PIAA softball: Nanticoke Area’s impressive run ends in 4A semifinals

By John Erzar - [email protected]
Nanticoke Area second baseman Brinley Sobeck makes the scoop at first base on a sacrifice bunt by Bethlehem Catholic’s Jess Indelicato during the fifth inning. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Nanticoke Area first baseman Jilann Baron fields an attempted bunt from Bethlehem Catholic’s Alexa Panuccio. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Nanticoke Area shortstop Gabby Rakowski cuts off a grounder in the hole before tossing to first for an out against Bethlehem Catholic on Tuesday. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Nanticoke Area’s Brinley Sobeck connects for a double in the sixth inning on Tuesday. - - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

PINE GROVE — The final score, no doubt, looked ugly — Bethlehem Catholic 11, Nanticoke Area 0.

But for six innings Tuesday, anyway, the Trojanettes were right there. A break, a hit, a Becahi mistake away from making a close PIAA Class 4A softball semifinal game even closer.

Then came the seventh, which was easily Nanticoke Area’s worst inning of the season.

Becahi banged out nine hits and scored nine times, ending Nanticoke Area’s season for the second time in four seasons and once again in a state semifinal. The Golden Hawks defeated the Trojanettes 5-0 in the 2015 Class 3A state semifinals.

“The score isn’t indicative of the game,” said Nanticoke Area coach Ryan Stetz, whose District 2 runner-up Trojanettes ended the year at 17-8. “To battle that team 2-0 and give ourselves a chance at the end. I know you can’t erase the runs off the board, but we went toe-to-toe with them for six innings.”

District 11 champ Becahi delivered the knockout in the seventh. Four Hawks had RBI singles and Alyssa Jimenez had a two-run triple in the inning. But the biggest at-bat arguably came from the player who made the first out of the inning — Morgan Christine.

Christine fouled off 11 consecutive two-strike pitches before hitting a lazy, low popout to Nanticoke Area pitcher Miranda Bohn.

“I was definitely feeling tired,” said Bohn, who threw 198 pitches in a 14-inning quarterfinal victory on Thursday. “But I definitely wasn’t giving up. I was just trying to help my defense and get outs anyway I could.

“I was thinking, ‘Just try to win this battle with every pitch and don’t give up.’ ”

Until the seventh, Bohn had allowed just five hits — including a RBI double in the second and an RBI double in the fifth — and recorded seven strikeouts.

“That pitcher is as good as we’ve seen all year,” Becahi coach Rich Mazza said. “Couple of those kids swing the bat well, so we can see why they got here.”

Nanticoke Area had its chances a couple times before the Hawks pulled away.

Bohn singled with one out in the first inning and Megan Murphy walked an out later, but both ended up stranded. Then in the fourth, Brinley Sobeck opened with a double and Murphy followed with a single. Again, nothing against Becahi pitcher Tatum Kresley, who finished with eight strikeouts.

“We’ve faced some dominant pitchers and she was another one,” Stetz said.

Nanticoke Area got two-out singles from Gabby Rakowski in the fifth and Jilann Baron in the sixth, but came up empty.

Murphy and Bohn, who both started as freshmen against Becahi in 2015, finished up their Nanticoke Area careers. After an emotional moment with Bohn, Murphy tried to put the situation in perspective.

“That’s why I love softball. It’s so unpredictable,” Murphy said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in a game. Everyone thinks it’s going to be a perfect game with no errors and everyone is going to hit the ball. But that’s not how softball is.”

Becahi will play District 9 champ Punxsutawney at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Penn State for the Class 4A state championship.

PIAA CLASS 4A SEMIFINALS

Bethlehem Catholic 11, Nanticoke Area 0

Becahi`AB`R`H`BI

Indelicato ss`4`2`2`1

Jimenez rf`4`2`2`3

Miner 2b`5`1`2`1

Sledz c`1`0`1`1

Cordero cr`0`2`0`0

Kerper ph`1`0`0`0

Panuccio cf`3`1`1`0

Christine 1b`4`0`0`0

Roche 3b`4`1`3`1

Spigner lf`2`0`0`0

Kresley p`4`1`3`1

McMenimen cr`0`1`0`0

Totals`32`11`14`9

Nanticoke`AB`R`H`BI

Rakowski ss`4`0`1`0

Bohn p`3`0`1`0

Sobeck 2b`3`0`1`0

Murphy 3b`2`0`1`0

Baron 1b`3`0`1`0

O’Connor pr`0`0`0`0

King c`3`0`0`0

Stashak dp`2`0`0`0

Nice cf`3`0`0`0

Kukrowski rf`2`0`0`0

Skladzien lf`0`0`0`0

Totals`25`0`5`0

Beth. Catholic`010`010`9 —11

Nanticoke`000`000`0 — 0

E — Becahi 1, Nanticoke 2. LOB — Becahi 8, Nanticoke 7. 2B — Indelicato, Roche, Kresley, Sobeck. 3B — Jimenez. SAC — Panuccio, Indelicato 2, Spinger.

Becahi`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Kresley W`7.0`5`0`0`2`8

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

Bohn L`7.0`14`11`10`4`7

Nanticoke Area second baseman Brinley Sobeck makes the scoop at first base on a sacrifice bunt by Bethlehem Catholic’s Jess Indelicato during the fifth inning.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Nanticoke-BethCatholic-3.jpgNanticoke Area second baseman Brinley Sobeck makes the scoop at first base on a sacrifice bunt by Bethlehem Catholic’s Jess Indelicato during the fifth inning. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Nanticoke Area first baseman Jilann Baron fields an attempted bunt from Bethlehem Catholic’s Alexa Panuccio.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Nanticoke-BethCatholic-2.jpgNanticoke Area first baseman Jilann Baron fields an attempted bunt from Bethlehem Catholic’s Alexa Panuccio. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Nanticoke Area shortstop Gabby Rakowski cuts off a grounder in the hole before tossing to first for an out against Bethlehem Catholic on Tuesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Nanticoke-BethCatholic-1.jpgNanticoke Area shortstop Gabby Rakowski cuts off a grounder in the hole before tossing to first for an out against Bethlehem Catholic on Tuesday. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Nanticoke Area’s Brinley Sobeck connects for a double in the sixth inning on Tuesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Nanticoke-BethCatholic-4.jpgNanticoke Area’s Brinley Sobeck connects for a double in the sixth inning on Tuesday. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Trojanettes fall to Bethlehem Catholic in Class 4A tournament

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