Williams Valley coach Randy Russelavage was looking for somewhere to lay his burden down, for someone to take it off his hands. PIAA Class A softball championship trophies can get heavy after a while.
Finally, in the media room, he spotted several of his players and handed to trophy to them. After all, they had just beaten a game West Green team 3-2 with a walk-off single by Rayanne Hawk with one out in the bottom of the seventh to claim their second title in four years.
“I’ve got a bad rotator cuff,” Russelavage said, explaining his struggle with the trophy.
His team had an equally tough battle with the Lady Pioneers, quickly falling behind.
Still, Williams Valley was able to take an early lead. After all, this was a team that outscored its opponents 52-7 in the PIAA playoffs and owned a 36-0 win over GAMP in the process.
In the bottom of the second, Kenna Ferron singled, stole second and scored when Megan Schadle’s single to right was mishandled. Schadle scored on a single by Autumn Calnon.
West Green answered with a pair of runs in the third, the big hit coming on a double by McKenna Lampe and a single and error.
The score stayed knotted at 2 even though West Green had runners at first and third in the sixth with two out, and at third with two outs in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs, Caitlyn Pinchorski drew a walk and stole second. Hawk followed with a curving drive to right that ticked off the end of Mackenzie Carpenter’s glove, allowing Pinchorski to score and trigger the celebration.
“That ball had some carry to it, maybe a little backspin,” said West Green coach Bill Sims. “But I wouldn’t trade Mackenzie for anyone out there. She’s been great all year.
“We just didn’t get the one run we needed at the end of the game. All plays matter. We knew we were playing a good team. They won a state championship (in 2013). But I’d rather play in a 3-2 game than to blow someone out or get blown out. We didn’t come here to play for second place and we’ll be sad on the bus ride home that we came in second but I can’t look back on this season and say it was a train wreck.”
Russelavage, meanwhile, gave Hawk a pep talk before she stepped into the batter’s box in the seventh.
“I told her this was her chance to be a hero, this is where she wanted to be,” he said. “But the top four girls in our lineup (Hawk hits second) all have 100 hits apiece.”