With an easy flyout to right field, Bethlehem Catholic had its first PIAA softball title.
Elyse Cuttic pitched a five-hit shutout and gave her team a much different end than last year, when the Hawks lost in the state title game.
On Friday night in the PIAA Class AAA final at Nittany Lion Softball Park, Bethlehem Catholic earned its first state crown with a 2-0 win over Trinity.
“(Last year) we were coming off the field crying,” Cuttic said of an 11-1 loss to Springfield Delco. “This year it feels so good. We worked so hard. I couldn’t be happier for these girls.”
Cuttic struck out six and walked three for the win, overcoming a 93-minute delay for rain and lightning after the top of the sixth inning.
Cuttic, who recently had her appendix removed, was actually glad to get the respite.
“It definitely did help,” Cuttic said. “I was getting really, really tired. I haven’t pitched that many complete games. This was only my second one.”
Bethlehem coach Rich Mazza also could see a difference in his hurler, who only gave up a single among seven batters after the break.
“We felt … she was faster than she was at the end of the previous inning,” Mazza said. “The rest actually gave her a little boost.”
Paige Galentine was the tough-luck loser, giving up seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts for Trinity, making the trip from Washington for its first state title game.
The Hawks got on the board in the fourth inning, with a one-out double by Courtney Shupp, one of her two doubles on the evening, followed by an RBI single for Bethanne Brandstetter.
In the fifth, they struck again with a two-out triple by Jess Indelicato that rolled to the wall, and she scored when Angelys Cotto sent a cue-shot right down the first-base line.
Trinity looked poised to respond in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two out, but Cuttic struck out Hali Justic to end the threat.
It was the only real threat all night for the Hillers, who got a single and double from Olivia Gray and two hits from Riley Riotto.
“We could have used some execution,” Trinity coach Shawn Gray said. “We had opportunities to score and we didn’t come through. That’s just the way the ball bounces for us.”