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North Penn falls to Parkland in state quarterfinals

ALLENTOWN >> Young North Penn kept on swinging — and connecting — till the very last out on Thursday, but couldn’t quite catch powerful Parkland in a PIAA-6A State Quarterfinal Game at Patriots Park.
“We tried our best. We gave everything we had,” said the Knights’ Elia Namey, a rising senior who smacked an RBI double to the gap in left center as part of her day. “It’s not always gonna go our way, and today it didn’t. But next time, next year, it will.”
The Trojans prevailed 6-3, in a contest that saw the two teams combine for 21 hits. Parkland, State Champs three years ago, advances to Monday’s semifinals to take on either Neshaminy or Hazleton.
Parkland, making its fifth consecutive state-tournament appearance, including trips to the semis in 2014, 2015 and this year, jumped out to a 6-1 lead by the fifth. True to form, the Knights climbed back, trimming the margin to 6-3 in the fifth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Amanda Greaney and Namey.
“In the end, I thought we were gonna do it,” said North Penn coach Rick Torresani, who guided NP to states for the fourth time in seven seasons, “but (Parkland) just had a big inning, and that’s what cost us.”
Parkland’s fifth >> Up 2-1, the Trojans broke it open with six hits in the fifth.
Steph Herpel’s double brought in two, followed by timely singles by winning pitcher Kelly Dulaney and Renee Snyder, making it 6-1 Parkland.
North Penn starter Mady Volpe, a rising sophomore, was able to bear down, keeping the Trojans scoreless the rest of the way.
The Trojans had gone up 1-0 in the first when Kylie Hlay flared a double to right center, but then North Penn tied it in the second on Tori Chiu’s bloop double to shallow left.
The Trojans pushed ahead 2-1 in the fourth — Dulaney chopped a single to left — and widened the gap in the fifth, but North Penn came swinging back.
Knights answer >> Victoria Juckniewitz singled with one out, and then the two-out doubles by Greaney and Namey tightened things up to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth.
The Knights were getting their licks in against the finest pitcher they saw this spring.
“We hadn’t seen a pitcher this good,” Torresani said. “We’ve seen teams that hit the ball well, but we haven’t seen a pitcher this good, that threw above 60. There just isn’t anybody in our area that does that, with the movement.
“We hit her. We hit line drives right at people, and then we hit a couple balls where we scored those two runs. If Victoria’s hit came with two girls on, if Jordan’s hit (in the fourth) came with girls on, it would have been a different story. It just wasn’t in the cards today for us.”
Dulaney finished strong for Parkland, retiring four straight to end it. In the seventh, the Knights were still up to speed, but Emily Groarke lined out to second, Greaney grounded out to short, and Namey lofted a fly to center.
“We never lost hope,” Namey said. “Until that last pitch, we were still hoping to make that comeback.”

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