PIAA softball: Rough start leads to Hazleton Area’s exit in Class 6A quarters

By Tom Robinson - For Times Leader
Hazleton Area’s Rebecca Rossi watches her drive against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area’s Taylor Kaschak legs out a single against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area pitcher Erika Book watches her double get past Neshaminy first baseman Amanda Kurtz in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area first baseman Julia Mooney looks down after Neshaminy took a 14-1 lead in the fifth inning in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal game at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area’s Marissa Trivelpiece connects for a three-run home run against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

ALLENTOWN — Neshaminy was pleased with the chance to strike first in Thursday’s PIAA Class 6A softball quarterfinal.

“We actually thought we were the home team at first,” senior right fielder Alexis Watkins said after driving in five runs to lead a 15-4, five-inning romp over Hazleton Area. “Our coach told us in the dugout that we were away.

“As soon as we knew that we would get first at-bats, we knew we would jump right on them.”

Neshaminy did just that. The Redskins took charge from the start against last year’s state finalists.

“Deep in the state tournament, you have to be ready to go,” Hazleton Area coach Heather Natt said.

Amber Brugger led off with a single, Liana Jones opened the scoring with one out with the first of her three doubles and Watkins joined in with a bases-loaded double to highlight the five-run top of the first.

By the time it was done, Neshaminy had 15 hits, including five doubles, two home runs and a triple.

The Cougars complicated matters by giving the Redskins additional outs.

The 10-run rule came about because of a seven-run fifth inning in which the Cougars twice failed to record an out on squeeze bunts because they made ill-advised attempts to get an out at the plate. Hazleton Area made additional plays in the first and fifth innings where it did not get an out, allowing runners to reach on fielder’s choices and Neshaminy to extend innings that combined to produce a dozen runs.

“Defensively, we have to play our game and we didn’t,” Natt said. “We weren’t on our game at all.”

Watkins had a home run and two doubles and Natalie Rios hit a three-run homer to lead the onslaught.

After Neshaminy built a 15-1 lead in the top of the fifth, Hazleton Area needed five runs to avoid the early exit on the 10-run rule. Marissa Trivelpiece provided three with a two-out home run before the Redskins from District 1 put the game away, handing Hazleton Area its second loss.

“You still need a miracle, even after that hit she had,” Natt said, “but it goes to show, they didn’t give up at the plate.

“They were still trying in the dugout, getting as excited as they could, even being down (14) runs.”

The Cougars repeated as Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 and District 2-4 Class 6A subregional champions this season with a lineup that included three freshmen and three sophomores.

PIAA CLASS 6A QUARTERFINALS

Neshaminy 15, Hazleton Area 4

Neshaminy`AB`R`H`BI

Brugger dp`3`2`1`0

Fee lf`3`1`2`1

Rios 3b`4`3`2`3

Jones cf`4`2`3`2

Kurtz 1b`3`2`1`0

Leedom ph`1`0`0`0

Watkins rf`4`2`3`5

Metz c`3`1`1`0

Gurysh ph`1`0`0`0

Smith ss`2`1`2`3

Dowalo p`3`1`0`0

Collins 2b`0`0`0`0

Totals`31`15`15`14

Hazleton Area`AB`R`H`BI

Kaschak 2b`3`1`1`0

Rossi cf`3`0`0`0

Treon 3b`2`0`0`0

Trivelpiece ss`3`1`1`3

Antolick lf`3`0`0`0

Book p`2`1`2`0

Kost p`0`0`0`0

Mrochko rf`2`0`0`0

Mooney 1b`2`0`1`1

Wolk c`2`1`1`0

Totals`22`4`6`4

Neshaminy` `502`17`—`15

Hazleton Area` `010`03`—`4

2B – Jones 3, Watkins 2. Book. 3B – Metz. HR – Watkins, Rios. Trivelpiece.

Neshaminy`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Dowalo W`5.0`6`4`1`1`4

Hazleton Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Book L`4.1`14`15`9`1`1

Kost`0.2`1`0`0`0`0

Hazleton Area’s Rebecca Rossi watches her drive against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL060818Hazleton-NeshaminySB_5.jpgHazleton Area’s Rebecca Rossi watches her drive against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area’s Taylor Kaschak legs out a single against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL060818Hazleton-NeshaminySB_4.jpgHazleton Area’s Taylor Kaschak legs out a single against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area pitcher Erika Book watches her double get past Neshaminy first baseman Amanda Kurtz in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL060818Hazleton-NeshaminySB_3.jpgHazleton Area pitcher Erika Book watches her double get past Neshaminy first baseman Amanda Kurtz in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area first baseman Julia Mooney looks down after Neshaminy took a 14-1 lead in the fifth inning in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal game at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL060818Hazleton-NeshaminySB_1.jpgHazleton Area first baseman Julia Mooney looks down after Neshaminy took a 14-1 lead in the fifth inning in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal game at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area’s Marissa Trivelpiece connects for a three-run home run against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL060818Hazleton-NeshaminySB_2.jpgHazleton Area’s Marissa Trivelpiece connects for a three-run home run against Neshaminy in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Patriots Park in Allentown on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Tom Robinson

For Times Leader