The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 31, 2013

Amateur softball: Local 18U ASA team comes up a little short in nationals

Daily Item

---- — By Jon Gerardi

The Daily Item

The River Valley Valkyries 18U ASA team played solid this past weekend in Canton, Ohio, for the 2013 Eastern National championships, but left without a championship banner.

The Valkyries -- which consists of area high school players from Mifflinburg, Milton and Shikellamy -- lost both pool play games on Friday, a 7-4 losses to the Line Drive Maroon from Michigan and Ohio Glory.

On Saturday in the double elimination bracket, the Valkyries lost to the Danville Bandits, 11-8, led by Danville High's Tara Fritz, before losing to Puma's (Ohio), 12-0.

"I am proud of these girls. Not necessarily for making nationals, but more proud of how they conduct themselves on and off the field. Make no mistake, when we take the field we expect to win," Valkyries manager Bill Brennan said. "You learn more from your failures than from success and you can learn a lot about someone when things don't go well.

"I'm proud that they were willing to accept the challenge and that they handled themselves with class, and I know they will be better ballplayers because of it," Brennan added.

The Valkyries were either tied or held a lead in all but their final game.

Against the Line Drive Maroon, the Valkyries used a 4-run third inning to tie the game before allowing three runs in the final two innings. The Valkyries trailed 2-0 early against Ohio Glory before a 2-run rally in the third tied it.

The Danville Bandits led by a run after both the first (3-2) and second innings (5-4) before the Valkyries went ahead 7-5 after three. Danville responded with six runs in the next four innings to put the game away.

HAC-I all-star and Mifflinburg standout McKenzie Noll was solid offensively all tournament, going a combined 5-for-11 with three RBIs.

Taylor Batman, an upcoming Milton senior and HAC-I all-star selection, went all seven innings in the first game in the circle while Shikellamy's Kelsey Zimmerman pitched all seven against the Ohio Glory and four against Danville before Batman relieved her.

Milton's Mary Adams led the Valkyries offensively with a 5-for-7 performance over the weekend, including a team-high two doubles, three RBIs and a run. Bethany Brennan went 3-for-6 with a triple and three RBIs while Batman was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run. Kate Gensel went 2-for-3.

Against the Bandits, Shikellamy's Cortney Lahr went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run.

Of the 11 girls on the Valkyries, seven have two or more years of eligibility at the 18U level still remaining.

"They trust the process and they know it's not what you have done, but what you do next that matters," Brennan said.