SCRANTON — A trio of close plays at the plate were the difference Monday when Bloomsburg ended Lackawanna Trail’s season with a 4-3 victory in the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A softball playoffs.
“The kids have that attitude that they can play with anyone,” Lackawanna Trail coach John Richter said of his District 2 champions. “They’ve seen good pitching in our division. They feel that they can hit anybody and make the plays.
“We felt coming into the game that even though they were 22-1, we could hang with them.”
The Lady Lions did just that in a game that was tied until the Panthers were down to their final out of regulation.
Gabby Luxardo’s double off the left-field fence with two out in the top of the seventh made sure the game-winning run scored with ease, but the game’s other key plays were much closer.
Bloomsburg scored two of its first three runs on close plays at the plate and threw out a Lackawanna Trail runner at the plate to end an inning.
Lackawanna Trail took a 2-1 lead in the first inning when its first three hitters – Mackenzie Duffy, Madison Lee and Samantha Baltrusaitis – singled and Karley Cresswell followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Lady Lions managed just two hits the rest of the way as Emily Wawroski bounced back and got plenty of help from her teammates on defense.
Wawroski struck out three of the next five batters after Baltrusaitis and Cresswell delivered consecutive RBIs. She finished the game with a four-pitch bottom of the seventh.
In between, the Panthers came up with two double plays and got the runner at the plate when shortstop Jerrica Chorba recovered from an error to throw out Madisyn Peoples trying to score from second in the fourth inning.
Bloomsburg took a 3-2 lead by scoring in the third and fourth innings.
Lackawanna Trail tied it on a two-out rally in the fifth.
Lee and Baltrusaitis drew consecutive walks before Cresswell singled to left and Lee was able to race home with the tying run.
The Lady Lions got out of trouble in the sixth, but could not do so again in the seventh.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Richter said. “They played extremely well.”
Allison Decker went the distance as Lackawanna Trail’s pitcher, allowing just one earned run on eight hits and two walks while striking out one. She also had a double for the team’s only extra-base hit.
The District 2 champion Lady Lions finished 9-6 in league and playoff action combined.