Softball team earns state berth
The Whitehall softball team clinched their first state playoff berth since 2009 with a dramatic 8-6 win over second seed Northampton in the District XI playoffs.
The game was postponed three times due to rain. The first two delays pushed the start from Tuesday until Thursday and the third postponement forced the game to be concluded on Friday.
Abby Vivian scored the first run of the game in the top of the third when she walked, stole second, advanced to third on a single by Rachel Arner, and scored on a Northampton error.
The play of the game happened in the bottom of the third. Northampton had scored two runs to take the lead and had cleanup hitter Hannah Boggs at the plate with a runner on second. Boggs hit a shot to center field that cleared the fence, but not Meghan Hutter’s outstretched glove. Hutter leaned into the fence and snagged the ball, denying Northampton two additional runs.
A triple by Arner keyed a 3-run fifth inning that put the Zephyrs up 4-2. That score stood when the game was stopped in the bottom of the fifth with Northampton at bat, no outs, and a runner on first.
When the game resumed on Friday, the Kids attempted a steal on the first pitch. The runner was thrown out which proved critical as Northampton homered on the next pitch to cut the score to 4-3.
Whitehall got the run back in the top of the sixth when Amanda Mortimer knocked in Madi Cunningham from second.
In the top of the seventh, a Mackenzie Laub double drove in Arner and Lindsey Gawrys. Laub eventually scored on a Northampton error to give the Zephyrs a seemingly comfortable 8-3 lead with 3 outs to go.
The Kids made things interesting. They scored 3 runs and had runners on first and second with 2 outs. The batter hit a sinking line drive to center. Hutter charged in, dove at full extension, and raised her glove containing the yellow ball to end the game and send the Zephyrs to states.
Because of the postponements, the team was forced to wait around at the field to take on Parkland for the district title two hours later. The Trojans played the earlier semifinal game on Thursday and were able to complete it before the rain rolled in.
When the championship game began with a Hutter single and an Arner walk, it seemed that there was a chance that the magical run might continue for the Zephyrs.
However Parkland’s ace, Kelly Dulaney, recorded a pair of strikeout to snuff out the first inning threat and then hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to plate the first two runs of the game.
A couple of defensive miscues contributed to four Trojan runs in the bottom of the third and an air of inevitability descended over Pates Park. Parkland clinched their 5th District XI title in 6 years by the final score of 6-0.