Tara Baney and Maggie Peck were hoping to play on Penn State’s softball diamond a week ago in the state championships.
But their final game in Centre County representing their school was relaxed and fun.
“It was great to play another game at Penn State,” Bellefonte’s Baney said. “Everyone dreams of playing here. To play here, last game of my senior year, it’s unbelievable.”
With no state championships on the line, about a week ago, rivals became friends and the pressure was off.
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The Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association held its annual all-star games at Nittany Lion Softball Park on Thursday. The first contest featured the best of District 6 against a team from District 4 — won by the latter 9-8. The second was a five-inning affair with two District 6 teams tangling, a 4-0 White team win over the Blue.
“It was definitely sweet to play with a bunch of girls that I’ve watched over the years,” Philipsburg-Osceola’s Peck said. “Some that I’ve played against, some that I haven’t but I’ve known them and it was fun to get to know them.”
For county rivals, it was a chance to get to know long-time antagonists who stood in each others’ way in district and Mountain League play.
“It’s so much fun,” said Baney, who had teammates Jenna Ault and Angela Capparelle with her. “Everyone’s totally different, and you learn so much about the people you’ve been playing against for the past four years. It’s a great experience, and you take away a lot of friends from this.”
Baney, Peck and State College’s Kayla Hawbaker all played in the opening game, with Baney and Peck watching the second contest from the seats.
Baney’s final Lady Raider game was at Penn State — a 2-0 loss to Yough in the PIAA first round. Peck and the Lady Mounties got to the state semifinals but couldn’t get that one last win.
“I didn’t actually think about that until right now,” Peck said. “But I finished the season on good terms, and all good things have to come to an end. I was OK with it.”
Players of the Game
Game 1: Starting pitchers Melanie Lint of Conemaugh Valley for District 6 and Kylie Brouse of Milton for District 4. Each pitched the first three innings. Brouse struck out five of the first six batters she faced and six total, while Lint struck out the first six she faced and eight total.
Game 2: Bellefonte’s Angela Capparelle was 2 for 2 with an RBI triple and State College’s Avery Cymbor was 2 for 2 with an RBI double, as they keyed a four-run second inning.
Centre County stars
Baney (Bellefonte): Ripped a two-run double and scored a run as part of a five-run eighth inning and totaled three RBIs in the first game.
Peck (P-O): Played first base and pitched, taking the loss in the opener.
Hawbaker (State College): Was 2 for 3 and scored two runs in the first game and was 0 for 2 in the second game. The lefty also played shortstop and turned a sparkling spin move into a double play in the fourth inning.
Ault (Bellefonte): Had an RBI single and walked in the second game.
Andrea Kling (State College): was 0 for 2 in the second game.
Moretta Dyke (Bald Eagle Area): was 1 for 2 with a run and struck out two for the win in the second game.
Cassidy Stover (Penns Valley): was 2 for 2 to lead the Blue team in the second game, playing with three Lady Ram teammates.
Harley Hess (PV): was 0 for 2 and struck out three in three innings as the starting pitcher.
Emma Kubalak (PV): was 0 for 1.
Mikenna Lyons (PV): was 0 for 2.
The first game was knotted 8-8 heading into the bottom of the 10th — it was scheduled to go 10 — and ended on Brianna Benscoter’s sacrifice fly to bring in the walk-off run. District 6 scored three runs in the top of the 10th to tie it.
Honoring a loss
For the game’s first pitch, the jersey of Hollidaysburg’s Mikayla Focht was placed at shortstop, then was presented to her parents. Focht died in an ATV accident in April and also was given a moment of silence before the game.
Hall of Fame
District 6 honored its latest class for enshrinement in its Hall of Fame. Bellefonte’s Hannah Cooper and the late Roy Harpster of State College were among the 10 honorees. Cooper was a four-year starting catcher for the Lady Red Raiders, earning all-state honors three times and helping Bellefonte to the 2010 PIAA Class 3A title. Harpster was an umpire from 1982-2010 and passed away in 2015 after a long illness.
Also in the class are Central Cambria’s Kierstin Lorditch, Taylor Swatsworth and Breanne James; West Branch’s Leann Bell; Claysburg-Kimmel’s Ronette Claar; Bellwood-Antis’ Kelsey Shawley; Conemaugh Valley’s Paula McCleester and Mount Union’s Renae Hobbs-Sucham.