UNIVERSITY PARK — The Abbey Bauer-led Elk County Catholic girls softball team won its first state championship in school history with a 7-0 win over Conemaugh Valley at Penn State University’s Beard Field Friday evening.
In the PIAA Class A title game, Bauer threw a no-hitter with five strikeouts and she added a solo home run and a run-scoring single to complete the Lady Crusaders’ best season.
“So much work went into this, the open gyms, the time we put in over the winter. And to get the no-hitter and hit a home run, it’s awesome,” Bauer said.
For head coach Digger O’Dell, the championship was a very satisfying one.
“Everyone was disappointed with the way the season ended and it was a long time coming. I wondered if it would ever come, but the girls put aside all their individual goals and the coaches all did their part and it’s a great feeling,” O’Dell said.
ECC (25-2) has walked the razor’s edge during the postseason with three state playoff wins and the District 9 title game win all by one run.
But Friday’s game had no such drama, save whether Bauer could get the no-hitter.
After Bauer set Conemaugh down in order with a weakly-hit popup to Marissa Heary and two strikeouts, the Lady Crusaders jumped on the Blue Jays with three runs in the first inning.
Centerfielder Maddy Schneider led off the home half of the first with a double over left fielder Kara Pisczek. Sydney Hoffman then bunted and got a hit when she beat the play as Schneider raced to third.
Bauer popped up for the first out and Heary struck out too, but Conemaugh catcher Alex Smith didn’t hold on to the ball and Heary reached first while Schneider scored to make it 1-0.
Sophie Yanak then came to bat and a wild pitch from Melanie Lint allowed
Hoffman to score with Heary making it to third. Yank also struck out, but another passed ball allowed Heary to score for a 3-0 lead.
Despite six innings remaining, the game was as good as over.
Bauer allowed one walk each in the second and seventh innings. She hit a batter in the fifth and an error allowed a baserunner in the fourth, but the Blue Jays never came close to scoring. Their best chance for a hit came in the fourth when pitcher Melanie Lint lined one near the second-base bag, but Heary was there to catch it for the third out.
ECC added to its lead in the third with two runs.
Hoffman led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Bauer’s single. Bauer reached second on the throw in and Brianna Weisner came in to run for her.
Heary then hit a ball behind first base that wasn’t fielded and Weisner scored for a 5-0 lead.
In the fourth, Emily Evers doubled down the third-base line, stole third and scored on a groundout Sophia Viglione.
In the fifth, Bauer capped the scoring with a leadoff home run over the fence in left that was just inside the foul pole.
ECC joined Curwensville as the only two District 9 schools to win state titles in softball. The Lady Golden Tide won crowns in 2007 and 2009, led by Holly Lansberry. Clarion played for a state title in 2011, but lost to Minersville, 6-1. Punxsy played in the title game in 2006, but lost 3-0 to Donegal.
ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 7, CONEMAUGH VALLEY 0
Score by Innings
Conemaugh Valley 000 000 0 – 0
Elk Co. Catholic 302 110 x – 7
Conemaugh Valley – 0
McCleester ss 3000, Pisczek lf 3000, Mi. Lint rf-p 3000, Stiffler 1b 2000, Me. Lint p-rf 2000, Novak 2b 2000, Smith c 1000, DoBrota c 1000, Cekada cf 2000, Vogel 3b 2000. Totals: 21-0-0-0.
Elk Catholic – 7
Schneider cf 3120, Hoffman rf 2210, Bauer p 3222, Weisner cr 0000, Heary ss 3110, Yanak 1b 3010, Renwick c 3010, Labant cr 0000, Evers dp 3110, Viglione lf 2001, Meyer 2b 3000,
Tettis flex-3b 0000. Totals: 26-7-9-3.
Errors: Conemaugh Valley 2, ECC 1. LOB: CV 2, ECC 4. DP: ECC 1. SAC: Schneider. 2B: Evers. HR: Bauer.
Conemaugh Valley: Melanie Lint-4 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO; Mikayla Lint-2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
ECC: Abbey Bauer-7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HB, 5 SO.
WP: Bauer. LP: Me. Lint.