‘Canes knock off undefeated PHS
The Parkland softball team never takes anything for granted. Even though they were 25-0 on the season coming into the District 11 Championship, the Trojans knew that anything could happen. They attacked the game just as they had all 25 other games this season, with a strong senior pitcher on the mound in Aubree Fritzinger and a balanced offense that had different contributors from game-to-game.
Liberty also knew that Parkland wasn’t taking anything for granted and that it had to be at least near perfect to stop the Lady Trojans from taking their fourth straight district title. That’s exactly the type of performance that Liberty delivered, helping them to knock off Parkland 3-1 for the team’s first District 11 championship since 2012.
The Hurricanes came out in a bluster, putting two runs on the board in the top of the first. Skilee Diaz led off with a single and stole second. One out later, an infield single put runners on first and third and Cailin Donegan drove home both runners with a double down the third base line.
Liberty got an insurance run against Fritzinger in the third to make it a 3-0 game, but after that, the senior ace handled the Liberty offense.
Freshman starter Paige Zigmund wasn’t exactly unhittable, as Parkland was able to hit a number of balls hard, but she relied on defense to make plays behind her. Parkland seemed to be figuring out Zigmund when it got to her for a run in the third. Jenna Lehr led off with a walk and was on second two outs later when the Trojans got an RBI single from Alyssa Oakley to make it a 3-1 game. Chelsea Morgan then singled to left and Shauna Frank walked, leaving Parkland threatening for more, but Zigmund was able to induce a groundball out to end the inning.
“The whole team is mentally and physically tough,” said Morgan about Zigmund and the rest of the Liberty team. “I think for a freshman, coming in and competing the way she did is really commendable. We knew that they were going to be tough. We saw that when they played Emmaus, so we knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Parkland is one of those teams opponents don’t want to make mistakes against, because the Trojans usually capitalize. A fielding error on a ball hit by Morgan in the sixth seemed to open the door at least a crack. Frank hit into a fielder’s choice and one out later, Megan Fenstermaker reached on an infield single to put runners on first and second with one out, but again Zigmund got a key out to end the threat.
“Sometimes, you just have to give the other team some credit,” said coach Barry Search. “They played us tough earlier in the year, so we knew how good they are and tonight. They made all the plays. We still have a lot to be proud of from our kids, because they played well and they don’t have anything to hang their heads over.”
Instead of being able to play closer to home in the first round of the PIAA playoffs, the loss meant that Parkland had to go on the road to Methacton High School to play Perkiomen Valley. The Trojans took an early 1-0 lead in Monday’s game, but the Vikings rallied back to score two in the fourth and add a needed insurance run in the sixth to make it 3-1. Parkland (25-2) rallied in the seventh, but came up short, falling to Perkiomen Valley 3-2, eliminating them from the state tournament.
Senior Shauna Frank had three hits against Perkiomen Valley and drove in two runs. Chelsea Morgan and Megan Fenstermaker each had two hits in the game.