TOWAMENCIN >> One out from states, North Penn saw its 4-2 lead suddenly transformed into a 5-4 deficit.
In the top of the seventh inning, Taylor Amazeen lofted a double to the gap in right center — the first extra-base hit by either squad — to score two and tie the game. Then, Jenna Khantzian smacked a double down the left-field line to score Amazeen and put the Indians in front for the first time all day.
Council Rock North held on in the bottom half, pulling out a 5-4 comeback win over the fourth-seeded Knights to secure the fifth and final spot in the PIAA-6A Tournament.
“We’ve come back a lot in the seventh this year,” said Indians coach John Engelhardt, whose team will take on District One Champion Avon Grove on Monday, “and it’s just a testament to their will and their character that they just don’t quit.”
The sixth-seeded Indians trailed 4-1 in the sixth but began to chip away.
Madison Tomlinson’s two-out single to right scored Juliana Shields (single) to slice the margin to 4-2. But Bri Battavio struck out Riley Sheehy to end the inning, keeping North Penn up by a pair.
Battavio, who limited the visitors to just three hits in the first five innings, started the seventh by getting Lauren Begg to ground out to third and then got Sabrina Crane to line out to second.
Taylor Briggs and Shields kept hope alive for the Indians with back-to-back singles, bringing Amazeen up to the plate.
“Those situations, we’ve been in before, and we just had to believe in ourselves,” said Amazeen, the Indians’ catcher. “We had crazy heart, and didn’t give up for a second, even when there were two outs.”
Rock North connected for seven hits in the final two innings to push in front.
Starter Jenna Khantzian, meanwhile, also had a better time in the later innings, blanking the Knights in the final two frames.
Khantzian forced Jamie Beer into a groundout to short to start North Penn’s seventh but then Jordan Pietrzykoski drew a walk to put the tying run on for the Knights.
Things would end suddenly.
Courtney Neal grounded out to Khantzian and Pietrzykoski — who had gotten a good jump before the ball was hit — tried to reach third, but first baseman Lauren Begg rifled a throw over to Briggs, who put the tag on Pietrzykoski for the final out of the contest.
It was North Penn that was just one out from victory just moments earlier.
“It was a tough one, the kind of game you don’t forget,” Knights coach Rick Torresani said. “But the team played hard and I thought we had it. (Rock North) came back so you gotta hand it to them.
“These kids dug down. Bri pitched a heck of a game. (Rock North) just got some hits at the end and that’s what cost us. It’s frustrating. And it’s hard when you have two outs and nobody on and you lose.”
North Penn seemed to have things under control for most of the afternoon, in fact going in front 1-0 in its first at-bat. Brittany Moyer’s single through the middle plated Emily Groarke and — after the Indians tied it on Elana Calibeo’s RBI single — the Knights made it 2-1 in the second on a hard-hit chopper by Victoria Juckniewitz, scoring Pietrzykoski.
North Penn pushed another run across in the fourth on a fielder’s choice and Groarke completed a 3-for-4 day when she drove in Beer in the fifth, stretching it to 4-1, but then Rock North began its rally.
Top Photo: Council Rock North’s Jenna Khantzian delivers a pitch against North Penn during the District 1-6A fifth place game on Thursday, June 1, 2017. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)