Toth shines at future home, sends Daniel Boone by Penn Manor in PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal

ANNVILLE — Savannah Toth was exactly where she belonged.

With the score tied and runners on second and third base in the sixth inning, the Daniel Boone catcher stepped up to the plate she will call home for the next four years.

“When I found out (Wednesday) that we’d be playing this game here, I actually cried,’ admits Toth who will attend Lebanon Valley College to play softball in the fall. “I was so excited to get to play it here. It almost felt like it was meant to be.’

Toth delivered the eventual game-winner with two outs, a two-run single up the middle to send the Blazers to a 3-1 win over Penn Manor in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon at Lebanon Valley College.

The win sends the Blazers to their first PIAA Class AAAA semifinal since making the switch from AAA entering the 2011 season. Daniel Boone will face Parkland — 5-3 winners over Perkiomen Valley — on Monday afternoon at a site and time to be determined.

“It was an awesome feeling,’ said Toth, who also had a double. “Off the bat, I knew it would be a hit, but I wasn’t sure if we’d score two runs. But to look up at the scoreboard and see us take that lead … it was huge.’

Penn Manor’s Brittany Hook, who shut out District 1 champion Owen J. Roberts a day earlier, had her way with the Blazers through the first six innings.

The freshman posted 14 strikeouts on the day, and held the Blazers to just one hit (Toth’s double) before things unraveled in the sixth.

First baseman Gabby Willman came up huge for the Blazers, as she knocked in Bekah Slattery to tie the game 1-1 one batter before Toth had the go-ahead hit.

“(Hook) did a really good job of keeping us off-balance in our first two at-bats,’ said Willman. “When it was time to face her a third time, we just tried to control the tempo at the plate. I knew she was getting tired, so I wanted to sit back and wait for something I could hit.’

In the circle for Daniel Boone, Slattery went all seven innings where she let one run cross on four hits and a walk while striking out 10.

The senior was able to limit any damage throughout, but Penn Manor manufactured what was almost the difference in the bottom of the fourth on two hits to score courtesy runner Maddy Curtis.

“It’s never a good feeling when the other team scores in the later innings,’ said Slattery. “But I still had a lot of confidence in our bats. We’d been in this position before, so we just needed to get a few key hits.’

Slattery provided the first of the key hits with a single in the top of the sixth to get the team’s three-run rally started.

“We knew it was now or never,’ she said. “We had the top of our order coming up, and a lot of us were due for a hit. I knew that if I got on, there were plenty of bats behind me who would make something happen.’

Sydney Hayes followed up Slattery’s single with one of her own, eventually coming around to score with Willman on Toth’s single to center.

The Blazers notched four of their five hits in the decisive inning.

“We made the adjustments that we needed to make,’ said Daniel Boone head coach Traci Huddleson. “That’s a testament to the character of this team. They’re all heart and never give up all the way down to the last out.’

Coming off a win where Jenna Piccarreta delivered the decisive late-inning RBI from the bottom of the order in the state opener on Wednesday, Huddleson says any one of her players have the ability to supply the big-time hit when it is most needed.

“On any given day, any of these girls can make the difference,’ she said. “It’s a really special group from the top to bottom of our lineup. I have all the confidence in the world in each and every one of these girls, and I know they have the same confidence in each other.’

Now the Blazers will look forward to their semifinal game on Monday.

“No one is ready to call it a season yet,’ said Slattery. “We’ve done a lot of things well and won a lot of games to get to states. Why stop now?’

Her catcher echoed the sentiment.

“We just need to keep playing hard and getting the key hits,’ said Toth. “We’ve played really well just to get this far, so there’s no reason to stop now.’

This far into the playoffs, the Blazers look like they are right where they belong.

NOTES — Slattery was effective on the mound, needing just 85 pitches on the afternoon while Hook threw 121. … Slattery struck out each of Penn Manor’s starters at least once.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply