The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 2, 2014

High School Softball: Halifax advances to state quarters

NEWVILLE — Tracy Cox wanted something a little sweeter dumped on her head when her players mobbing her during the postgame celebration.

After all, Halifax was back in the state playoffs, so this called for a drink other than water to splash over the Halifax coach. Her players brought the goods, emptying two bottles of Gatorade on their coach after bringing the goods on the field to earn the right to bask in the glory.

Chelsea Konyar shut out HOPE for Hyndman Charter and the Halifax offense came through to lead the Wildcats to a 5-0 win in the first round of the PIAA Class A tournament Monday.

“It’s actually very exciting,” Konyar said of the win. “We were all kinds of nervous early, but we definitely showed on the field that we weren’t.”

With the victory, the Wildcats (14-8) won their first state playoff game since a one-run victory over Bristol in the first round in 2002. Halifax will face Minersville in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Konyar limited the Hornets (14-9) to one hit in a complete-game win, a single to Kayla Wilt in the first inning, and struck out six. Konyar, who has shown an affinity for the big moment, moved her pitches around in and out of the zone throughout the game, inducing weak contact with an error-free defense behind her.

“I just wanted to pitch my game and then have my teammates back me up,” Konyar said.

The Hornets threatened to score in the first inning. A walk and the single to Wilt put runners on second and third with one out in the first, with Wilt sprinting to second safely after Lindsay Shroyer broke for third, drawing a throw.

Rather than put a pitch where it could be crushed for a run-scoring hit, Konyar settled herself and went back to work in the circle, inducing a popup shallow on the outfield grass for the second out without a chance for a run to come home.

Julie Sanders ran the count full in the next at-bat, fouling off a pair of pitches to keep the inning alive, but Konyar threw a 3-2 pitch past Sanders to get out of the inning unscathed.

“That girl has guts, man,” Cox said of Konyar. “She doesn’t give anything up. She knows what to do. She’s smart and that gets her through a lot of the games.”

Halifax quickly made the Hornets pay for leaving runners in scoring position with a Paige Miller single and a walk by Davia Erdman coupled with alert base running, placing runners on second and third with no outs.

Miller and Erdman each swiped bases to move into scoring position, but a pair of popups left the inning up to Melody Davis.

Davis sliced a ball to right field, clipping the line to drive in two runs and give Halifax an early 2-0 lead.

With some cushion to work with, Konyar settled in, not allowing a runner past second base after the first inning, hitting her spots consistently and trusting her defense to make plays behind her.

The Wildcats weren’t finished putting runs on the board, with Kassidy Sorichetti hitting a blooper that got past the outfielders, allowing her to slide safely into third with one out in the fifth. After Miller worked a walk, the Wildcats scored three runs without a ball leaving the infield, taking advantage of two errors and a wild pitch to race home.

Konyar pitched a perfect seventh inning and ended the game with a strikeout.

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