ANNVILLE — Since Steve Allman and his Millersburg club experienced Williams Valley’s high-octane attack earlier this season — and didn’t fare that well — the Indians knew they were going to have to hit a lot to keep pace.
With all nine starters collecting at least one base hit, Williams Valley scored in every inning and roughed up the District 3 champions 15-1 in a PIAA Class A semifinal that lasted just five innings Tuesday at the Lebanon Valley College Softball Park.
“They hit everything,” Allman said.
Tori Rabuck and Grace Hoffman, the No. 8 and 9 hitters for Ryan Underkoffler’s Vikings (24-2), pounded out three hits apiece and shared seven runs batted in as the Vikings advanced to Friday’s Class A title game at Penn State’s Beard Field.
“We take pride in that,” Underkoffler said. “I’ve said it all year long that 1 through 9 we were as tough as anybody in the state. Anyone can come through clutch at any time. They can’t focus on the top half of the order; we have 1 through 9.”
Williams Valley defeated Millersburg 15-2 in late March.
Kenna Ferron, Emma Crisswell and Jamie Neiman added two hits apiece for Williams Valley — the Vikings will meet DuBois Central Catholic in Friday’s final — while Stevie Unger allowed six hits and struck out five while working with a lead throughout.
“We have 1 through 9 hitters and everyone’s powerful,” said Rabuck of a lineup that pounded out 16 hits, including three doubles.
Freshman Kierstyn Smith, who struggled with her command from the third inning on and wound up walking nine, suffered the loss for Millersburg.
Smith posted two hits in two trips for the Indians (18-5), who left the bases loaded in the third inning and had two aboard in the fourth when Williams Valley pulled off a double play to short-circuit a potential scoring opportunity.
The Vikings are headed to their fourth straight state final
While Mya Achenbach’s run-scoring double and Unger’s sacrifice fly staked the Vikings to a 2-0 lead in the first, Millersburg loaded the bases in the bottom half yet could only push across a single run on Lydia Troutman’s sacrifice fly.
“Once we heard we were the away team, we were like, ‘All right, we’ve got to jump on them right away,’” Rabuck said. “Don’t stand back, because they’ll just come back. They made it here for a reason, so we’ve got to jump on them.”
Unfortunately for the Indians, they never could get closer.
“We loaded the bases a couple times and can’t score,” said Allman, the fourth-year skipper whose program played for a berth in the 2015 state final, a year before he took over as head coach. “We’ve got to do better than that.”
The Vikings increased their lead to 4-1 in the second inning on Ferron’s run-scoring single and Achenbach’s sacrifice fly, then tacked on three more runs in the third when Hoffman popped a two-run single and Ferron followed with an RBI groundout.
Once Rabuck laced a two-run double off the fence in left center in the top half of the fourth inning, the Vikings were sitting on a comfortable 9-1 cushion.
They weren’t done, however, as Williams Valley sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth inning, chasing home six more runs to win going away as Unger, Maddy Bordner, Jamie Neiman and Rabuck authored run-scoring knocks.
Hoffman capped the inning — and the offensive fireworks — with another two-run single.
Millersburg, meanwhile, must tuck away a difficult learning experience.
“To be honest, (assistant Kayla Snyder) and I were probably the only two people who thought we could get here,” Allman said. “And she only thought that because I said it.”
PIAA CLASS A SEMIFINAL
at Lebanon Valley College
WILLIAMS VALLEY 15,
MILLERSBURG 1 (5 inn.)
Williams Valley 223 26 — 15-16-0
Millersburg 100 00 — 1-6-4
Stevie Unger and Grace Hoffman; Kierstyn Smith and Lydia Troutman.
WP: Unger. LP: Smith.
Williams Valley: Tori Rabuck 3-for-3, 3 runs, double, 3 RBIs; Hoffman 3-for-4, run, 4 RBIs; Kenna Ferron 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Emma Crisswell 2-for-2, 2 runs; Jamie Neiman 2-for-3, run, RBI; Mya Achenbach 1-for-2, run, double, 2 RBIs; Unger 1-for-3, double, 2 RBIs; Maddy Bordner 1-for-4, RBI; Alex Bogle 1-for-4, run.
Millersburg: Smith 2-for-2; Hannah Dyer 1-for-2, run; Maddi Etzweiler 1-for-3; Lacy Strait 1-for-2; Taylor Bowman 1-for-3; Troutman 0-for-1, RBI.