Township remains in playoff hunt
Warwick pays for errors in 9-3 defeat Township remains in playoff hunt BY DAVE BYRNE, Sports Writer
If you can keep your head when all around are losing theirs ...
You're a girls' softball coach.
"That's a good way of putting it," said Warwick coach Don Miller.
Manheim Township's Kirk Luther called it, " ... a perfect way to put it."
Luther and Miller remained remarkably calm, supportive even, as their charges painted a mustache on a Rembrandt Wednesday afternoon in Neffsville.
In a contest notable for eight errors -- six by Warwick, four in one inning -- three passed balls and two wild pitches, Township scored four runs in the third inning and five in the fifth to defeat Warwick, 9-3.
The victory pulled the Blue Streaks (10-4 league, 12-4 overall) into a tie for second place -- and the final L-L playoff berth from Section One -- with the Warriors with two games to play.
Hempfield (14-0, 15-2) clinched the Section One title Wednesday with a 12-3 victory over Penn Manor.
Both Township and Warwick have a game remaining with Hempfield. Township hosts the Black Knights this afternoon. Warwick travels to Hempfield on Monday.
The day began well for Warwick as Madi Derr walked on five pitches from Lacy Smith and came around on three passed balls.
Cassidy Godber reached on Reilly Gearhart's throwing error at third, took second on a wild pitch, third on Victoria Byler's sacrifice and scored on Nikole Rottkamp's infield out.
Not an auspicious start.
"I was thinking exactly the same thing," said Luther. "In years past, that would happen (and) heads were down.
"This group ... they know the way we can hit," he said. "They just never think that they're out of a game."
Warwick made it 3-0 in the third on Godber's single and an error on Victoria Byler's ground ball to Jenna Garver.
Gearhart jacked a solo homer over the fence in left center with one out in the Township third, the opening Township salvo.
Before the inning was over Township had four runs -- and the lead -- on four errors and Jessica Bogner's two-run pop single behind first.
"That was something there," Miller said. "I've never been a part of something like that in 10 years as head coach here."
Township poured it on in the fifth, keyed by Katie Zogorski legging out a one-out infield hit to short.
Luther called it, "... a great hustle play. It's always those little things that seem to ... just make big innings."
The big inning unfolded as Zogorski scored on Thorsen's double to the fence in left center.
Bogner ripped a single into right center, Thorsen scoring when she eluded Jenny George's tag.
"I'm still kind of in shock," offered Bogner, "because I don't normally hit like that."
After Kiersten Ketcham walked, Kelly Pozda doubled to left, scoring Bogner.
Ketcham was a dead duck as Derr took the relay throw, but she scored as Derr overthrew home.
"Hitting is definitely contagious," Bogner said. "Once Reilly got us started, we couldn't stop."
Smith settled in after her early issues. Lacey Lefever singled leading off the fourth, Warwick's second hit, but Smith retired the last 12 in order to slam the door.
"The first couple of innings, I was just trying to see what was working for me," she said. "I didn't get down. I knew we could come back. Which we did."
Hempfield 12, Penn Manor 3: Kyra Brakefield homered and Madyson Popalis started and earned the win as the Black Knights (16-2) posted their 16th straight victory.