Riverside softball falls just short in PIAA Class AA title game
UNIVERSITY PARK — After falling short four times, Brandywine Heights celebrated its first state softball title.
Riverside will continue to wait.
Two fourth-inning singles and a fielding error — all with two outs — allowed Brandywine Heights to score the only run in Friday morning's 1-0 victory over Riverside in the PIAA Class AA championship game at Penn State's Beard Field.
Riverside (22-1) also was runner-up in 1994, 1996 and 2001.
“We were champing at the bit on this one,” Riverside coach Pam McCarty said.
So, too, was Brandywine Heights (27-2). The District 3 champion was state runner-up in 2005, '07, '09 and '11.
“If you do something enough, sooner or later you're going to be successful,” Brandywine coach Don Roach said.
Brandywine Heights' Amanda Hess, who singled to right, reached third on a grounder by teammate Dayna Jalowy that Riverside first baseman Natalie Pritts could not field. Hess scored when Jessica Musser dropped a single on the right-field foul line.
It was the first time this season that Riverside trailed, McCarty said. Behind pitcher Kirsten Wilson, the Panthers had allowed only seven runs all season.
Against Brandywine Heights, Wilson allowed five hits, one walk and struck out 13.
Twice with a runner on second, Wilson ended an inning with a strikeout.
“Like we've told the girls all year, Kirsten's going to do the pitching, we have to do the hitting,” McCarty said. “The hitting is going to win ball games. It just didn't happen today.”
Riverside's 2001 state title loss was also 1-0, to District 3's Fleetwood in 14 innings.
Brandywine Heights senior Megan Olsen allowed four hits, walked one and struck out four.
Logan Snyder and Pritts each had two hits, but Riverside's other seven batters were 0 for 17.
“We were swinging at pitches that we shouldn't have swung at,” McCarty said.
Riverside twice had a runner on third with one out but couldn't score. A one-out triple by Snyder in the third was wasted with two groundouts. In the fourth, Pritts hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a sacrifice and used a wild pitch to reach third. A strikeout and groundout stranded Pritts.
“That hurts,” McCarthy said. “We just couldn't punch them in. We tried.”