The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 28, 2014

High School Softball: Halifax captures D-3 championship

HALIFAX — Paige Miller squeezed her glove tight around the ball and the significance of the moment for Halifax sunk in immediately.

Twelve years of waiting for a district title had been swept away in seven short innings — Halifax was the district champion again.

The Wildcats outlasted Millersburg, 3-1, in the District 3 Class A championship game at Halifax High School on Wednesday, giving the Wildcats their first district title since 2002.

With the win, Halifax will play in the first round of the PIAA Class A tournament against the District 5 champion — yet to be determined — on Monday.

“All through the season, we felt we were going to win the league,” Halifax coach Tracy Cox said.

While the league title fell through the Wildcats’ grasp, Halifax (14-8) was able to huddle together in front of home plate after the game with gold medals around their necks and the district championship trophy front and center.

“It feels amazing,” Halifax left fielder Davia Erdman said of the district title with a shocked smile on display. “We started out the season (and) we beat everyone in our league and then we kind of got in a funk. But we pulled ourselves together as a team.”

Chelsea Konyar pitched seven innings of one-run ball in the circle and watched as the Wildcats’ defense behind her smothered grounders and fired across the diamond time and time again to prevent base runners from reaching safely.

“I have a lot of faith in my defense,” Konyar said. “I know they’re there to back me up.”

The error-less defense behind her allowed Konyar to appear as relaxed for the first hitter she faced as she did one out from a win, repeating the same motion in the circle regardless of the situation.

The Halifax defense figuratively stood on its head for its senior pitcher in the bottom of the sixth after Millersburg (13-6) had runners on first and second with one out and dangerous hitter Marlo Roadcap in the batter’s box.

Roadcap grounded the ball sharply to Morgan Cox at shortstop, but rather than fire over to first base for the out, Cox turned and threw to third for a force out, preventing putting the tying run at second with two outs.

The Wildcats were not out of trouble, as Mariah Armor lined a ball into right field that sliced sharply towards the grass. But Melody Davis snagged the ball a split-second before it fell with a diving catch to end the inning.

The heads-up defensive plays by the Wildcats could have loomed even larger if not for smart base running by Halifax in the top of the fifth.

After Kassidy Sorichetti led off working a hard-fought walk, Erdman bunted a ball that came to a stop a few inches in front of home plate. Without a fair or foul signal making the play dead, Erdman sprinted to first base while confusion set in.

Sorichetti took off for third base and an errant throw allowed Sorichetti to score to give the Wildcats the lead. An alert Erdman continued to hustle, making her way to third before the ball was thrown back into the infield.

Erdman scored on a passed ball to extend the Halifax lead to 3-1.

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