Lady Raiders fall in Class A title game
BY TOM BROLLEY
The Blue Ridge Lady Raider softball team went into the District II Class A softball championship atWilkesUniversity’s Ralston Field on Friday with confidence.
However, the youngBlue Ridgefaced a tough challenge from Northwest and fell 4-1.
Blue Ridge Bob Pavelski coach said his team had an “excited to be there mentality” and they were a little overmatched.
“I think they fooled themselves with what they could do,” Pavelski said. “We’re young with a lot of 9th and 10th graders. We had opportunities and we made some errors. I knew if we made errors this team is a good-hitting team, well-coached and they’re going to take advantage in baserunning.”
The Lady Raiders were in the game until the end as they forced a walk from Northwest pitcher Rachel Linso and used a hit batter to load the bases and bring the winning run to the plate with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.
Linso stifled the late threat with a strikeout of pinch hitter Sam Allen to give the Rangers their first District 2 title with a 4-1 victory over Blue Ridge in the Class A championship at Wilkes’ Ralston Complex.
Northwest controlled the Red Raiders after Taylor Decker led off the first inning with a bunt hit and later scored on a Jackie Furch groundout. The Raiders had just five hits.
Blue Ridgemade it back to the district title game this season despite losing seven starters from 2011′s runner-up team.
But Northwest capitalized onBlue Ridge’s inexperience to grab the lead in the third.
The Rangers led off the inning with a drag bunt down the first-base line and then scored on a single to center field in the next at-bat.
A runner advanced from first to third on the hit and the aggressive baserunning resulted in a misplay in center field.
The Rangers then came up with two important insurance runs in the fifth inning.
Jenna Rupakus finished with a pair of singles for the Rraiders while Melody Carpenter, Shayna Decker and Allison Coller each had singles.
Jackie Furch took the pitching loss, giving up 11 hits, four earned runs and four walks while striking out six in six innings. Furch also drove in a run on offense.
Earlier in the week,Blue Ridgerolled past MMI Prep on Thursday with a 5-2 win in Hallstead in the District II Class A semifinals to advance to Friday’s finals against Northwest.
Furch gave up five hits over seven innings and struck out 12 while adding a double on offense to help her own cause as the Raiders took the win.
Blue Ridgestruck early on Thursday driving home three runs in the first inning to take the lead.
MMI added one run in the fourth to close the gap, butBlue Ridgewould add two more runs in the fifth to make it a 5-1 game.
Despite a run from MMI in the sixth,Blue Ridgeheld on to make their way to the championship game at Wilkes on Friday.
Christine Carlsen had an RBI single as part of a three-run first inning forBlue Ridge.
Rupakus had a two-run single in the fifth inning to plate Rebecca Bayle, who had a one-out single, and Furch, who doubled.
Decker and Coller each added hits for the Raiders.
Blue Ridgefinishes off the season with an 8-9 record.