UNIVERSITY PARK — The look on Chloe Blantz’s face — bless her heart — was priceless.

Lampeter-Strasburg’s standout senior shortstop was smiling ear-to-ear. And why not? The Pioneers had just won their second PIAA Class 5A softball championship in the last four years, and Blantz and her teammates were trying on their gold medals for size.

But when it finally hit the University of Delaware recruit that this was her final prep game, and she wouldn’t get to play with two of her best friends and teammates in an L-S uniform anymore, the tears started flowing.

“It’s great that Daisy, Cam and I all got to play our last game here together,” Blantz said, cradling her gold medal and fighting back tears. “And we won it.”

Sure did.

Blantz, Daisy Frank and Cam Byler will forever be joined at the hip. That senior trio pulled off the ultimate bookend Friday: After starting as fresh-faced ninth-graders on L-S’s 2018 state-championship team, Blantz, Frank and Byler also went out as big winners, helping the Pioneers rally past pesky District Seven runner-up Armstrong 10-7 for PIAA gold at Penn State’s Beard Field.

“So exciting,” Frank said. “I’m overwhelmed. The three of us have been playing together since we were younger, and it’s been an unbelievable experience. It’s really incredible what we’ve been able to do.”

Three state-championship appearances and two golds in four years, plus a trio of Lancaster-Lebanon section titles, two league crowns and a District 3 crown over that clip.

“We have a lot of heart and determination, and we always find a way to do what we have to do,” Frank said. “It’s really nice to go out like this on a great note in our senior year.”

Blantz, Frank and Byler certainly finished their careers in style:

With L-S spinning its wheels and trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the second, Blantz, the Pioneers’ ultra confident, line-drive-hitting leadoff batter, laced a two-run double to the gap in right-center, plating Brooke Zuber and Ally Raub to get L-S on the scoreboard.

Frank, L-S’s trusty No. 2 hitter, went 2-for-4 at the plate, and her seeing-eye single to center scored Sydney Weichler — who had just roped a clutch two-run double of her own — to give the Pioneers an 8-6 lead.

Byler, L-S’s powerful No. 3 hitter, blew the roof off, following Frank’s key base hit with a towering two-run homer over the fence in left to add more insurance and cap it. Byler also crushed a double earlier in the game.

And this fun fact: Byler’s dad, Joel, was the winning pitcher for L-S when the Pioneers’ baseball team won the PIAA Class 2A championship with a win over West Allegheny back in 1994.

Blantz, Frank and Byler all had terrific, big-game, money-time efforts at the plate Friday, yes. But here are a few more numbers: L-S's senior class — Blantz, Frank, Byler, Weichler, Kiana Thedford, Morgan Whitaker, Karissa Hirt, Emily Platt and Kira Thomas — went 81-8.

Chew on that for a minute.

L-S won state gold with a win over West Allegheny in 2018 — with Blantz, Frank and Byler in the lineup that day — going 23-5 overall.

The Pioneers finished runner-up after falling to Penn-Trafford in 2019, going 28-2 overall. The 2020 season, sadly, was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so L-S — which had an experienced lineup returning — didn’t get a chance for another PIAA run.

This season was simply stupendous: After a 4-2 nonleague setback against Twin Valley way back on March 29, L-S ripped off 29 wins in a row — including Friday’s capper here against Armstrong — finishing 30-1 overall.

“It’s always kind of been the three of us, and we won it our freshman year,” Byler said, holding back some tears of her own.

“And now we finished it off the same way. I can’t even describe the feeling. It’s so exciting to win two state championships in your high school career. Amazing. And we got to say that we were in the state championship game three times. Not many people can say that.”

“I wanted to finish like we started,” Blantz said, putting a bow on her career. “Our freshman year we won it, and I wanted to finish it the same way.”

Mission accomplished.

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

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