Elk County Catholic’s Abby Bauer closed out her high school softball career in style.
Bauer, who is headed for California University (Pa.), threw a no-hitter in the PIAA Class A title game and then added a home run in a 7-0 romp over Conemaugh Valley at Penn State’s Beard Field.
Bauer said it wasn’t her first no-hitter but, “It was the first one that meant a lot. I didn’t want to think about it. I just went out there and looked at it as if it was 0-0 the whole time. But it was nice to know that all of my stuff was working.’’
Her teammates staked her to a 3-0 lead thanks to one of the most bizarre innings in PIAA history. How else do you describe an inning when all three runs score on passed balls and one batter reached on a passed ball after striking out then scored on two more passed balls.? Leadoff batter Maddy Schneider doubled to deep left to start the inning, went to third on fielder’s choice and scored on a passed ball. Sydney Hoffman reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and then scored on successive passed balls and Marissa Henry struck out, then circled the bases on passed balls.
“That comes from pressure,’’ ECC coach Digger O’Dell said of the inning. “We got a hit and that rattled them a little. And when you put pressure on them you make them do things they’re not used to doing. We’ve been playing that style of ball all year. It was nice to score three runs right away and take the pressure off the pitcher.’’
In the third the Crusaders added two more runs when Hoffman walked, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Bauer, who went to second on the throw to the plate. She scored on a single by Marissa Henry.
ECC added a solo run in the fourth on a double by Emily Evers, who stole third and scored on and infield out.
The Crusaders got their final run in the fifth when Bauer lined a shot to left that went between the foul pole and the flag pole to make it 7-0.
“I know it was out when I hit it but I didn’t know if it was fair or foul,’’ Bauer said.
“Abby just pounded it all day,’’ O’Dell said of Bauer. “We played good defense. We only had one error. All through the playoffs all our wins were by one run so it was nice to get that lead.’’
“We didn’t want to wait until the last inning to get our runs,’’ she said.
She finished day with five strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter. Melanie Lint took the loss, giving up five runs on four hits, walking two and striking out three. Bauer and Schneider had two hits apiece for Elk County Catholic.
“They’re tough, that’s why they’re here,’’ said Conemaugh Valley coach Paula McCeester. “I’m proud to play against them. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a hit. The ball didn’t come off the bat like I expected. But she had all of her pitches working. My kids are heartbroken now but I’m so proud of them.’’
The title is the second in school history. The other belongs to the boys’ basketball team.