By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
Well, it's that time again.
Months of hard work have carried a number of Valley teams to the district playoffs in baseball and softball.
Certain ones, such as Shamokin softball, with a 10-10 record as the sixth seed in the District 4 AAA bracket, squeaked into the postseason and are looking to upset their way to a title.
Others will be able to relax ("relax" being a relative term as there is rarely a calm postseason moment) with a first-round bye and await the winner of a play-in game. One such team with the luxury of added rest is Warrior Run (17-3), which enters the postseason as the top seed in District 4 AA.
The Defenders have benefitted largely from the right arm of a Bloomsburg recruit, senior Taylor Parker. Parker has essentially made the batter's box a revolving door, with seven no-hitters (two of them perfect games) and 11 shutouts. At the plate, Parker has found similar success, leading the area with 35 hits, including five home runs.
If the best teams in the Class AA bracket take care of business, the Defenders will face fourth-seed Southern Columbia in the semifinals in a matchup between two state finalists from a year ago. The Tigers will first have to cool a hot-hitting Lourdes squad before worrying about Warrior Run. Lourdes is led by Charlee Rosini and Emily Long who have each hit well over .400 this season. Southern has its own tough outs at the top of the lineup, led by Tomaschik with an area-best six long balls.
In an area rich with pitching talent, the task for hitters will not be any easier in Class AAA as a higher seed would likely have to best Alli Lloyd and top-seeded Mifflinburg to win a district championship. The senior has tossed six shutouts and has received run support from a plethora of hitters, led by standout freshman Kayla Kline, who can give opposing pitchers fits. Mifflinburg will face the winner of the four-five matchup between Jersey Shore and Danville, with the semifinal coming May 28. The Ironmen have reached the postseason behind Tara Fritz on the mound and Alyssa Shaw and Zina Knight on offense.