas said. “We got timely hitting, played good defense and got great pitching from Sierra. I don’t know how many strikeouts she had (11). But she was sharp.”

And while Lucas claimed he didn’t know much about Southmoreland, he knew enough to intentionally walk Amarah McCutcheon and Brynn Charnesky in the first inning.

“We couldn’t let those two beat us,” Lucas said. “We forced other players to beat us.”

Albright allowed only three hits, including a double and single by Gabrielle Grabiak. Other than the two intentional walks, the only other Southmoreland batters to reach were Bea Pawlikowsky (single) and Makayla Etling (error).

“She was a good pitcher, and when you face a good pitcher like that, you have to take advantage of your opportunities,” Southmoreland coach Todd Bunner said. “We left a few on base, and we had a few strikeouts when I thought we’d put the ball in play.

“You probably can’t beat a team like that with three hits unless you hold them to one run also.”

Bald Eagle grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Kailey Eckert singled and scored on a double by Ava Stere.

The Eagles took a 3-0 lead in the second inning and chased Southmoreland starter Cyphert. Shae Housel, who doubled, scored on a single by Eckert, and Stere singled home Eckert.

Southmoreland broke through against Albright in the fourth inning when Bea Pawlikowsky singled and scored on Grabiak’s double.

But Bald Eagle answered with an RBI double by Stere, her third RBI in the game, in the bottom of the fourth.

“The season was successful,” Bunner said. “Third place in the WPIAL, made it to the state playoffs and got a lot of experience for the younger girls. We’re heavy on the bottom with freshmen and sophomores. I had three seniors and one junior. Everyone else is young.

“We’re just going to reload. We have some eighth graders coming up, and we’ll try to be successful again next year.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at


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