LIME RIDGE, Pa. (EYT/D9) – Emma Hipps entered the seventh inning well aware of what she was on the verge of accomplishing.
The senior pitcher on the Clearfield softball team had faced 18 Hamburg hitters and gotten every single one of them out.
She was three outs away from a perfect game – in the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A playoffs to boot.
“Oh, I knew,” Hipps said, laughing.
She struck out the first two hitters of the inning and had an 0-2 count on the third, but an error ended her bid for a perfect game.
Hipps gave up a single, but got a strikeout – her 15th of the game – to finish off the Bison’s 4-0 win over Hamburg.
“It’s awesome,” Hipps said. “I’m so excited.”
Hipps celebrated a birthday Wednesday. The last time she pitched that close to her birthday was during her freshman year. She dominated that day, too.
“I was expected a good game today,” Hipps said. “It would have been nice to have a perfect game. I got the first two outs by strikeout and I was like, ‘I just need one more out,’ and then two people got on and I was like, ‘I just need to get this third out.’ I can’t be mad.”
Hipps was untouchable in the circle. She also provided plenty of firepower at the plate.
Her two-run triple in the fifth broke open a 1-0 game. Clearfield scored one more in the frame for a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Hipps was 2-for-3.
Alexis Benton also had two hits and Olivia Bender and Lauren Ressler each doubled for Clearfield (20-3).
“I’m proud of everyone,” Hipps said. “Everyone has stepped up in the playoffs. Everyone’s bats are on fire right now, so hopefully that keeps going into the next couple of games.”
Clearfield will face a big test in the semifinals when the Bison square off against undefeated District 7 champion Beaver Area (20-0), which boasts of one of the best pitchers in the state in Payton List.
The senior is 19-0 with a 0.49 ERA. In 114 innings she’s given up just 39 hits while striking out 230.
Hipps stats aren’t too shabby, either. She’s 19-2 with a 1.00 ERA and 267 strikeouts in 139 2/3 innings.
It’ll be quite the showdown of top pitchers in Pennsylvania Monday when they meet at a site and time to be determined.
“It’ll be a good matchup,” Hipps said. “I’m excited to see what our hitters can do and what their hitters can do. Best team wins.”
DuBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 8, WEST GREENE 2 – Emma Suplizio is having a postseason.
The Cardinal senior hit a big home run Monday in a 4-2 win over Greensburg Central Catholic and she drove in four runs in the Class A quarterfinal victory on Thursday.
Suplizio was 3-for-3 on the day.
DCC (22-2) broke the game wide open with six runs in the fourth inning to turn a 2-0 lead into an 8-0 advantage.
West Greene could never recover.
Melia Mitskavich got the win, going five strong innings.
Jessy Frank also had a big day at the plate for the Cardinals, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
DuBois Central Catholic had 15 hits on the day. Suplizio, Frank, Kali Franklin and Kayley Risser each doubled in the victory.
The Cardinals will take on District 10 champion Saegertown (17-4) in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined.
AVONWORTH 7, KARNS CITY 4 – The magical season is over for the Gremlins.
The Antelopes, the District 7 champions, jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Karns City cut it to 5-4, but couldn’t overtake Avonworth.
Rossi McMillen was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for Karns City. Jess Dunn tripled for the Gremlins, who could only muster five hits against Antelope pitcher Alivia Lantzy.
Marra Patton got the loss. She gave up five runs on five hits in three innings.
Lantzy got the win, striking out eight in seven innings. She gave up four runs – three earned – and walked four.
Layne Shisky, the No. 9 hitter, hurt Karns City. She went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI.
Rylee Gray also homered for Avonworth.
NESHANNOCK 14, JOHNSONBURG 0 – It was a forgettable afternoon for the Rammettes.
Neshannock led 12-0 after three innings and cruised in the run-rule game shortened to five innings in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Johnsonburg managed only three hits in the loss.
Addyson Frye got the win.
Brayden Fox’s two-run double in the top of the third inning broke a scoreless tie and sent DuBois Central Catholic on the way to a 7-1 win over Saegertown in the Class A quarterfinals.
The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the third on a single by Kaden Brezenski and triple by Cole Sansom.
That was more than enough for Brandin Anderson, who gave up one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out five.
Anderson also doubled as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Fox was 2-for-4, Brezenski 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Carter Hickman also had a double and a single for the Cardinals, who will take on Southern Fulton in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined.
PUNXSUTAWNEY 6, FRANKLIN 4 – In one of the wildest games of the PIAA tournament, the Chucks overcame a 4-1 deficit in the sixth inning for a dramatic, come-from-behind win in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Ashton Stonebraker doubled in two runs in the top of the seventh and Jake Sikora closed it out in bottom of the inning to cap off the rally.
Punxsutawney scored twice in the top of the sixth to cut the Franklin lead to 4-3. One runs cored on an error, the other on a single by Savage.
The Chucks got consecutive singles by Isaac London and Peyton Hetrick to start the seventh, but it looked as though Franklin was going to escape with two fly outs.
With two outs, Josh Tyger singled home London to tie the game, then Stonebraker followed with his clutch two-run double.
Ethan Nightingale got the loss for the Knights in relief.
Punxsutawney (16-5) will face undefeated Central High School (Martinsburg) in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined.
Central (25-0), the District 6 champion, is batting .445 as a team and also sports a team ERA of 1.61.
BURGETTSTOWN 6, REDBANK VALLEY 4 – The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 early lead, but couldn’t sustain that momentum in this Class 2A quarterfinal loss.
Redbank (14-7) kickstarted a three-run second with a triple by Bryson Bain, who scored on a RBI groundout by Ty Carrier.
Breckin Minich later scored on a wild pitch and Mason Clouse on a RBI groundout by Cam Wagner for the 3-0 lead.
Burgettstown, though, grabbed the lead with a big inning of its own.
The Blue Devils scored four times in the bottom of the fourth. Andrew Bredel drove home two runs with a single and AJ Kuzior and Luke Lounder also had RBI hits in the frame.
Burgettstown tacked on on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 6-2 lead.
Redbank Valley cut the lead to two runs in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Bain that scored Tate Minich, who had tripled.
The Bulldogs, however, couldn’t take advantage of back-to-back singles by Mason Clouse and Wagner to start the top of the seventh.
Nathan Klodowski struck out the next three batters to end the game.
Klodowski got the win, striking out 12 and walking just one in seven innings. Of his 100 pitches, 75 were for strikes.
Bredel drove in four runs for Burgettstown.
Mason Clouse went 2-for-2 for Redbank, which got to the quarterfinals with a 2-1, eight inning upset of previously undefeated Serra Catholic on Monday.