Berwick hopes to continue wild ride

June 9th, 2015 11:31 pm - updated: 11:31 pm.

First Posted: 6/3/2014

Well that was different. Very different.

Berwick defied all the odds — and softball logic — to move to today’s PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals. The District 2 champion Dawgs (16-4) will play D12 champion Lansdale Catholic (19-5) at 2 p.m. at Patriots Park in Allentown. The game is part of a doubleheader at the site, with Bristol and South Williamsport playing a Class A quarterfinal at noon.

High school softball, especially in the state tournament, is often a game of scratching and clawing for runs. Bunt, sacrifice, steal. Do all three some more. Hope for a defensive miscue to squeeze out a low-scoring victory.

And then there is Berwick. Its first-round state game resembled a pickup softball game at a family reunion, minus the 300-pound uncle trying to relive his Little League glory days.

Final score — Berwick 18, Mifflinburg 12.

“I credit a lot of that to the Wyoming Area game we played,” Berwick coach Brian Bridge said of staying focused during the chaotic early innings. “We were up big and they came back on us at the end. We learned a lot from that. That’s our mindset now. They know these games are all going to come down to the last out.”

Berwick had a 7-0 lead against Wyoming Area in the district semifinals and hung on for a 8-7 victory. The Dawgs were up 10-3 going into the bottom of the second versus Mifflinburg. Mifflinburg, though, tied the score with seven runs only to see Berwick come back with seven runs in the third.

The game settled down from the fourth inning on, but did make for some interesting sidenotes. Here are a couple of them using 2005 — the year the PIAA went to four classifications in softball — as a starting point.

• There have been 572 state playoffs games from 2005 through this year’s first round. Berwick is the only team in that span to surrender 12 runs and still win. A couple teams won allowing nine runs.

• The first round is usually a prime location for shutouts, with 42 percent of openers ending with one team failing to score. Instead, Berwick and Mifflinburg combined for the most runs in a first-round game.

Now many of those games were played prior to the pitching rubber being moved back from 40 feet to 43 in 2011. But still, it was a wild ride in the first round.

Now comes D12 champion Lansdale Catholic, which had a rough first inning against D3 runner-up Donegal in its opener before prevailing 8-4. Senior Kristin Szczepaniak was the hitting star with three RBI. She has driven in three or more runs in five games.

The Crusaders don’t bring as many big bats into today’s game as Mifflinburg did. Greta Sheridan (.381), Szczepaniak (.343), Kaelyn Motts (.308) and Alyssa Messina (.303) are the only regulars hitting over .300. Sophomore pitcher Ashley Seal has posted six shutouts, but her strikeout numbers — 68 in 95.1 innings — resemble many pitchers Berwick has faced this year.


The PIAA will be crowning four new champions on June 13 with Canon McMillan’s 5-4 loss to DuBois in the Class 4A first round.

The three other 2013 champions failed to make the state playoffs. Class 3A Valley View was knocked off by Tunkhannock in the District 2 semifinals. Class 2A Brandywine Heights lost in the District 3 semifinals. Class A Williams Valley fell in the District 11 title game.



Numbers before each teams are district and seed.


Monday’s Results

Avon Grove 5, Central 0

Parkland 5, Spring-Ford 0

Archbishop Ryan 6, North Penn 0

Lower Dauphin 2, Hazleton Area 0

Souderton 12, Cumberland Valley 3

Central Mountain 7, Manheim Twp. 6

Latrobe 6, Shaler 4

DuBois 5, Canon McMillan 4

Thursday’s Games


• D1-1 Avon Grove vs. D11-1 Parkland, 2 p.m. Souderton H.S.

• D12-1 Archbishop Ryan vs. D3-2 Lower Dauphin, noon, Lyons Field, Fleetwood

• D1-3 Souderton vs. D6-1 Central Mountain, 4 p.m. Messiah College

• D7-3 Latrobe vs. D9-1 DuBois, 5 p.m. Slippery Rock University

Monday, June 9


• Avon Grove/Parkland winner vs. Archbishop Ryan/Lower Dauphin winner

• Souderton/Cent. Mountain winner vs. Latrobe/DuBois

Friday, June 13

• Championship, 12:30 p.m. Penn State University



Monday’s Results

Radnor 10, Franklin Towne Charter 0

Bethlehem Catholic 3, Lampeter Strasburg 2

Lansdale Catholic 8, Donegal 4

Berwick 18, Mifflinburg 12

Springfield-Delco 4, Shippensburg 2

St. Mary’s 5, Mars 4

Thomas Jefferson 8, Bellefonte 3

Greensburg Salem 2, Warren 0

Thursday’s Games


• D1-1 Radnor vs. D11-1 Bethlehem Catholic, noon Souderton H.S.

• D12-1 Lansdale Catholic vs. D2-1 Berwick, 2 p.m. Patriots Park, Allentown

• D1-2 Springfield-Delco vs. D9-1 St. Mary’s, 4 p.m. Bloomsburg University

• D7-1 Thomas Jefferson vs. D7-3 Greensburg Salem, noon Baldwin H.S.

Monday, June 9


• Radnor/Beth. Catholic winner vs. Lansdale Cath./Berwick winner

• Springfield-Delco/St. Mary’s winner vs. Jefferson/Greensburg Salem winner

Friday, June 13

• Championship, 5:30 p.m. Penn State University



Monday’s Results

Susquenita 10, Swenson 1

Pen Argyl 3, St. Basil’s 2

Delone Catholic 7, Conwell Egan 6

Central Columbia 5, Holy Cross 4

Beaver 6, Everett 0

Phillipsburg-Osceola 19, Moniteau 6

Bald Eagle 2, Seton LaSalle 1

Wilmington 8, Deer Lakes 7

Thursday’s Games


• D3-1 Susquenita vs. D11-1 Pen Argyl, 4 p.m. Lyons Field, Fleetwood

• D3-2 Delone Catholic vs. D4-1 Central Columbia, 2 p.m. Lyons Field, Fleetwood

• D7-1 Beaver vs. D6-2 Phillipsburg-Osceola, 4 p.m. St. Francis University

• D6-1 Bald Eagle vs. D10-1 Wilmington, 1 p.m. Slippery Rock University

Monday, June 9


• Susquenita/Pen Argyl winner vs. Delone Cath./Cent. Columbia winner

• Beaver/Phillipsburg-Osceola winner vs. Bald Eagle/Wilmington winner

Friday, June 13

• Championship, 10 a.m. Penn State University



Monday’s Results

Bristol 24, GAMP 0

South Williamsport 5, Old Forge 3

Minersville 13, Bloomsburg 3

Halifax 5, Hope of Hyndman 0

Neshannock 11, Smethport 1

Burgettstown 6, Southern Huntington 4

Claysburg Kimmel 8, DuBois Cent. Cath. 2

Iroquois 10, Southside Beaver 7

Thursday’s Games


• D1-1 Bristol vs. D4-1 South Williamsport, noon Patriots Park, Allentown

• D11-1 Minersville vs. D3-1 Halifax, 2 p.m. Bloomsburg University

• D7-1 Neshannock vs. D7-3 Burgettstown, noon North Allegheny H.S.

• D6-2 Claysburg Kimmel vs. D10-1 Iroquois, 3 p.m. Slippery Rock University

Monday, June 9


• Bristol/South Williamsport winner vs. Minersville/Halifax winner

• Neshannock/Burgettstown winner vs. Claysburg Kimmel/Iroquois winner

Friday, June 13

• Championship, 3 p.m. Penn State University