High School Sports

Bald Eagle Area, Philipsburg-Osceola set for another District 6 showdown

Bald Eagle Area’s Megan Kresovich singles in the game-winning run to beat Philipsburg-Osceola on April 25. The rivals split their regular-season meetings and battle again Wednesday in the District 6 championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field.
Bald Eagle Area’s Megan Kresovich singles in the game-winning run to beat Philipsburg-Osceola on April 25. The rivals split their regular-season meetings and battle again Wednesday in the District 6 championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field. nmark@centredaily.com

Don Lucas doesn’t remember the score.

He can’t recall the hits, runs or pitches.

But what stuck with him was the atmosphere.

“Electricity was in the air,” Lucas said.

When Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola softball met at Penn State’s Beard Field in 2014 for the district finals, it was a sight to see.

More than 1,000 patrons packed the stadium, some fans relegated to standing room only.

And the same could happen Wednesday night.

The Lady Eagles (15-4) and Mounties (19-2), after navigating their respective halves of the brackets, will face off yet again at Beard Field for the District 6 Class AA championship at 7:30 p.m.

It is the nightcap on a busy day for Centre County softball teams.

In addition, Bellefonte plays Bellwood-Antis for the Class AAA title at noon, and State College and Mifflin County will battle for the Class AAAA crown at 2:30 p.m.

With such a packed day, capped by the Lady Mounties and Eagles, P-O coach Jim Gonder believes Wednesday can rival 2014.

“I think there’s going to be a big turnout,” Gonder said. “It’s Bald Eagle. It’s Philipsburg. ... It’s under the lights. It’s exciting softball.”

Both teams, by the way, have already clinched berths in the PIAA tournament, which begins Monday. Both made the state bracket in 2014 as well, and met again at Beard Field in the semifinals.

Gonder, now in his 34th season as head coach of the Lady Mounties, was in the dugout when his team fell short of the title to BEA a couple years ago. The Lady Eagles won the district tournament 5-4 in eight innings.

Lucas, however, wasn’t celebrating in the opposite dugout. The longtime coach of Penns Valley is in his first year at the helm of BEA.

He was in the stands for the game, though, unable to stay away from the premier Centre County matchup.

Considering the 2014 loss, Lucas said he wouldn’t be surprised if P-O comes into the game with a chip on its shoulder.

Gonder made it seem like that wouldn’t be the case.

“There’s only a couple of kids from this team that were playing,” Gonder said of his current squad, which has two seniors. “For me, it’s not any extra motivation. My motivation is to win a District 6 title this year. The past happened.”

Still, the game will surely be hotly contested.

P-O and BEA split the regular season series. The Lady Mounties won the first game 4-1, and the Lady Eagles snagged the second 5-2.

Combine the two games, and it’s 6-6 — nothing to separate them.

“We’re mirror images of each other,” Gonder said.

“I think we’re very evenly matched,” Lucas noted.

And it’s more than just the run differential. There are several similarities between the two.

Both will likely deploy freshmen in the circle — Zoey Surovec for BEA, Kam Harris for P-O.

Both score in bunches. The Lady Mounties have averaged 8.5 runs per game in their last six contests.

The Lady Eagles? 8.25 per game in their last four.

And both coaches are experienced. Gonder has more than 600 career wins and two PIAA championship trophies, while Lucas won a state title in 2002 with the Lady Rams.

Given their wisdom, both coaches know what to expect on Wednesday night — and both believe their players are ready for the challenge ahead.

“This is a game you can’t let your guard down at all,” Lucas said. “They’re going to jump on you if you make a mistake, and I know we will.”

“(Our players) bought into what we were trying to do, and it’s just worked out for us,” Gonder noted. “Hopefully it’ll be a good game.”

John McGonigal: 814-231-4630, @jmcgonigal9

District 6 Championships

Softball

Today at Beard Field, Penn State

Class AAA: Bellefonte vs. Bellwood-Antis, noon

Class AAAA: State College vs. Mifflin County, 2:30 p.m.

Class AA: Bald Eagle Area vs. Philipsburg-Osceola, 7:30 p.m.

Baseball

Today at People’s Natural Gas Field, Altoona

Class AAA: Bellefonte vs. Hollidaysburg, 4 p.m.

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