An unearned run in the ninth inning was all that separated Danville and Tunkhannock in the first round of the Class 4A state softball tournament last week.
So some Ironmen are now enjoying summer vacation; some are playing travel softball, but the Tigers are playing in the state final today.
After a 1-0 nine-inning win over the Ironmen, Tunkhannock beat its next two state opponents 8-0 and 5-1 to reach today’s final against Beaver.
Danville got five hits against Tunkhannock (23-2), but Tigers pitcher Kaya Hannon worked out of trouble and finished with 14 strikeouts.
“I want to say props to their pitcher,” Danville rising senior Cara Bohner said. “She held our offense down. She had really good spin on the ball, and threw a variety of pitches. It came down to extra innings.
“It was definitely a tough loss, but it was two good teams.”
The Ironmen are left with a little bit of wondering, though, especially with the continued success the Tigers have had.
“It’s definitely a sad feeling that we didn’t go further into states, but they were a good team,” recent Danville graduate Kira Snyder said. “Their pitcher was great.”
Snyder said the Ironmen offense was off against Tunkhannock, but she believed if Danville had one timely hit in that game, the Ironmen would be playing in today’s state final.
“That definitely is hard,” said Bohner, who agreed with the sentiment. “But what can you do?”
Regardless of the state defeat, the Ironmen have a lot to be proud of — including winning the program’s first district title in 21 years.
“It felt amazing to win the district title my last season of high school ball,” Snyder said. “We all felt very accomplished to reach one of our goals.”
Bohner said the team came together to accomplish its goal.
“We have a lot of girls on our team who have been playing the game for a while, and have been playing together for a while,” Bohner said. “Ever since we won Little League districts, this has been a goal for us.”
The Ironmen felt that the end of the district-title drought was coming.
“Ever since my freshman year I could say we’ve always had the potential, we just needed to learn how to play as a team and play for each other,” Snyder said. “We knew this year would be our year ever since preseason. Especially not having a season last year, we worked so hard to get to that point.”
Bohner said several members of the team played travel ball during the summer, though the coronavirus pandemic that wiped out the 2020 season limited club softball in the summer, as well.
However, Bohner said she thought the team came back better than before.
“I think taking some time off gave us more drive,” she said. “It benefitted us in the aspect of stepping away and then coming together for a common goal.”
Even if there was some benefit that paid off in 2021, missing a season was still painful.
“Not having a season last year was such a bummer,” Snyder said. “I’d say it definitely motivated us to show how much talent we have and our drive to win.”
Snyder was one of nine seniors on Danville’s roster this year — a group that includes pitcher Morgan Wagner, who will play softball at Towson next year. Snyder said she is hoping to play at Bloomsburg.
Snyder said the biggest lesson she hoped the team learned from her class was to believe in themselves, even when things weren’t going well.
Bohner, one of three juniors on the roster, seems to have taken that lesson to heart.
“Most of our starting lineup was seniors, but we had some freshmen this year that really helped us out,” she said. “We have more younger girls coming up who have played competitive travel ball, so we definitely can (repeat).
“I want to keep it going.”