ARCHBALD — The common refrain from the Nanticoke Area dugout was that they were just happy to be moving onto the next round.
Whether or not it was a euphemism about lowering expectations after last year is difficult to say. Surely, last year’s devastating 10th inning semifinal loss which ended their undefeated season hung heavy on their minds.
Perhaps the best way to forget last year’s loss to Wyoming Area is to bank on a big hit from a player that was not even on that year’s roster.
Sophomore Madison Stashak ignited the Nanticoke Area offense to a five-run inning that propelled the Trojanettes to the championship game for the first time in four seasons. Third-seeded Nanticoke Area blanked Valley View 7-0 in the District 2 Class 4A semifinal Tuesday on the road.
“All of the credit to the girls – they are very relaxed,” Nanticoke Area coach Ryan Stetz said. “They know their roles. They bought in. This is all of the credit to our girls in the dugout; I am so proud to be their coach.”
Nanticoke will face No. 1 Tunkhannock in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Wilkes University.
Stashak drove in what would be a game-winning opportunity in an electrifying third inning for the Trojanettes. Elizabeth Redenski opened the inning with a bunt single. Stashak was originally instructed to lay down a bunt, but after the second pitch an errant pick-off throw advanced Redenski to second base.
With the bunt signal called off, Stashak teed off on a low fastball, sending it to the left-center warning track for an RBI double.
“I just felt like I was going to get my team pumped up,” Stashak said. “That’s what they did. And they put runs on the board after.
“I had so many emotions going through my head that I didn’t even know how to handle it. I was so excited.”
The Nanticoke Area hit parade lasted for six consecutive hits. Gabby Rakowski drove in Stashak with a double to right field. Miranda Bohn dropped a hit into left field that sent Jen Kurkoski home. Brinley Sobeck capped off the five-run inning with a two-RBI double down the left field line.
“We were just short with our swings,” Stetz said. “We tried to get girls on base and move them over. And we’re just happy to be playing for a district championship. We play for the moment. We are not looking to do much and relax.”
Bohn stranded nine Cougars on base in a complete-game shutout. On four separate occasions, she got out of jams with Valley View runners at first and second base. She finished with two strikeouts and allowed nine hits.
Bohn kept Valley View scoreless with a strikeout looking of Breanne Ritko to end the second inning. After her offense put up five on the board in the third, she escaped the bottom frame by knocking down a come-backer and throwing over to first to end the two-runner threat.
“Our girls are very specific in their positions,” Stetz said. “It all comes down to Miranda. We have all of the confidence in her. She never lets them line the ball up. Her ball is real heavy so it is hard to get a good hit off her.”
Nanticoke Area’s Rakowski finished with a three-hit performance with a run and an RBI. Sobeck had two RBI, and Redenski went 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Trojanettes last won a district championship in 2015. They advanced to the PIAA semifinals that season.
DISTRICT 2 CLASS 4A SEMIFINAL
Nanticoke Area 7, Valley View 0
Nanticoke`005`000`2 — 7
Valley View`000`000`0 — 0
2B — Stashak, Rakowski, Sobeck
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