Last updated: July 22. 2013 6:52PM - 2863 Views

Plains shortstop Liz Ellsworth, left, goes for the ball as St. Mary's Cassie Daniels takes second in the Little League senior softball state championship game in Briar Creek on Monday afternoon.
Plains shortstop Liz Ellsworth, left, goes for the ball as St. Mary's Cassie Daniels takes second in the Little League senior softball state championship game in Briar Creek on Monday afternoon.
Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:

BRIAR CREEK – The Plains Senior All-Stars know all about memorable seventh innings.

Sunday’s state semifinal brought intense joy stoked by a dramatic four-run rally. Monday’s state title game will be a nightmare that lingers for some time.

Two calls by the District 13 umpiring crew opened the door for St. Mary’s. The exceptional team from District 10 turned both calls into runs, overcoming a one-run deficit in their last at-bat for a 4-3 victory over Plains at Ber-Vaughn Park.

St. Mary’s heads to regional play in Massachusetts, while the Plains stars are left to wonder why they aren’t packing their bags. Players broke down – from Keighlyn Oliver collapsing on the basepaths and crying out in misery as the final out was recorded to tearful group embraces well after the post-game festivities concluded.

“She was out at home!” Plains second baseman Kayla Cunningham exclaimed in one grouping.

“We knew they were going to bring everything they had,” Plains manager Ric Miles said. “We have no complaints. Do we feel like we got robbed? Yeah, but that’s part of the game.”

St. Mary’s trailed 3-2 as Sophie Yanek stepped into the batter’s box to open the seventh inning. Plains pitcher Kaya Swanek went low and inside with her first offering, making Yanek spring out of the way of the ball, which went to the backstop. The home plate umpire ruled the pitch a ball and catcher Abby Shorts returned the ball to Swanek.

As Swanek prepared for her next pitch, a St. Mary’s coach claimed the ball hit Yanek, who gave no noticeable indication. The umpiring crew conferred and upon breaking the huddle awarded Yanek first base.

“If she was hit, it’s a dead ball and that should have been called by one of them,” Miles said. “Once they have a conference, there’s nothing we can do about their ruling.”

Plains got two quick outs after that call, with a fly ball to center fielder Marissa Ross becoming just the second out instead of a potential game-ender. Jackie Lenze then doubled off the fence in right-center, bringing Cassie Daniels in with the tying run. Lenze took third on the throw home.

Clean-up batter Abbey Bauer walked on four pitches, the last getting past Shorts. The catcher retrieved the ball and tossed it to Swanek covering home as Lenze raced down the line. Swanek snapped her glove toward the ground and let Lenze slide into it.

“Safe!” declared the home plate umpire to a chorus of mingling protests and cheers.

“Actually, I don’t even know if she touched home plate,” Miles said of the Lenze play. “She had that tag straight up there. She got her foot, ankle and all the way up her leg. But there’s nothing you can do to change that.”

Swanek showed her glove to the umpire as if she believed he thought she dropped the ball. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to stop questioning the call and throw to second base, as Bauer tried to take an extra base in the confusion. Shortstop Liz Ellsworth put a tag on a sliding Bauer that was called an out to end the game-altering inning.

St. Mary’s downed Plains 19-6 during round-robin play, but managed one earned run and five hits off Swanek through six innings.

“Kaya pitched a phenomenal game,” Miles said. “She came out and shut them down. These girls were hustling and making plays. They played with their hearts.”

Down a run after Brittany Geitner’s RBI-single in the top of the second, Plains opened the bottom of the inning with three straight hits to take the lead. Ross singled and scored on a double by Swanek that reached the fence even after clipping pitcher Bauer’s glove. Ellsworth then singled to left, with the ball slowed by third baseman Rachel Stauffer’s glove, allowing Swanek to touch home.

Katie Colleran made it 3-1 in the third by singling and scoring on an error.

Many Plains players started as underage players in Senior ball, completing four seasons in the division. They won three Section 5 titles and played in two state championship games.

St. Mary’s`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Cassie Daniels rf`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Sydney Hoffman lf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Megan Henderson ph`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jackie Lenze cf`3`2`1`1`1`0`0

Abbey Bauer p`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Cheyenne Bothun pr`0`1`0`0`0`0`0

Jolene Renwick c`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Rachel Stauffer 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Brittany Geitner dh`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

Jessica Tettis 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Sophie Yanak 1b`2`0`1`0`0`0`0

Sara Newell ss`0`0`0`0`0`0`0



Keighlyn Oliver lf`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

Katie Colleran 1b`4`1`1`0`0`0`0

Kayla Cunningham 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Marissa Ross cf`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Kaya Swanek p`3`1`1`1`1`0`0

Liz Ellsworth ss`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

Sam Conway 3b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Abby Shorts c`3`0`2`0`0`0`0

Sam Rajza pr`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Julie Suchocki rf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


St. Mary’s`010`001`2`—`4



St. Mary’s

Bauer, W`7`6`3`2`0`2


Swanek, L`7`6`4`3`2`3

All user comments are subject to our Terms of Service. Users may flag inappropriate comments.
comments powered by Disqus

Featured Businesses


Info Minute

Gas Prices

Wilkes-Barre Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com