Dock Mennonite Academy looks to break through to the state semifinals for the first time since 2011 when the Pioneers travel to Patriots Park in Allentown Thursday to take on District 11 Champion Pine Grove.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Dock is coming off a wild one on Monday, a 21-15 victory over Masterman in the opening round of this PIAA-3A Tournament.
“I’m glad we won but we didn’t play very well,” Pioneers coach Wayne Benner said of the contest, in which 22 Pioneer hits overcame some untimely errors. “Hopefully we can play better next game.”
Neither program is a stranger to states.
This is Dock’s fifth trip to PIAA’s this decade: the Pioneers reached the Class A quarterfinals in 2010, the 2A semis in 2011, the 2A quarters in 2012 and the 2A first round in 2013.
Pine Grove reached the 2A semis last year, falling to eventual state champ Holy Redeemer.
In the opening round of 3A action Monday, Pine Grove topped Mifflinburg 5-3, overcoming a slow start.
The Cardinals bunched four hits and a walk to score three times in the top of the sixth inning, sparked by Caitlyn Becher’s leadoff double.
Winning pitcher Liv Lehman, one of eight returning starters, shut things down to push Pine Grove into the second round.
Dock, meanwhile, got a robust offensive performance from the top of its lineup. The Pioneers’ top four hitters — Olivia Boyle, Theresa Beck, Jill Bolton and McKenzie Gordon — combined for 16 hits, 16 runs scored and 14 RBI’s. Now they prepare for a tougher test in Lehman and the Cardinals.
The winner of this contest advances to Monday’s semifinals, to take on either Mid Valley or Brandywine Heights.
Notes: Boyle, Beck, Bolton and Gordon all had extra-base hits in the Dock victory Monday, with the Pioneers plating runs in all but one inning…Dock’s last state quarterfinal victory came over Central Columbia in 2011.
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