New Castle News

Neshannock

June 16, 2012

Photos, Videos, Story: Neshannock girls win state softball title!

STATE COLLEGE — (Watch highlights from the title game on video screen that appears at the bottom of the story. To view a photo gallery, click on the link at right or CLICK HERE.)

Even the slightest hesitation could have spelled doom for Madison Altmyer.

The Neshannock High sophomore was on third base with one out and the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the eighth inning yesterday at the PIAA Class AA softball championship game. She inched toward home plate as Warrior Run’s star pitcher, Taylor Parker, made her delivery. Fans from both sides appeared shocked when the ball soared over the catcher’s head — but not Altmyer.

She was ready. There was no pause, no delayed reaction. She might not even have blinked as the wild pitch hit the backstop behind home plate. She just went for it.

“No hesitation,” Altmyer said. “I figured it was a now-or-never situation.”

It was both, actually. The time was now for Neshannock to accomplish something it never had before.

Altmyer slid into home plate just in front of the tag by Warrior Run catcher Lynn Vermilya, sending the Lady Lancers into a frenzy as they claimed their first state championship in school history, 4-3, at Penn State University’s Nittany Lion Softball Park.

“It feels like a dream,” Neshannock senior pitcher Amanda Furst said. “This is weird — so exciting.”

Neshannock coach Tracy Kimmel raised both arms in the air as the umpire called Altmyer safe — and he breathed a deep sigh of relief. The win marked the second extra-inning victory of the state playoffs for the Lady Lancers and third win in their final at-bat.

The defining victory meant a lot to the 14-year veteran coach, who tried to contain his excitement after another wild win.

“I’ve been doing this for a while, but this is the first title our teams have ever won,” he said. “You never know if you’re going to get to this point. And I’m not getting any younger, so I’m glad they got it now.

“It’s great. You wonder if this opportunity is ever going to come about, but the Lord’s been good to me. I had a heart attack a few years back, and I sort of regrouped. But this is just a great feeling. I’m really happy for the girls.”

Altmyer made sure such euphoria happened.

She tripled to start the eighth inning, yanking a ball deep down the right-field line. It sailed over the right-fielder’s head and rolled to the wall. Her run was the first one scored by either team since the third inning, as both pitchers settled in after a rough start.

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