STATE COLLEGE —
TAKING THE LEAD
The Lady Lancers (24-1) took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when Madison Shaffer followed up a bunt single by Rayanna Furst by slapping a shot down the left-field line. The ball skipped over third base, and Warrior Run’s left fielder misplayed the ball, allowing Furst and Shaffer to come all the way around to score.
“It was a nice pitch,” Shaffer said. “It was on the outside corner, so I just went with it. When I was rounding second base, I looked at my coach and he just said ‘Go, go, go!’ ”
The lead didn’t last long, as the Lady Defenders (24-3) tied the game in the top of second. They loaded the bases on three straight singles and scored their first run on an illegal pitch by Amanda Furst, who the umpire said didn’t separate her hands while stepping off the rubber, allowing the runners to move up a base. Warrior Run then tied it on an RBI groundout to the first baseman. The Lady Lancers escaped further damage as Amanda Furst struck out the next two batters.
“(Amanda) was able to settle in and really focus on what she was doing out there,” Kimmel said. “This was a pretty good hitting team. They hit the ball well, but it’s a testament to her (that she was able to work out of trouble). She doesn’t let much bother her, and you gotta have that type of temperament as a pitcher.”
FURSTS MAKE THEIR MARK
Amanda Furst gave up three earned runs on nine hits, one walk and a hit batsman. She struck out two.
The only players to have much success against her were Parker and clean-up hitter Jackie Clemens. They helped Warrior Run take a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning on back-to-back doubles. Neshannock center fielder Rayanna Furst, Amanda's sister, nearly made a spectacular play on Clemens’ shot to left-center, but she came up inches short and Parker scored from second.
Yet Neshannock responded again in the bottom of the inning. Rayanna Furst, who led the Lady Lancers by going 3 for 4 with two runs scored, reached on an infield single. She moved to second on a ground out and scored when Warrior Run’s shortstop overran Marissa DeMatteo’s bunt single, allowing the ball to trickle into the outfield grass. DeMatteo and Rayanna Furst had five of Neshannock’s eight hits. Their speed, along with the Lady Lancers’ overall quickness, gave Warrior Run problems throughout the game.
“They put the ball down effectively, and with their speed, you’ve got to field it and get the ball to first in a hurry,” Lady Defenders coach Garth Walters said. “With girls on, everybody’s got a job to do, and you’ve got to make sure you’re there because if there’s any miscue, they’re going to score.”