CHELTENHAM >> A season that included a District 12 Championship for Archbishop Wood came to an end under the lights at Arcadia University’s Blankley Field Monday, an uncharacteristic eight errors — along with a strong-hitting Lampeter-Strasburg squad — blocking the Vikings’ path to the quarterfinals.
“They really struggled in the field today and that’s really not how we play,” Wood coach Jackie Ecker said after the 15-5 loss in a PIAA-5A First-Round contest. “But the girls kept pushing and that’s the best they could do.
“We were ready for the game, going up against a team you don’t know anything about. I knew it was gonna be a good-hitting team. We had to make the plays and we didn’t. But these girls never give up and I’m proud of them. They worked really hard to get here.”
The Pioneers, fourth place out of District Three, advance to Saturday’s quarters to take on the winner of the Spring Grove-Bishop Shanahan match-up.
For Wood, Jules Donchez went 3-for-3 from the leadoff spot with a walk, two runs and an RBI, helping the Vikings get within 4-3 in the third before Lampeter pulled away.
“We came in strong and determined and the game didn’t go the way we wanted to,” Donchez said, “but we played with as much determination as we did every single game. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
Each team put a run across in the first.
For Lampeter, Julz Garber singled and scored on a groundout, and then Wood answered in the bottom half when Donchez legged out an infield single and scored on an error.
The Pioneers went ahead in the second and increased their lead in the third.
Caroline Braungard crushed a double off the wall in left to knock in a run and make it 2-1 and then an inning later, Lampeter took advantage of singles by Delaney Groff and Natalie Carson along with two errors by Wood to make it 4-1.
The Vikings came right back.
“You’ll see us out there fighting,” Donchez said of the team’s resolve.
Cara Coughlin’s bunt single and Gianna Lancelotti’s double down the left-field line keyed a two-run third for Wood, slicing the gap to 4-3.
But just as the Vikings inched closer, Lampeter broke the game open.
With the bases loaded in the fourth, Kylie Weaver belted a towering triple to the gap in left center, driving in three, and then she raced home on an errant throw on the play to make it 8-3.
The Vikings cut it to 8-4 in the bottom half on a single up the middle by Donchez, however the Pioneers added two in the sixth, the first on a wild pitch and the second on a ground ball by Brynne Baker, scoring Natalie Carson.
Lampeter polished things off with a five-run seventh before Wood closed out the scoring with an RBI pinch-hit single by Alicia Skinner.
The Vikings managed 12 hits in the contest, including the three by Donchez, who is only a sophomore.
Said Ecker: “She’s been consistent all season. She’ll be a good asset the next couple years.”
“Just knowing we were here was such a big accomplishment,” Donchez said of states. “We were hoping to make it to the next game but it just didn’t turn out that way.”