Forget breakfast at Nittany Lion Softball Park.
Bald Eagle Area is back in the dinner hour.
Instead of the previously scheduled 10 a.m. start in Friday’s PIAA Class AA title game, the Lady Eagles (22-4) will face Central Columbia (23-2) at 5:30 p.m.
The move was precipitated by the PIAA because Class AAA finalist Springfield Delco has its graduation Friday evening.
Never miss a local story.
As a byproduct, the PIAA likely will benefit from the fanatical support from the Lady Eagle fans, who have already helped pack the stands in two previous playoff games this spring.
An announced crowd of 1,350 attended BEA’s 7-3 victory over Centre County rival Philipsburg-Osceola in Monday’s historic semifinal game. There were more watching from outside the fence as two Centre County schools played against each other for the first time in the PIAAs.
“After the game, a guy come downs and says, ‘Hey coach, could you switch?’” BEA’s Curt Heverly said. “I said, ‘We’ll play anytime you guys deem necessary. I have no problem with that.’ I said to my other coaches, ‘They’re going to put us late.’ It made sense.”
Beard Field has been BEA’s home away from home in the postseason. The Lady Eagles topped P-O 5-4 in eight innings in the District 6 title game and edged Seton LaSalle 2-1 in eight innings in the opening round of the PIAAs.
The Lady Eagles broke open a 1-1 game with four runs in the top of the sixth and tacked on two more in the seventh in topping P-O on Monday. Mikala Smith and Marissa Tobias each drove in two runs and Makennah Dyke tossed a seven-hitter against the Lady Mounties.
Dyke, who admits she has never heard of Springfield Delco, is excited to get the opportunity to play in the tournament’s final game.
“It’s great because now all of our fans can come,” Dyke said. “If it was at 10 a.m., we wouldn’t have had as many fans.”
And BEA definitely likes playing at Penn State.
“We’re kind of used to being there and having all of those fans now,” Dyke said.
Central Columbia rallied past Susquenita 10-5 prior to the BEA-PO matchup Monday. The Lady Blue Jays then stuck around to watch to see who would be their opponent in the title game.
The Lady Blue Jays know that with BEA’s crowd they definitely will be the visitors in the game, no matter what the scoreboard says.
“I think we’re ready,” said Mackenzie Klinger, who drove in three runs for Central Cambria on Monday. “We got our first game here and got a feeling of how the field is. We’re ready to play.”
Springfield Delco, the District 1 runner-up, will face District 11’s Bethlehem Catholic in the Class AAA title game at 10 a.m. District 3 runner-up Lower Dauphin battles District 1 third-place finisher Souderton at 12:30 p.m. Claysburg-Kimmel, also a district runner-up, has given District 6 a chance at two PIAA crowns as it takes on District 10 champion Minersville at 3 p.m.