PIAA softball: Nanticoke Area wins wild 14-inning affair in Class 4A

By John Erzar - [email protected]
Skladzien -

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — As Nanticoke Area’s Jess Skladzien slid across home plate, she looked wide-eyed at the umpire for the call.

Even if her eyes were closed, she would have known the outcome by the celebration erupting from her dugout.

Skladzien scored the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 14th inning as the Trojanettes completed arguably one of the most improbable wins in the program’s history Thursday, defeating North Pennsboro 3-2 in a PIAA Class 4A softball quarterfinal game at Blue Mountain High School.

District 2 runner-up Nanticoke Area (17-7) won despite striking out 18 times and getting one hit off North Pennsboro pitcher Cailey Joyce, who will pitch for La Salle University next season. The Trojanettes will play District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic, a 4-1 winner over D2 champ Tunkhannock, in the semifinals on Monday at a site and time to be announced. When the two played in the semifinals in 2015, it was at Blue Mountain.

D3 runner-up North Pennsboro ended its year at 22-2.

After the international tiebreaker — where each team starts the inning with a runner on second — began in the 10th inning, Nanticoke Area answered runs by East Pennsboro in the 10th and 11th. The 11th also produced Nanticoke Area’s only hit, an RBI single to right-center field by Gabby Rakowski to scored Katie King.

Rakowski would also have her hand in the game-winning run in the 14th.

Skladzien started the 14th on second base and moved to third on a wild pitch, just getting under the tag. An out later, Rakowski hit a grounder to second baseman Kara Birosak, whose throw home was too late to get Skladzien.

“As soon as I saw the hit and it was low and it was going down, I was off the base and I was home,” Skladzien said. “I was making sure we scored so we could get out of this game. Miranda (Bohn) pitched so well and she fought through every inning, and I know her arm is probably killing her.”

Contact was hard to come by against Joyce, who had just four balls hit to the outfield all game. Three were flyouts off the bat of Bohn.

“We haven’t seen a lot of quick pitching and I think we were psyched out she was going to a pretty good school,” Rakowski said. “She was faster than a lot of the girls we’ve seen, and we saw a pretty fast pitcher in the game before. She threw a lot of corners. I think that got us.”

The run capped a 14th inning where Nanticoke Area survived a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the frame. Grounders to first baseman Jilann Baron and third baseman Megan Murphy led to forceouts at home. Bohn then got a flyout to end the scare.

East Pennsboro also had a run negated in the the sixth inning on a flyout when the runner left third too early. The Panthers threatened often but left the bases loaded three times and stranded 20 runners.

“Don’t remind me,” Nanticoke Area coach Ryan Stetz said. “I don’t know, just something special today. I can’t answer it. I’d like to think it was coaching, I’d like to think it was talent, but sometimes it just works out your way. We beat a great team — 22-1 with a pitcher going to La Salle.

“It’s the Nanticoke spirit to be honest with you. We have tough kids in our town.”

PIAA CLASS 4A QUARTERFINALS

Nanticoke Area 3, North Pennsboro 2 (14 inn.)

E. Pennsboro`AB`R`H`BI

Tucci ss`7`0`0`0

Birosak 2b`7`0`3`1

Joyce p`5`0`3`0

Maine cr`0`0`0`0

McCrea c`5`0`1`0

Jones cr`0`0`0`0

Danner 3b`5`0`1`0

Parker 1b`5`1`0`0

Kirk cf`6`0`1`0

Huff lf`7`0`1`1

Shepler dp`6`1`0`0

Beckler rf`0`0`0`0

Totals`53`2`10`2

Nanticoke`AB`R`H`BI

Rakowski ss`5`0`1`2

Bohn p`5`0`0`0

O’Connor cr`0`0`0`0

Sobeck 2b`4`0`0`0

Baron 1b`4`1`0`0

Murphy 3b`5`0`0`0

King c`5`1`0`0

Redenski dp`5`0`0`0

Stashak lf`3`0`0`0

Skladzien lf`2`1`0`0

Kukroski rf`4`0`0`0

Nice cf`0`0`0`0

Totals`42`3`1`2

East Pennsboro`000`000`000`110`00 – 2

Nanticoke Area`000`000`000`110`01 – 3

2B – Birosak. 3B – Kirk.

E.Pennsboro`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Joyce L`13.1`1`3`2`3`18

Nanticoke`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Bohn W`14.0`10`2`2`5`11

Skladzien
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Jessica-Skladzien.jpgSkladzien
Trojanettes advance to 4A state semifinals

By John Erzar

[email protected]

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar