STATE COLLEGE —
The game remained tied for the next four-and-a-half innings. Parker worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, striking out two and catching a line drive hit right at her — a play she made several times throughout the game. Parker also was a problem at the plate, where she went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored. She singled in the fifth and stole second, but Furst was able to work out of the jam. The inning could have been extended if not for a spectacular play by shortstop Jamie Graziani and first baseman Madison Shaffer.
The leadoff batter hit a slow roller to Graziani, who charged the ball, gloved it and threw to first on the run. Shaffer did a complete split to make a highlight-reel scoop and keep her foot on the bag, narrowly beating the runner.
“I took dance for about 10 years, and then I quit to play softball,” said Fischer, who added that she’s made that play other times during the season. “I always make sure I point my toe to keep my foot on the bag. It’s another dancer thing. That’s kind of my secret weapon. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel pretty good.”
The only other threat came in the top of the seventh, when Parker hit a two-out double down the left-field line. Amanda Furst was able to get Clemens to hit a weak grounder to first to end the inning. The Lady Lancers went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning and worked around a single in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for Altmyer’s heroics.
THE WINNING RUN
The left-hander turned on an inside pitch from Parker and pulled it to deep left field. The pitch was one of very few that Neshannock was able to pull off the hard-throwing Parker. A bunt attempt by Alexandra Fischer wasn’t enough to bring Altmyer home, but the next pitch to Katie Burrelli went well over the catcher’s head — the only wild pitch for Parker on the day.
The ball bounced off the padding near the backstop and went right back to Vermilya, the catcher, who tried to beat Altmyer to the plate instead of tossing it to the pitcher.
“I thought she was going to throw the ball to the pitcher,” Kimmel said. “She might have had a better shot. But that pitcher gave no indication that she was going to throw one wild. She had been around the plate all day. As soon as I saw it go over her head, I knew we could score because it’s a long distance to the backstop.”
The game was well played by both teams, with just one error between the two. Both pitchers had solid outings, and there was very little controversy on any calls, including the final play at the plate.
“Close games usually come down to a mistake — either a big hit or a mistake,” Kimmel said. “Today, we got both.”
A state title came along with it.
(To watch our original inning-by-inning recap, CLICK HERE.)