UNIVERSITY PARK — They had a graduation party for the Souderton seniors Thursday night.
No doubt there was another party last night to celebrate the PIAA Class AAAA softball championship they won on Friday afternoon, beating Lower Dauphin 8-3 at Penn State’s Beard Field.
And coach Stephanie Rummel’s new hairstyle might be around for a while too after the Lady Indians won the first PIAA softball title in school history.
“This is semi-permanent,” she said of the six-inch long red tips to her blond ponytail. “We just decided to do this last night. And my husband got a Mohawk to with this. We’ll see how long it lasts.”
What’s permanent is the victory and the gold medals her team collected, thanks in large part to a four-run outburst that answered Lower Dauphin’s two-run first inning.
The Lady Falcons got a single from Kaylee Stoner, an error on Emily Lingle’s grounder to short and a single by Kayla Holl to take the lead.
But Souderton answered immediately as Dayna Shelly drew a lead-off walk, Lower Dauphin committed a pair of errors, Morgan Yoder had an RBI-fielder’s choiceSavannah Bostwick and Angie Carty had run-scoring singles and Paige Shelly dropped a double just inside the right field line.
“It was important for us to answer that right away,” Rummel said of her team’s response to Lower Dauphin’s first-inning rally. “Sometimes these kids need a little push to get them going so in a way it was an advantage for us that they did that.”
Souderton added three more runs in the fourth on three straight singles, on a two-run shot by Paige Shelly.
Dayna Shelly had four RBI and a pair of hits to spark Souderton.
“She’s been clutch for us all year,” Rummel said. “She leads the team in RBIs. She’s come up big for us a lot of times.”
“This is amazing,” Dayna Shelly said. “We knew we could do this. We had the coaches over for a party last night then we got up at 5 this morning, got on the bus, came up here and did our thing.”
Lower Dauphin didn’t have as long a ride to get to the game but the ride home probably seemed longer as it failed in its first attempt at a state title.
“I think we panicked in that second inning,” said coach Steve Alcorn. “We didn’t do the things we normally do which is make plays. You take away that one inning and it’s a much closer game. That was the big turning point.”
As for Hummel and her team, a visit to the Penn State Creamery was in store before the long trip home.
“We’ll see how that goes,” she said.
One thing’s for sure, it’s a pretty good way to get a party started.