UNIVERSITY PARK — You can officially label them the Cardiac Kids.
Five times Bald Eagle Area has played in this postseason and four times theyve trailed. The Lady Eagles have been behind twice in the seventh inning and theyve won three times in their last at-bat, with all three of those coming in extra innings.
They may have saved their best comeback for the opening round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs. Down to their last out against Seton LaSalle, the Lady Eagles scored once in the seventh to tie the game and won it as freshman Olivia Andrews bloop single to center field plated Marissa Tobias with the game-winner with one out in the eighth inning in a thrilling 2-1 triumph at Penn States Nittany Lion Softball Park.
I cant even, like, talk, said Andrews, who also scored the tying run in the seventh. Its amazing.
Im going to tell you something, I dont know if theres been two better games in a row, said BEA coach Curt Heverly, referring also to a 5-4, eight-inning win over Philipsburg-Osceola in the District 6 final. We won them both so I guess I feel that way. There were so many unsung heroes in this game. ... We ended up winning the game because we wouldnt quit.
Bald Eagle Area (20-4) advances to face District 10 champion Wilmington, an 8-7 winner over Deer Lakes, on Thursday at a site to be determined.
The Lady Eagles got an outstanding pitching performance from Makennah Dyke, who limited the Lady Rebels (13-4) to three hits and an unearned run.
But, that unearned run loomed large as the Lady Eagles entered their final at-bat in the seventh inning.
The crowd, led by several BEA baseball players who were on hand despite a loss in their PIAA baseball player, implored the Lady Eagles to rally. Andrews gave them plenty of hope as she belted a double off Lauren Zola, who had struck out 15 through six innings.
We feed a lot off the crowd, Tobias said. They really pumped us up.
Zola got Makenzie Proctor on a strikeout, but Dykes bunt single moved Andrews to third. Morgan Nyman then grounded back to Zola, who held Andrews at third and threw to first for the out.
Attempting to intentionally walk Haley Giedroc (who had tripled in the fifth), Zola uncorked a pitch over catcher Alyssa Millers head as Andrews raced home to score the tying run.
Zola got her 17th and final strikeout to get out of the inning.
Dyke retired the side in order in the top of the eighth and BEA sent the boisterous crowd home happy with their third eighth-inning win of the postseason.
With one out, Tobias lined her third hit of the game into right field. Logan Fischer, who had struck out three previous times, drilled a single to left that was misplayed allowing both runners to advance.
With first base open, Seton LaSalle elected to pitch to Andrews and she made them pay, by looping a single to center that landed just in front of the charging Dani Dadig for the game-winner.
I kept looking and there were Ks in the book everywhere, Andrews said. Then we just started crushing her. Coach just kept saying, choke up and poke it. ... I just wanted to score that run.
We started getting more confident after the first round against (Zola), said a beaming Tobias after the game. We build off of each other always. Once somebody got a hit, it created a good atmosphere, especially with the crowd.
The Lady Rebels got their only run in the second. Zola hit a ground ball to Tobias at third who threw slightly high to the diminutive Moreta Dyke at first base. The ball ticked off the top of Dykes glove and rolled into foul territory down the right side. Zola raced to third and scored on Annie Borofskis sacrifice fly.
BEA flashed its leather for the rest of the game and it was especially evident in the fourth.
With a runner on, right fielder Fischer made a diving grab in the alley to save at least a double. With runners at first and second with two outs, shortstop Giedroc made a diving grab in the hole and threw from her knees to Tobias for the force at third.
Mikala Smith also played a great game at second base.
Zola record the first 12 outs of the game by strikeout.
That girl was smoking us, Heverly said.
Dyke matched her and outpitched Zola in the end.
I dont know if theres a better pitcher, Heverly said. ... What a story to get us through this game.
Follow Walt Moody on Twitter @wmoodycdt