Spring-Ford quiets Seneca Valley bats in PIAA Class 6A title game

Friday, June 17, 2022 | 7:43 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK — Jules Scogna said she was having some back issues coming into Friday’s Class 6A state softball final at Penn State.

The Spring-Ford senior pitcher showed no ill effects in the circle, and she seemed just fine lifting the trophy.

Scogna, a Boston University commit, tossed a two-hit shutout — without the benefit of a strikeout — as the Rams won their first PIAA title with a 5-0 victory over Seneca Valley at Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park.

A sound defense was the catalyst for the Rams (24-2) as it collected just about everything the Raiders (16-7) hit, recording 12 flyouts and seven groundouts. Scogna walked one and hit a batter.

“Our defense played insane,” Scogna said. “They made every play. I had to fight through (the back injury) … It feels amazing to win a state title.”

Spring-Ford, the fourth-place team from District 1, had nine hits off of Raiders freshman pitcher Lexie Hames, who had thrown back-to-back shutouts heading into Friday’s title game.

She finished 6-1 in her first postseason as the Raiders saw their 12-game winning streak end.

“We were scared to death of them,” said Spring-Ford coach Tim Hughes, who hinted at retirement after 25 years. “(Hames) was throwing darn hard. Our defense was a big difference to slow their hitting.

“This is all about our girls. It’s for them. But I know I am going to celebrate all night.”

Scogna, who has allowed just five hits in the state postseason, silenced an otherwise potent lineup. Seneca Valley has made a habit of roping gap shots and blasting home runs. That is what got the WPIAL champs to their second state final.

While the Raiders put the ball in play, they could not break Scogna.

“She was throwing that outside curve ball,” said Seneca Valley coach Marleese Hames, who was a pitcher and key hitter for the Raiders’ last state runner-up team in 1992. “We were trying to pull it but didn’t have any success. That’s why we had so many dinkier hits.”

Spring-Ford did most of its offensive damage when there were two outs.

In the top of the third, junior Gracie Carlin singled for the first run.

Then, in the fourth, junior Morgan Lester beat out a throw to first with runners at first and third for the second run, and junior Ellie Jarrell followed with an RBI single to right center for a 3-0 advantage.

Senior Ali Wescott made it 4-0 when she ripped a two-out single to center to score Carlin, who led off the fifth with a double to the gap in right.

Scogna shut down 12 straight batters after Seneca Valley senior Angelina Chardella doubled in the third.

The Rams tacked on their final run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Riley Gancasz.

Seneca Valley had more errors (three) than hits. Two of them came in the seventh.

Wescott was 3 for 4, while Lester and Carlin each had two hits.

Seneca Valley threatened in the seventh, getting runners to first and second with two outs, but Scogna got freshman Bella Gross to fly out to third to end it.

“(Scogna’s) back started to act up in the seventh, so I was getting worried,” Hughes said. “We were able to finish it.”

“Some of that, I think, was just the nerves of being here,” coach Hames said. “Our girls fought hard. I told them to hold that (runner-up) trophy proudly. They had an amazing season.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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