CLARION, Pa. – Over the next few weeks D9Sports.com’s Chris Rossetti we will take a look at his the Top 25 stories that impacted District 9 during the 2018-19 school year.
NO. 11 – CRANBERRY SOFTBALL REACHES PIAA SEMIFINALS
After finally shedding its bridesmaid image by winning the District 9 Class 2A softball title in 2018, expectations were through the roof for the 2019 Cranberry softball team.
But things didn’t start out as planned for the Berries, as a number of close losses had Cranberry sitting at 6-5 after a nine-inning loss at Clarion May 2.
That loss to the Lady Cats, though, was the last loss for the Berries in over a month, as they rolled off nine straight wins and reached the PIAA semifinal game for the first time in school history.
Those victories included a 16-5 win over Redbank Valley in the District 9 2A title game, a contest that saw Andrea Watson and Maddie Cornelius each drive in three runs, Rachel McCauley and Jenna Seigworth each collect four hits and Cornelius and Kayle Bruce add three hits apiece.
After losing in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs in 2018, no one knew what to expect in 2019. But in the opening round against Freedom, it was all Cranberry in a 10-1 win that saw McCauley go 3-for-4 with a double and five RBIs.
The PIAA quarterfinals meant a matchup with WPIAL champion Laurel, and things looked bleak for the Berries when the Spartans scored four times in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
But Cranberry, as it did so many times during the year, didn’t quit and retook the lead, 5-4, with a four-run top of the sixth that was highlighted by two runs scoring on a sac fly by Cornelius, the second on a Laurel error.
Watson then worked out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth that saw Laurel put runners on second and third with no outs but fail to score.
Cranberry added two much-needed insurance runs in the seventh on a two-run Emily Duncan double. Those runs were needed when Laurel scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, but Watson got a groundout with runners on first and second to end the game.
The Berries nearly pulled off another comeback in the semifinals against eventual state champion Frazier scoring twice with two outs in the top of the seventh on a Malliah Schreck base hit to tie the game at four only to see Frazier score a run in the bottom of the inning to walk-off with a 5-4 win that ended Cranberry’s great season.
ROSSETTI’S TOP 25 MOST IMPACTFUL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS STORIES FROM 2018-19 SCHOOL YEAR
12. Winning one for the coach, Kane rallies behind Dave Kiehl
13. A-C Valley girls’ basketball makes school history
14. Clarion Volleyball Wins D9 Title, Advances to PIAA quarterfinals
15. Ridgway Boys’ Basketball reaches PIAA quarterfinals
16. Six D9 Cross Country athletes medal at PIAAs
17. North Clarion Girls’ Basketball gets unexpected three-peat
18. Moving up in class? No problem, Ridgway Football wins third straight D9 title
19. ECC Baseball goes from D9 fifth seed to final eight in the state
20. Moniteau Baseball battles back to win D9 title
21. Brookville Wrestling, a D9 Dynasty
22. Chambers steal and miracle Shot
23. Callen nearly unhittable
24. Wruble’s Clutch Hit
25. Ella Marconi’s terrific season caps terrific career