ALLENTOWN >> The Bristol High softball team went into Thursday’s PIAA Class A state tournament quarterfinal round game knowing it would need to play flawless defense to slow down Williams Valley’s potent attack.
Sure enough, as soon as an error was made, the proverbial floodgates opened and the result was eight runs for Williams Valley in the third inning, en route to an 11-5 win over Bristol Thursday, June 9 at historic Patriots Park.
Following its one and only loss of the season, Bristol finished an otherwise outstanding year with a record of 20-1.
“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes and they hit the ball,” said Bristol coach Mike Lalli. “We were throwing the pitches we wanted to, but they kept getting key hits. Once they did, they started rolling.”
After Williams Valley (24-2) took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run single to center by pitcher Tianna Yanoscak, Bristol answered right back with three in the bottom of the frame.
In that inning, singles by leadoff batter Tianna Brewington and Cara Fabiano set the table for Bryanna Vearling, who delivered a high three-run homer over the left field fence to stun Williams Valley and its large contingent of fans who made the trip from Tower City.
When Bristol starter Fabiano got through the second without much of a problem, it looked like this might be a real battle between the District 1 (Bristol) and District 11 champions. Instead, everything came apart for the Lady Warriors as Williams Valley scored eight runs on six hits and one error in the third.
The error was a dropped fly ball in the outfield with one out. Before Bristol could recover, Williams Valley got a two-run single from Kenna Ferron and an RBI single by Megan Schadle to take a 5-3 lead.
Bristol then summoned Vearling to come on in relief of Fabiano. Although she later pitched very well by holding Williams Valley to one unearned run over the last four innings, Vearling did not have real good command at first.
The result was a two-run double down the left field line by Autumn Calnon, followed by two walks. From there, Rayanne Hawk knocked in a run with a single and Kate Whelski smashed a double in the left center field gap. Another run also scored on a wild pitch.
Although the odds of Bristol coming back from a 10-3 deficit were slim at best, to their credit, the Warriors kept battling.
Bristol got its fourth run in the fourth when Jade Stevens led off with a home run. The Warriors also scored in the sixth when Jade Stevens tripled and Maya Alicea singled her in after fouling off six pitches.
Unfortunately, for Bristol, it also ran itself into a 1-3-5 double-play in the fifth and struck out 10 times against Yanoscak, who didn’t throw real hard, but showed a nice change-up as the game went along. Williams Valley, by contrast, struck out only twice.
“Hey, we hit more home runs in this game than we had in the entire season,” said Lalli. “The girls battled and that’s all you can ask. The girls worked hard and we have the core of the team coming back.”
While a six-run loss might not sound like much, Bristol was able to drive away from Thursday’s game knowing it is competitive with the elite Class A teams in the Keystone State.
Contact Rick Fortenbaugh at [email protected], or @RickFort7 on Twitter
Williams Valley 11, Bristol 5
(June 9 at Patriots Park)
Williams Valley (24-2) 208 001 0 – 11 11 0
Bristol (20-1) 300 101 0 – 5 7 2
WP — Yanoscak; LP — Fabiano (8-1); 2B — Calnon (WV), Whelski (WV); 3B — Stevens (B); HR — Vearling (B), Stevens; RBIs: WV — Hawk, Whelski, Yanoscak 2, Ferron 3, M. Schadle, Calnon. B — Vearling 3, Stevens, Alicea.