NEW CASTLE —
It’s that special place batters can sometimes find themselves during the course of a season. The ball seems to be the size of a beach ball, a pitch left in the zone is greeted with authority and every hit seems to find a gap. It can happen several times during a career, while some may never get to experience the privilege in their playing days.
As the Neshannock High softball team prepares for the PIAA title game against Williams Valley at 3 p.m. Friday at Penn State University, the team’s second championship appearance in as many years, first basemen Alexandra Fischer finds herself in “the zone.”
“It all really started in playoffs,” she said. “I just tweaked one or two things to focus in on the ball and just kind of get my confidence back up from the regular season, make sure that I’m swinging the way I need to and not getting down on myself when something goes wrong.”
Fischer’s playoff performances have been nothing short of spectacular. As the postseason has progressed, with each game adding more weight and meaning, she’s managed to up her game another level.
As the state playoffs began last week, Fischer almost single-handedly did away with first-round opponent Elk County Catholic, hitting three triples in a row, driving in three runners, walking once and scoring three times en route to a 9-1 decision.
“It was the first time it’s ever happened,” she said. “I was excited. I’ve hit triples before, but not three in a row. It’s definitely one of the best times I’ve ever hit the ball.”
Over the weekend, Fischer was the only Neshannock player to collect more than one hit, slapping a single and a double and driving in a runner in a 6-1 defeat of Claysburg-Kimmel.
Opponents must be keeping tabs on Fischer’s hot streak. In yesterday’s 4-1 win against Southern Huntingdon to advance the Lady Lancers to the state finals, Fischer was intentionally walked in a crucial situation. It seems nobody wants to play with fire.
In her last three games, the junior has batted 6 for 9 with three triples, two doubles and four RBIs. That performance has earned her Lawrence County Athlete of the Week honors, an award sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy and selected by the New Castle News sports staff.
NEW CASTLE —
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