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Shaler softball falls to Hempfield in Round 2

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 2:09 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
Shaler's Julia Strackhouse is one of the senior starters who helped bring this team along this year.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
Frehsman Brianna Dobson put together a a great season and will only get better as she grows up within the Shaler system.

Fielding a team that started five sophomores and a freshman pitcher, Shaler Lady Titans coach Skip Palmer knew his team has played well much of the year but also that they were susceptible to an error or two.

Following a perfect game in the opening round of the playoffs by freshman pitcher Brianna Dobson, Shaler met Hempfield in Round 2.

The biggest difference between the games was the fact there were no Shaler errors in the first game and four in the second. One tough inning at the top of the second that yielded three runs for Hempfield was followed by a solo home run by Taylor Bartlow in the fourth and ultimately a 4-1 win for Hempfield that eliminated Shaler from the playoffs.

Trailing, 4-0, in the bottom of the fifth inning, a single by Racheal Nyman followed up by singles by Abby Hummel and Mia Sipple gave the Lady Titans baserunners. Jacey Schott came in as a courtesy runner for Hummel and wound up getting home on an error.

Shaler battled until the last out, but the pitching of Hempfield senior Hope Pehrson was too much to overcome.

“Hope had a nice drop going … it had a slow fade,” Palmer said. “”Hope is very, very good.”

Despite the loss, Palmer said this playoff experience was good for his team. It saw the way it can dominate but also saw there is some work to do.

“Our kids gave this one away, and they know it,” Palmer said. “You can't commit four errors and get away with that.”

Palmer's squad never quit — a trait that has been instilled from the beginning.

“Lady Titans never quit,” Palmer said. “”This crew is as good as any I have had, but with five sophomores and a freshman, you will have some mistakes.”

Although the loss hurt, Palmer was sure of one thing: “You will hear from us again.”

The veteran coach said it was hard to say goodbye to his seniors and reminded them they are always welcome back.

“Once a Lady Titan, always a Lady Titan,” Palmer said. “That is the hardest speech you have to give as a coach, but life goes on after a loss, and now we will look to the future.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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