EXETER >> Upper Dublin’s season came to an end in the PIAA-5A state quarterfinals Thursday afternoon with a 10-0 loss against Northern York in six innings at Exeter Township Senior High School.
(3-1) Northern York jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and led the rest of the way. After a leadoff walk, the Polar Bears tallied three straight hits to score the game’s first three runs. They made it 4-0 when a runner scored on a wild pitch.
“Maybe we just didn’t know what worked yet,” Upper Dublin pitcher Kyla Garrison, who settled in after the first inning, said.
Garrison, a freshman who struck out more than 200 batters this season, threw scoreless frames in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to keep it a four-run game. She retired eight straight batters and 12 of 14 during that stretch.
“I started throwing my changeup more,” Garrison, who struck out five batters to five walks while allowing 10 runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, said. “It was definitely more effective. That was definitely something that changed.”
“She really trusted her changeup,” UD coach Heather Boyer agreed. “It was working for her well. It helps keep them off-balance, too, and her rise ball started to work for her the way it typically does. It was a smaller strike zone. She wasn’t getting the inside of the plate like she often does. That’s one of the places she’s successful at. She made the adjustments as she’s done all year. It’s just the resilience, she finds a way to battle through.”
Garrison limited any further damage until there were two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Four singles – a couple that didn’t leave the infield – and a walk helped the Polar Bears score six runs and end the game with a 10-run lead.
The Cardinals offense struggled against one of the best pitchers they’ve faced all season in Northern York sophomore Sammy Magee. The right-hander held Upper Dublin to two hits and three total baserunners while striking out eight batters across six innings.
“She’s tough,” Boyer said. “She does a great job of mixing speeds, mixing her locations. She pounds the outside corner quite well. She does a good job of keeping hitters off-balance. We talked about the approach at the plate and trying to be aggressive on the first strike you see, which is probably the best strike you’ll see. We just never really got anything going.”
“She was definitely fast and she hit her spots really well,” Upper Dublin sophomore Bella Fiore said. “I personally had some trouble timing her. She’s just a very good pitcher, very talented and confident. I think she knew what she needed to do to get us to swing and it worked.”
(1-4) Upper Dublin had one runner reach scoring position all game and it came in the first inning when Garrison hit a one-out single. Emeline Bell entered as a courtesy runner and moved to second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch. She was left there when Magee got out of the inning with a strikeout.
The loss ends a historic season for the Cardinals. They went 17-8 and won the first state playoff game in program history with a lineup that features four sophomores, three freshmen, one junior and one senior.
“It’s remarkable,” Boyer said. “We were 5-15 last year. We had more potential than I think our record showed to be able to turn it around. To be 17-8, get to the District 1 playoffs and get a win there, move on to states and get a win there – that’s a huge turnaround.”
“It’s amazing,” Fiore said. “It’s been out of a book, almost. You go into the season after last year and you expect stuff, but you don’t want to get too in your head. Just to see all the work we put in reflect – it’s just been amazing. It’s such a good group. We’ve gotten so close it’s like a family. I love it.”
Northern York 10, Upper Dublin 0 (6 innings)
Upper Dublin 000 000 – 0
Northern York 400 006 – 10
WP: Sammy Magee 6 IP 8 K 1 BB 2 H 0 R
LP: Kyla Garrison 5.2 IP 5 K 5 BB 10 H 10 R
2B: NY: Hannah Keith, Hailey Irwin.