Our View | High school athletes give Centre County fans much to cheer

Bald Eagle Area fans fill the stands for the PIAA Class AA softball championship game on Friday at Nittany Lion Park.
Bald Eagle Area fans fill the stands for the PIAA Class AA softball championship game on Friday at Nittany Lion Park. CDT photo

Centre County high school sports fans had plenty to cheer about in recent weeks, as local teams and individuals enjoyed great success against the best Pennsylvania has to offer.

The sports year was capped off Friday by the Bald Eagle Area girls’ softball team’s appearance in the PIAA championship game.

In softball, baseball, volleyball and track and field, local teams advanced through their district competitions and chased statewide glory — some reaching the top.

The State College High boys’ 3,200-meter relay team won gold and broke the school record in the process at the PIAA championships last month at Shippensburg University.

State High finished fourth overall and brought home seven medals. The State College girls tied for 14th place.

And the BEA girls got within a victory of gold in the PIAA Class AA softball tournament, falling Friday to powerhouse Central Columbia in front of a packed house of Lady Eagles fans at Penn State.

BEA senior baseball player Nate Cleaver was among the fans at PSU’s Beard Field for the finale. Many of those same fans were in the same park for dramatic wins over rival Philipsburg-Osceola in the District 6 final and state semifinals.

“We’re proud of them,” Cleaver said after the Lady Eagles loss in the finals. “… This is huge. It’s really awesome.”

Hats off also to these fine local teams:

P-O softball, which battled BEA four times and made it all the way to the semifinals of the state Class AA tournament.

Bellefonte softball, which advanced to the state Class AAA playoffs before falling to Thomas Jefferson in the opening round.

BEA baseball, which lost in the PIAA Class AA playoffs to Loyalsock, which went on to win its second straight state championship.

State College boys volleyball, which won the district title before falling in the state playoffs to defending state champion North Allegheny.

State College baseball, which won its district title, made it to the state tournament and was eliminated by Red Land.

We salute the many fine players on these squads, as well as the coaches, parents, boosters and others who supported them along the way.

Some of the teams fell short of their goals. But they represented their communities and their schools well.

The area seniors passed on a legacy of success for others to follow.

“There’s nothing to be upset about,” BEA pitcher Makennah Dyke said after a 13-5 loss in the state finals. “It would have been nice to win it all because it was my senior year. But that’s what next year is for — for the rest of them.”