EVERETT — The Glendale softball team has been a come-from-behind team this season, rallying for wins in several contests, including its first-round PIAA victory Monday against Shanksville.
But the Lady Vikings were on the other end of a late-inning rally Thursday at Everett Elementary School, dropping a gut-wrenching 6-3 decision in the class A quarterfinals to Millersburg in extra innings after coming one out shy of a 3-2 win.
“The girls battled through a lot of adversity this year,” Glendale head coach Beth Campbell said. “There were a lot of things they had to deal with. (Senior pitcher) Lexi (Mulhollen) breaking her finger being just one of them.
“We played hard. We didn’t give up. But sometimes things just don’t go your way. That’s softball.”
Glendale led 3-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh when Millersburg’s Morgan Long’s infield dribbler went for a base hit. Hannah Dyer was hit by a Kyla Campbell pitch to put two runners on with no outs and Maddi Etzweiler reached on a fielder’s choice when Glendale committed an infield error — its first error in the game — allowing Long to score.
Campbell got the Indian No. 3 and No. 4 hitters each to pop up in the infield for two outs and had Taylor Bowman down in the count 0-1 when she drilled a base hit to left field to plate Dyer, tying the game at 3-3 and sending it to extra innings.
The Lady Vikings threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Breanna Vereshack reached on a one-out infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. But she got caught too far off second base between pitches and was thrown out at third base to end the inning.
Millersburg then scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning, aided by a controversial call that prolonged the frame.
Lexi Lebo surprised the Lady Vikings with a bunt single on a 1-2 count and Kierstyn Smith reached on an infield error to put the Indians in business.
“A lot of their hits were just little dinky things that we just didn’t get to,” coach Campbell said.
But Campbell nearly pitched out of the jam again, this time getting Long to pop out to shortstop before striking out Dyer for the second out.
It then appeared Glendale had escaped the inning when the Lady Vikings threw out Etzweiler after she hit a ground ball. But the third base umpire ruled the ball hit her, giving the Indian another chance.
The Glendale coaching staff questioned the call, asking the rest of the 4-man crew for help, but none of them saw the play clearly and the call stood.
Etzweiler made the most of the second chance, knocking in Lebo with a base hit, and Strait followed with a 2-run triple to give Millersburg a 6-3 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth.
“It was a bad call, but if we play the way we’re supposed to play and do the things we’re supposed to do, we never get to that call,” coach Campbell said.
Glendale did not go down without a fight in the bottom of the eighth.
Alaney Vereshack smacked a one-out single to try to get a rally started and Lilley Vereshack followed with a double off Millersburg pitcher Kierstyn Smith.
But Brooke Smeal’s and Campbell’s hard hits were caught by first baseman Shannon Seiders and third baseman Strait, respectively, to end the threat and Glendale’s season.
“(Smith) had our number,” coach Campbell said. “We were unwilling to wait for the ball to get there. Part of that is on me, I had a scouting report that told us she had a lot of speed, so we’ve been working on that the last two practices. But she wasn’t as fast as we were expecting, so we were completely off balance.”
Millersburg opened the scoring with a run in the first when Straight’s one-out double knocked in Dyer, who was hit by a Campbell pitch in the game’s opening at bat.
The game remained 1-0 until the fourth when Glendale struck for three runs on four hits against Smith.
Alaney Vereshack led off the inning with a single to right field. The ball went off the right fielder’s glove and rolled near the wall, while Vereshack kicked on the afterburners and came all the way around to score on the play.
Lilley Vereshack followed with a base hit and advanced to second on a Smeal sac bunt.
After a strikeout, Lady Viking Hanna Noel knocked in Vereshack with a single. Noel scored three pitches later when Madison Lukehart drilled Smith’s 2-0 offering for a double.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the fifth, Millersburg loaded the bases against Campbell.
Long started the rally with a one-out single and Dyer pushed her to third with a double.
A diving stop of a low liner off the bat of Etzweiler by Glendale third baseman Lexi Mulhollen saved at least one run and put the second out of the inning on the board.
Glendale chose to intentionally walk Strait to load the bases and Campbell was able to get out of the jam by striking out Millersburg cleanup hitter Lydia Troutman.
Campbell also got out of the sixth unscathed after Bowman singled and moved to second with with no outs. But Campbell got three straight groundouts, stranding Bowman at third.
But Campbell and the Lady Vikings were unable to wiggle out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings as Millersburg came up with five of their 10 hits in those two frames and used two Glendale errors to score five unearned runs and take the win.
Campbell scattered 10 hits in her eight innings of work. Only one of the six runs she allowed was earned. Campbell walked three batters and struck out five.
Lilley Vereshack led Glendale at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Lukehart and Alaney Vereshack added two hits each.
The Lady Vikings end their season with a record of 21-5.
“I feel bad for our seniors (Mulhollen and Smeal),” Campbell said. “This is not the way they wanted to go out. They are both great girls. They are both going to play in college and I can’t wait to see what they do. They are fantastic young ladies.”
Dyer ss 3210, Etzweiler 2b 5121, Strait 3b 3023, Troutman c 5000, Bowman cf 4021, Meyers dp 3000, Lebo rf 3110, Smith p 4100, Long lf 4120, Seiders (flex) 1b 0000. Totals: 34-6-10-5.
Mulhollen 3b 4000, Reese 2b 4000, A. Vereshack ss 4120, L. Vereshack cf 4130, Smeal c 3010, Campbell p 3000, McElheny ph 1000, Noel lf 3111, Lukehart rf 3021, B. Vereshack 1b 2010. Totals: 31-3-10-2.
Score by Innings
Millersburg 100 000 23—6 10 1
Glendale 000 300 00—3 10 2
Errors—Lebo; A. Vereshack 2. LOB—Millersburg 10, Glendale 6. 2B—Strait, Dyer; Lukehart, L. Vereshack. 3B—Strait. HBP—Dyer 2 (by Campbell). SAC—Lebo; B. Vereshack, Smeal. IBB—Strait. WP—Smith 1, Campbell 2. PB—Troutman; Smeal.
Millersburg: Smith—8 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO.
Glendale: Campbell—8 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO.