ALLENTOWN — Abington Heights pitcher Paige Harris allowed just six hits, but it wasn’t enough.
A bloop single off the bat of Jordan Weaver that dropped between shortstop Cassidy Bartkowski and left fielder Naudia Solan proved to be the difference in Lampeter-Strasburg’s, 2-1, win over the Lady Comets in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A semifinal softball game on Monday evening at Patriots Park.
Abington Heights grabbed an early lead in the bottom of the second inning when Marissa Lewis lined a double into the left-center field gap and scored on a two-out single by Cassie Toth.
Lampeter-Strasburg (25-3) evened the score in the bottom of the fourth. Hanna Garber led of the inning with a triple over the head of Abington Heights right fielder Meghan McGinley and scored on a single from Delaney Baker.
Abington Heights threatened to regain the lead in the top of the fifth when second baseman Cassie Toth led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt and ground out, but she was left stranded when Harris grounded out to end the inning.
Lampeter-Strasburg’s Jordyn Kondras led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single and after a sacrifice bunt from Garber and pop out from Baker, Weaver delivered the game-winning hit.
The Lady Pioneers nearly struck in the bottom of the second inning after Baker led off with a single and advanced to third on a two-out single down the first base line from Caroline Braungard, but Harris induced a pop out from Natalie Carson to end the threat.
“It’s definitely a memory for a lifetime,” Harris said of the team’s journey through the playoffs. “I’m proud of every single one of these girls on the team and I’m just glad we made it this far. Basically they got the hit when they needed it and we didn’t, that’s pretty much what I came down to.”
Abington Heights’ Dominique Emmett started the top of the sixth with a triple down the left field line that took a hard bounce over the base and rolled to the wall, but Weaver was able to work out of trouble by getting a pop out from Kaylee DeMatteo, striking out Naudia Solan and getting Lewis to ground out.
“We were one hit away and had opportunities, we just didn’t get that hit,” Abington Heights head coach John Kelly said. “You have to give their pitcher credit, she made pitches when she had to.”
Despite the loss, Emmett has fond memories of the Lady Comets’ season.
“I’m proud of the team and really happy to have been a part of it this year,” she said. “These girls are the best in my book. We never anticipated getting this far and it means the world to me.”
Abington Heights (17-2) claimed its first District 2 championship since 2007 and won two games in the state playoffs.
“I basically just told them to help your heads held high,” Kelly said. “They played their hearts out and left everything on the field. As coaches, that’s all we can ask for. We just came up a little short. At this point of the season, not only do you have to be good, the ball has to bounce your way and today they got a bounce and we didn’t.”
Abington Heights scored four runs in the second inning and held off a late rally to defeat Bishop Shanahan, 7-3, in a PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal softball game Thursday, June 9 at Patriots Park. Marisssa Lewis, Nina Kozar, Alison Kane, Cassie Toth, Naudia Solan and Paige Harris each drove in a run for the Lady Comets.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.