UNIVERSITY PARK — All season long, Lampeter-Strasburg's softball team scored runs in prodigious numbers.
As the Pioneers played deeper into the postseason, one had to figure that trend might not continue.
And on Friday afternoon at Penn State’s Beard Field, the trend did indeed end — on the final day of the 2019 season — as Penn-Trafford wrested the PIAA Class 5A championship from the defending champion Pioneers in a 5-3 victory.
“Give them lot of credit, they held us under 10 hits,” Pioneers coach Gene Charles said. “Probably only the second team to do that all year.”
“We hit the ball well, but it went to people,” said Summer Peters, who gritted her teeth through back pain to go 3 for 4 on the day. “It just wasn’t our day hitting.”
It was for the Warriors (23-2), who touched Brynne Baker for five runs — three earned — on nine hits.
P-T’s Emma Armstrong knocked in three runs with a double and a home run.
Morgan Hilty did yeoman work in the circle, allowing three runs on eight hits in just over four innings of work and, as she has done all season, Mia Smith nailed down the championship, getting the last eight outs.
“Coming in I liked our chances,” Charles offered. “They got the big prize.
“It was a good year, 28-2, and nothing to be upset about,” he said. “To walk away with a silver medal in a game like this, there’s no shame to it.”
Baker started the day like gangbusters with a four-pitch first inning and seven-pitch second.
She got a big help from her infield there, turning a double play to slam the door on a first-and-second, one-out threat.
Armstrong said the Warriors were frustrated.
“We came in and said, ‘Hey! We’re not doing our job right now. She’s doing hers. Let’s turn that around.’ ”
The turnaround began in the third as catcher Carlee Lamacz, the No. 9 batter, hit a one-out single to center.
Madison Forsythe singled courtesy runner Lizzy Cermak to third and Armstrong banged a doubled off the wall in left, plating a pair.
L-S got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning as Jocelyn Branco doubled to left, scoring on Julz Garber’s one-out groundout.
The inning could’ve been so much more.
Peters got the second of her three hits, Chloe Blantz walked and Baker lived when Armstrong dropped Hilty’s throw on a comebacker to the circle.
That loaded the bases, with Cam Byler coming to the plate.
“We got the right girl at the plate,” Charles said. “They need to throw to her because there’s nowhere to put her.”
Space opened up, and the inning, and the threat, came to an end as Lamacz picked Baker off first, throwing behind to Forsythe, slipping in from second.
“We talked about it,” Charles said. “She’s a left-handed catcher, she likes to throw to first base, you have to keep your eyes open.
“Well, she got her. That hurt.”
“Our defensive coach called it,” Lamacz said. “Whenever the runner takes a big lead, our second baseman comes around and I just throw it.”
The Pioneers got within a run the next inning as Taryn Hostetter doubled in Byler and Daisy Frank — both aboard on singles.
But Armstrong hit a towering drive out of center field in the fifth to make it a two-run game.
“I was just going up looking to get on base,” she said. “It worked out in my favor.”
L-S had one more chance, putting two on with one out in the bottom of the fifth on singles from Peters and Baker.
Smith came on to retire Byler, then got Gabby Drumm on a deep fly ball to the wall, pulled down by Emma Little in right.
“When it went off the bat I was thinking it’s going to hit the fence, tie the game,” Charles said. “The right fielder made a great play.”
“Even though the outcome didn’t come out how we wanted it to, we still played our best,” said Baker, who will play for Messiah next year. “Getting here means a lot.”
“It’s not the outcome we were looking for,” Charles said, “ but we still worked hard to get here. We’ll be back.”