Rough first inning dooms Redeemer in 3A title game

By John Erzar - [email protected]
Holy Redeemer outfielder Allyson Laiuvara throws to the infield as Philipsburg-Osceola runner Kylie Adams approaches third base during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Holy Redeemer’s Lynzie Skoronski takes a late throw as Philipsburg-Osceola runner Kylie Adams slides into third base during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Holy Redeemer players wait for Allyson Laiuvara to cross home plate after hitting a two-run home run during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Holy Redeemer’s Grace Dacey catches a ball in the outfield against Philipsburg-Osceola during Thursday’s game. - - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Holy Redeemer’s Morgan Bienkowski fires a pitch to a Philipsburg-Osceola batter during Thursday’s title game. - - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Hannah Thompson catches the ball while Holy Redeemer’s Samantha Rajza slides safely into third during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. - - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Holy Redeemer’s Taylor Josefowicz hugs pitcher Morgan Bienkowski after Thursday’s loss to Philipsburg-Osceola at State College. - - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Holy Redeemer third baseman Lynzie Skoronski reacts after losing to Philipsburg-Osceola in the Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. - - Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

STATE COLLEGE — Holy Redeemer center fielder Allyson Laiuvara tried to put an optimistic spin on those five runs Philipsburg-Osceola scored in the first inning Thursday afternoon.

“I didn’t look at it as five. I looked at it as we were down two,” Laiuvara said. “We’re only down two and we could get this.”

Her reasoning?

“Because it’s better than five,” Laiuvara said with a laugh.

No matter the number, the Royals just couldn’t erase the deficit as Philipsburg-Osceola hit Redeemer pitcher Morgan Bienkowski better than any team during her career for a 8-3 victory in the PIAA Class 3A softball state championship game at Penn State University.

District 6 champion P-O, the shortened moniker the school uses, finished the year at 25-1. District 2 champ Redeemer ended 20-3.

Bienkowski, one of two senior starters, entered the game with more than 500 career strikeouts, a 0.26 ERA and an 18-0 record. Those daunting stats didn’t intimidate P-O.

“We prepared a lot for her,” said P-O shortstop Hannah Thompson, who scored two runs and had a double. “We overlooked her stats and just hit the ball.”

Kylie Thal opened the game with a double and Thompson followed by being hit by a pitch. An out later, Kam Harris walked to load the bases before a fielder’s choice brought home one run. A two-run single by Kylie Adams and an RBI single by Rachel Simpson made it 4-0. The final run of the first inning scored on a wild pitch.

Redeemer gained a bit of momentum in the second as McKenna Dolan singled and scored when Laiuvara launched her third home run of season over the right field fence.

Oddly, the Royals cut that five-run deficit to two — like Lauivara envisioned before it happened — in the fourth. Tian Wren singled to left, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Josefowicz and scored on Dolan’s second hit of the afternoon.

P-O, though, answered back in the bottom of the inning as Harris knocked in Thal and Madison Lucas with two outs to make it 7-3. Thal reached on a one-out error and Lucas singled with two outs.

“We’ve definitely been in that situation before and we had to get out of that,” said Dolan, a junior second baseman. “We did have a few key hits that really got the ball rolling. We just couldn’t get those key hits at the end to really bring it home.”

Redeemer’s best chance to make a dent in the four-run hole came in the sixth. Sam Rajza and Wren opened the inning with singles and, an out later, Dolan reached base for a third time on an error. A pop-out and strikeout left the bases loaded.

P-O was able to tack on its final run in the sixth as Lucas singled in Thompson, who had doubled with one out.

Redeemer finished with seven hits, but struck out eight times against Harris.

“Honestly, I think it was the lack of pitch selection,” Redeemer coach Jerry Paulukonis said. “She was throwing really good first-pitch strikes and they weren’t going after them. We were saying it all game. We got to hit that first pitch. We got to hit that good strike.”

The state championship was the third in P-O school history, going with Class 2A state titles in 2007 and 2011. It was also the program’s first victory over a District 2 team in a state championship game. P-O lost to Valley View in 2000 and Nanticoke Area in 2010 for the 2A state crown.

PIAA CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP

Philipsburg-Osceola 8, Holy Redeemer 3

Redeemer`AB`R`H`BI

Bienkowski p`4`0`0`0

Rajza ss`4`0`1`0

Wren c`3`1`2`0

Josefowicz 1b`3`0`0`0

Dolan 2b`3`1`2`1

Laiuvara cf`3`1`1`2

Skoronski 3b`3`0`0`0

Dacey lf`3`0`1`0

Smith pr`0`0`0`0

McDermott dp`3`0`0`0

Murray rf`0`0`0`0

Totals`29`3`7`3

Phil-Osceola`AB`R`H`BI

Thal c`3`2`1`0

Thompson ss`3`2`1`0

Lucas rf`4`1`2`1

Harris p`2`0`1`2

Minarchick cr`0`1`0`0

Burge 3b`3`1`0`1

Adams lf`2`1`1`2

Simpson 2b`3`0`1`1

Carms cf`3`0`0`0

Lewis dp`3`0`0`0

Kaphart 1b`0`0`0`0

Totals`26`8`7`7

Holy Redeemer`020`100`0 — 3

Phil-Osceola`500`201`x — 8

E — Phil-Osceola 1, Redeemer 2. LOB — Redeemer 5, Phil-Osceola 6. 2B — Thal, Thompson. SAC — Josefowicz.

Redeemer`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Bienkowski L`7.0`7`8`6`4`8

Phil-Osceola`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Harris W`7.0`7`3`3`0`8

HBP — Thompson (by Bienkowski)

Holy Redeemer outfielder Allyson Laiuvara throws to the infield as Philipsburg-Osceola runner Kylie Adams approaches third base during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil1.jpgHoly Redeemer outfielder Allyson Laiuvara throws to the infield as Philipsburg-Osceola runner Kylie Adams approaches third base during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Holy Redeemer’s Lynzie Skoronski takes a late throw as Philipsburg-Osceola runner Kylie Adams slides into third base during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil2.jpgHoly Redeemer’s Lynzie Skoronski takes a late throw as Philipsburg-Osceola runner Kylie Adams slides into third base during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Holy Redeemer players wait for Allyson Laiuvara to cross home plate after hitting a two-run home run during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil3.jpgHoly Redeemer players wait for Allyson Laiuvara to cross home plate after hitting a two-run home run during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Holy Redeemer’s Grace Dacey catches a ball in the outfield against Philipsburg-Osceola during Thursday’s game.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil4.jpgHoly Redeemer’s Grace Dacey catches a ball in the outfield against Philipsburg-Osceola during Thursday’s game. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Holy Redeemer’s Morgan Bienkowski fires a pitch to a Philipsburg-Osceola batter during Thursday’s title game.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil5.jpgHoly Redeemer’s Morgan Bienkowski fires a pitch to a Philipsburg-Osceola batter during Thursday’s title game. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Philipsburg-Osceola’s Hannah Thompson catches the ball while Holy Redeemer’s Samantha Rajza slides safely into third during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil6.jpgPhilipsburg-Osceola’s Hannah Thompson catches the ball while Holy Redeemer’s Samantha Rajza slides safely into third during Thursday’s Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Holy Redeemer’s Taylor Josefowicz hugs pitcher Morgan Bienkowski after Thursday’s loss to Philipsburg-Osceola at State College.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil7.jpgHoly Redeemer’s Taylor Josefowicz hugs pitcher Morgan Bienkowski after Thursday’s loss to Philipsburg-Osceola at State College. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders

Holy Redeemer third baseman Lynzie Skoronski reacts after losing to Philipsburg-Osceola in the Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061518HSSOFTRedeemerPhil8.jpgHoly Redeemer third baseman Lynzie Skoronski reacts after losing to Philipsburg-Osceola in the Class 3A championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field in State College. Sean McKeag | Times Leaders
Rough first inning dooms Redeemer in 3A title game

By John Erzar

[email protected]

WVC TEAMS IN PREVIOUS SOFTBALL STATE TITLE GAMES

2017

6A — Hazleton Area: Lost 5-3 vs. Hempfield Area

4A — Tunkhannock: Lost 5-3 vs. Mt. Pleasant

2016

2A — Holy Redeemer: Won 9-3 vs. Moniteay

2015

2A — Holy Redeemer: Won 10-5 vs. Deer Lake

2010

2A — Nanticoke Area: Won 3-1 in 11 innings vs. Philipsburg-Osceola

2003

2A — Nanticoke Area: Won 4-0 vs. Center

NOTE: The PIAA had one classification for softball from 1975-1978, two classifications from 1979-1998, three classifications from 1999-2004, four classifications from 2005-2016 and six classifications since 2017.

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

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