Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week for June 20, 2021
Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 10:58 PM
Three weeks ago, Beaver was named the Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week.
So in our final edition of team of the week for 2021, I guess you could say Beaver is the district softball team of the year.
They, along with Mt. Pleasant, were the only team to win both a WPIAL and PIAA softball championship.
They also were the only softball or baseball team in Pennsylvania to finish with a perfect record.
“Winning the WPIAL championship was just a stepping stone,” Beaver coach Amy Haggart said. “It was the goal we set at the beginning of the season. When we won and did so undefeated, I knew this team could make a run at the state title. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but once they got that WPIAL gold, I could see it on their faces at the next practice that they wanted that state gold as well.
“These girls made history. They are the first team at Beaver to win a PIAA state title and the fifth team ever to do so undefeated. This is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. We talked at our banquet about leaving a legacy and how you will always remember how it felt to represent your hometown. These girls did it. They left their mark for future teams to look up to and strive to be like in the future.”
The final week on the perfect journey began with a WPIAL title game rematch against Highlands in the state semifinals.
The two once again were locked in a pitchers’ duel that was scoreless through five innings. After producing one hit in the first five innings, the Bobcats scored four runs in the sixth inning.
“The girls learned from previous at-bats, made adjustments and performed,” Haggart said. “We told them to make her throw strikes, and we saw she was getting tired and they adjusted and took advantage of it.”
The big hit in the inning was a three-run homer by senior Anna Blum.
“Of course it was a huge hit,” Haggart said. “It gave us more of a cushion and really hyped up the team. It honestly couldn’t have come at a better time or happened to a better person. She is such a great kid, and it really boosted her confidence even more.”
It was just another day at the office for junior pitcher Payton List. The Virginia Tech recruit limited the Golden Rams to one hit in the shutout.
“She was more focused than I have seen her,” Haggart said. “Just when I think I have seen her throw her best game, she surprises me with more grit than she has before. She is a leader and knows what it takes to win big games. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Losing is not in her vocabulary.”
That sent them packing for Penn State and the PIAA Class 4A championship game against Tunkhannock, a matchup that would turn into a classic.
Beaver appeared to be on cruise control when they scored single runs in second, fifth and sixth innings, then another run in the seventh after Tunhannock scored a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Leading 4-1 and three outs away from a 21st win in their 21st game, the Tigers mounted a furious comeback that led to them tying the game with three runs to send the game into extra innings.
“I honestly didn’t say much,” Haggart said after Tunkhannock tied the score. “They didn’t hold their heads low. They came in mad and showed so much heart wanting to win. They were all talking each other up. I told them we play our game and play with our heart and we will come out on top.”
The Bobcats did with a run in the top of the ninth. The game ended with the Tigers threatening on a championship-clinching double play, a perfect way to finish a perfect season.
“It was bittersweet to end it the way it did. Knowing the batter was on her front foot, we threw a changeup, hoping it would be a groundout to third base. But Kayla Cornell showed her game knowledge and knew she had to attempt the double play. Emilee Hohenshel has saved us many times with her outstanding defense at first base and I’m so happy that it ended that way for her ending the game on an amazing play. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I saw the determination on Emilee’s face when she laid out in a complete split to make the play. When I looked up and saw the umpire called her out I teared up and immediately went to congratulate the team. It was a feeling like no other, and I couldn’t be more proud of the way this team battled and didn’t give up.
2021 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week
Week 11 — Canon-McMillan Big Macs
Week 10 — West Greene Pioneers
Week 9 — Beaver Bobcats
Week 8 — Ellwood City Wolverines
Week 7 — Armstrong River Hawks
Week 6 — Laurel Spartans
Week 5 — Avonworth Antelopes
Week 4 — Montour Spartans
Week 3 — Central Valley Warriors
Week 2 — North Hills Indians
Week 1 — Norwin Knights
More High School Softball• Legendary Hempfield softball coach Bob Kalp, 7-time WPIAL champ, retires
• George Guido: Valley’s PIAA softball title run in 2011 was worth the wait
• With postseason honors in tow, Bethel Park’s Milliken ready to embark on collegiate career
• Speed, versatility help Abby Quickel play key role for Bethel Park softball
• Mt. Pleasant softball places 3 on all-state 1st team