By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
After Gabby Shrawder made an incredible diving catch in shallow center field to preserve Warrior Run's District 4 Class AA win over Loyalsock in May, Tay Parker probably exhaled a sigh of relief. At the same time, though, the Defenders ace pitcher was a little upset.
Sure, the win meant she and the Defenders were state tournament-bound yet again. It also meant that one of Parker's best friends -- Loyalsock catcher Amanda Daneker -- wasn't going to go out a district champion.
"It was very emotional for us knowing we both wanted to win districts for our last year in high school, but only one was going to walk away as a winner," Parker said.
As the teams lined up to shake hands after the game, Parker and Daneker simply hugged one another and began to cry together. They weren't just two high school friends at opposing schools; their friendship forged on the softball field goes back nearly a decade.
Since they were nine, the two have been playing softball either with or against one another at various levels, from Little League and ASA through high school.
"It's always a pleasure to play with Amanda. She is very competitive and is a great catcher," Parker said.
"Tay is an amazing person. She is someone you can go to just to talk and share a laugh with," Daneker said. "We have had so many laughs together. Taylor can always pick you up when you are down."
Perhaps, then, it was only fitting that their friendship culminated this summer when Parker and Daneker teamed up for the final time at the 18U ASA "A" National Championship with the Sports Connection, a team based out of Langhorne. The team features players from Pennsbury, Central Bucks South and Truman High School, with Parker and Daneker both coming from almost three hours away to their "home field," which is located roughly 10 minutes from New Jersey.