By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
With a huge smile on her face, Warrior Run ace Tay Parker almost couldn't contain her excitement after winning another District 4 Class AA title on Friday at Elm Park.
Without question, no one on the Defenders forgets that stinging loss at State College in the 2012 state championship, and Parker, along with her teammates, have one simple goal: "Hopefully this year we win states. (We want to) make it farther than last year," she said.
And obviously the only way to make it farther is to win the whole thing.
That journey begins today as Warrior Run (20-3) faces Holy Redeemer (15-0) in the first round of the Class AA state tournament at Wilkes University .
The first pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Holy Redeemer won the District 2 Class AA title, 4-3, over Holy Cross at Wilkes on Thursday. For the Royals, it marked the first district title in school history.
The showdown is sure to be an intriguing matchup of pitchers.
Holy Redeemer enters the game with pitcher Kaya Swankey fresh off a 16-strikeout performance against Holy Cross, but the Royals will have an extremely tough test with the Defenders batting order.
Warrior Run has arguably one of the deepest and most potent hitting lineups from top to bottom.
The Defenders have seven batters who have at least 15 hits this season, five of which have at least 20. Parker leads the way at 39 hits through 23 games, including a team-high five homers.
Parker has been nothing short of stellar this postseason in the circle too, tossing a 16-strikeout no-hitter against 2012 state finalist Southern Columbia in the Class AA semifinals before giving up only three hits to a potent Loyalsock offense while striking out nine.
The Defenders have given up just one run through three postseason games, a solo home run in the first inning against Wyalusing. Since that solo shot, Parker and Warrior Run have gone 20 straight innings without letting a run cross the plate.