Kutztown falls to St. Basil in state quarterfinals

After defeating Conwell-Egan, 1-0 in the first round of the PIAA State Class AA Softball Tournament, the Kutztown Lady Cougars earned themselves a berth in the quarterfinals, just three wins away from a state championship. But the Cougars’ second round opponents, St. Basil, weren’t about to make it easy. As it turned out, the Cougars were unable to solve St. Basil pitcher Nichole Eberhard who allowed just two Kutztown hits in a 5-1 St. Basil victory.

“I was hoping our offense would be a bit more aggressive after our first time through the batting order, but that didn’t happen,’ said Kutztown head coach Kevin Conrad. “Still, they played well and did their best. We have had a great season. This was our second time in four years to be playing in states and I know we’ll be back again.’

The loss ended the season for Kutztown with an overall record of 19-7, which included a Division 3 championship, a second place finish in the district, and advancing to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs.

“As a coaching staff, we couldn’t be any prouder of our teams this year,’ said Coach Conrad. “Our JV team had a very successful season. The varsity sets their goal to be still playing in June and we did that. Our seniors were true leaders, they took the underclassmen under their wings and mentored them through the season. Their dedication will rub off on the younger girls and carry over into the future. This is a group of young ladies of which we couldn’t be any prouder. They all play as a team and that’s what we hope for in the start of the season.’

St. Basil got on the board first, scoring one run in the bottom of the second off Kutztown pitcher Jenna Grim. St. Basil then opened things up with four runs in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Amanda Clark.

Logan Savidge got the first hit of the game for Kutztown in the fourth inning. Balthaser doubled home pinch runner Jill Seifert later in the inning to cut the lead to 5-1. They turned out to be the only two hits of the game for Kutztown.

Grim shutout St. Basil the rest of the way, but the Cougars were unable to pull off the comeback.

Coach Conrad is already looking forward to next season.

“We had two sophomores and two freshman on varsity throughout playoffs,’ he said. “They had significant playing time all season. There were 13 freshman out for the team this year and a large eighth grade class moving up next year. I’m expecting our experienced upperclassmen to guide and motivate the underclassmen just as this year’s seniors have done. We will set goals as we always do and one of our team goals will be to still be playing in June of 2016.’

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