WARMINSTER >> The seeds of motivation were planted — or rather posted — before the season even started.
“I showed them a clip of last year’s loss. I got it online, printed it out, and I told one of my captains, ‘put it in the locker room, and look at it every day. And just remember how that felt,’” Springfield-Montco coach Joshua Ringgold said of last year’s 10-2 thumping in the District 1-3A Final. “They worked their tails off this year.”
Redemption came in the form of an impressive 3-0 win over Dock on Tuesday, in a rematch of last year’s District 1-3A Final, as the Spartans captured their first district title in 24 years.
“Everybody did a good job,” Ringgold said, “from the pitcher, to the catcher, to the outfield, to the infielders…I told them, ‘listen, if we limit our errors today, and don’t make mistakes, we’re gonna win this game.’”
The Spartans played error-free and afterwards gave the fluorescent-yellow game ball to Hannah Sebenick. It was only fitting since the right-hander had such command of it all afternoon long on this hot, sunny afternoon at William Tennent High.
“I just threw a lot of curves in there,” Sebenick said just moments after she and her teammates huddled around the trophy, “and I had some rises that helped out.”
Springfield now advances to the PIAA-3A Tournament and a matchup with the District 12 Champ on Monday.
Sebenick threw the complete-game shutout, limiting a potent Pioneer lineup to just four hits while racking up 11 strikeouts, walking none, with one hit batter.
“When Hannah hits her spots, we’re a really good team,” Ringgold said. “She hit her spots today and was able to mix it up, inside, outside, high, low, and just really kept them off balance.
“That’s a good team,” Ringgold said of the defending champs. “They’re well-coached, and we knew it would be a challenge coming in.”
Springfield reached base in each and every inning, denting the scoreboard in the third.
No. 9 hitter Kate Wojeck flared a single to right for the second-seeded Spartans, and leadoff Mary Kate Smith drew a walk. Samantha Wynne laid down a sacrifice bunt, and two throwing errors by Dock allowed both Wojeck and Smith to come racing home, making it 2-0.
Sebenick gave herself an even bigger cushion by hitting a hard grounder to first, giving Wynne ample time to cross home and increase the lead to 3-0.
“We were here last year and we finally did it this year,” Sebenick said. “I don’t know how many years (24) since Springfield did it, but it’s time. I’m really proud of all of us. I think we were a really tight team this year. We really bonded, and we really pulled through in lots of different ways.”
Dock Hangs In
Kennedi Wells’ sliding catch in right forced the Spartans to leave the bases loaded in the sixth, and then in the seventh, junior pitcher Rachel Lopes made a tremendous stab on a hard-hit line drive by Kaitlyn Cannon, throwing to first for the double play.
“That was just amazing,” said left fielder Bri Stoner, who had one of the Pioneers’ four hits. “You just gotta build fuel from the fire. She started it off and we tried to keep it going.”
Kate Strickland ripped a ground-ball single up the middle with one out in the seventh for the top-seeded Pioneers, but Sebenick capped things off with back-to-back strikeouts.
“She was a good pitcher. She pitched very well today,” Dock coach Wayne Benner said of Sebenick. “I just wish we would have had a few more hits.
“I’m proud of the girls. They played hard. Rachel really hasn’t pitched a lot until this year and she pretty much got all the tough games this year. So that’s a big jump for her. And she did really well.”
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