PIAA Class 5A Softball: Marple Newtown doesn’t exit quietly in loss to Lampeter-Strasburg

MILLERSVILLE — The dugout was lively as Marple Newtown came to bat in the top of the seventh inning, trailing Lampeter-Strasburg by six runs in the opening round of the PIAA Class 5A softball tournament.

Every player on the team was up against the fence, making as much noise as possible. It remained that way the entire inning. If this was going to be the Tigers’ last hurrah, they weren’t going to go quietly.

“That’s our thing all year,” junior shortstop Lindsey Walsh said. “We really are a family here and we love every single second we get to spend on the field together. That’s what was so great about this year. We got so far together and we loved every part of it, every practice, every game, every inning. It’s been so much fun.”

“No matter what, if we’re down 12 or whatever the number, we’re cheering for our teammates,” junior pitcher Kelsey Racine added. “We’re always going to be there for each other, cheer them on, pick them up when they’re down. If there’s a bad play, shake it off. We support each other no matter what.”

The raucous noise and undying support for one another couldn’t undo the Tigers’ deficit, howevever, as the Pioneers posted an 8-2 victory at Millersville University in this state softball tourney opener Monday.

The District 3 champion Pioneers (24-1) scored single runs in the first, second, third and fifth innings and broke the game open with four runs in the sixth inning to extend their winning streak to 23 games and set up a quarterfinal meeting with Springfield Thursday at a site to be determined.

“You have to give them credit,” Marple Newtown coach Mike Snow said of the Pioneers. “They painted the lines. They hit the chalk a couple of times, a triple here, a double there. They got up on us and we had to battle to get back in it.”

Delaware-bound shortstop Chloe Blantz’s leadoff triple in the first inning set the offensive tone for the Pioneers. She ripped a 2-2 offering from Racine just over the first-base bag and into the right-field corner. Blantz would score on Daisy Frank’s sacrifice fly and finish with two triples and three runs scored.

Blantz wasn’t the only Pioneer to do damage. Pitcher Keiva Middleton went 2-for-4, drove in two runs and scored once. Emily Platt also was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. The Pioneers finished with 10 hits.

“They’re a great hitting team,” Walsh said. “They’re a fabulous hitting team. They had a lot of hits. It was really cool to play them here, but they were a great team. We tried our best, but they got the best of us today.”

Not without a fight, though. Amanda Smith got Marple Newtown on the board when she singled home pinch runner Dimetra Thompson in the third inning. Walsh drove in Shauna Kerrigan in the top of the sixth inning to get the Tigers (17-7) within 4-2, but it was as close as Marple Newtown would get as Lampeter-Strasburg iced the victory with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Yet that didn’t stop the Tigers from making their presence known.

“I’m so beyond proud of this team,” Racine said. “We’ve done amazing things. We beat teams I never thought we would beat. We made memories and we made a mark this year.”

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