Trojans win D-11 softball title
In real estate, the key is location, location, location. The same can be said for softball since perfect location on a ninth-inning hit from Kyleigh Staudt gave Parkland its third consecutive District 11 Class 4A championship and capped a come-from-behind rally.
After Whitehall and Parkland went scoreless through eight innings, the Zephyrs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth.
While they had a tough chore ahead of them, Parkland’s offense went to work and finished the inning with a three-run rally for a 3-2 win and a spot in the PIAA playoffs.
Staudt blooped a ball just over the head of shortstop Julia Solderitch, which might normally have been the final out of the game. Instead, Solderitch was unable to get to the ball when Parkland base runner Shauna Frank ran past on her way from second to third. The ball dropped in and allowed two runs to score, giving Parkland the win.
Many on the Whitehall side of the field wanted interference called on the play, believing that Frank interfered with Solderitch. The umpires ruled that because Frank was behind Solderitch, the interference rule didn’t come into play.
“I didn’t think that was going to fall in,” said Parkland head coach Barry Search. “We were making a big comeback and had our shot, but I thought that was going to be it.”
Staudt also thought that she would be the one that made the last out in Parkland’s bid for a third straight trip to states, but was glad to see the end result.
“I didn’t hit it well and I thought it was going to be a simple pop-up,” said Staudt. “I looked over and saw the ball hit the ground and couldn’t believe it. It was an amazing feeling and it was weird how things changed so quickly.”
Parkland starter Aubree Fritzinger held the Zephs hitless until the seventh inning, when Julia Solderitch lined a shot off Staudt’s glove.
Whitehall pitcher Kay Solderitch held the high-powered Parkland offense off the board until that bottom of the ninth inning. Both pitchers kept opposing hitters completely off stride and when balls were hit well, both defenses came up with big plays to keep the game scoreless until the ninth.
“It was a great game,” said Search. “Both teams played hard and the pitching was fabulous. You can’t take anything away from [Whitehall] because they are really good and they showed it today by making all the plays. You could tell they knew what was on the line.”
There was another controversial play earlier in the inning when a ball hit to Kay Solderitch glanced off of her glove and bounded to older sister Julia, who grabbed the ball and dove toward second base in an attempt to retire pinch-runner Alexia Medero.
Most of the park thought Medero was out and the game was over, but the umpire saw it differently and called Medero safe, keeping Parkland alive.
Rachel Spanitz led off Whitehall’s part of the ninth with a double and later scored on an RBI single from Gabrielle Molitoris to put the Lady Zephyrs up 1-0. What looked at the time to be an insurance run scored when Jillian Rex hit an infield chopper to put Whitehall up 2-0.
Parkland’s offense came alive when the Lady Trojans got their chance in the bottom of the ninth.
Alyssa Oakley led off the rally with a single, but it looked like that might be it when Whitehall retired the next two batters. Steph Herpel picked up an infield single on the play where Medero was called safe at second, giving Parkland runners on first and second with two outs. Frank’s RBI double made it 2-1 and left runners on second and third for Staudt.
“I told them before that inning that we’ve scored way more than two runs in an inning before and there was no reason why we couldn’t do it now,” said Frank. “I could tell that everyone just believed we were going to find a way to win.”