2022 D3 6A Softball Championship

Delaney Smith of Manheim Township gets set to swing against a Penn Manor pitch in District 3 Class 6A softball championship action at Messiah University’s Starry Softball Field in Mechanicsburg on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

FAIRLESS HILLS — Manheim Township’s softball team bus got stuck in some crazy traffic Monday afternoon on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Downingtown exchange.

The Blue Streaks were on their way to Bucks County to take on District 1 powerhouse Pennsbury in a PIAA Class 6A first-round matchup.

How did Township break up the monotony in the bumper-to-bumper traffic?

“Two and a half hours of karaoke,” Streaks’ center fielder Taylor Kittleman said, chuckling. “Every single one of us had a solo. The bus ride was very memorable.”

The karaoke contest took the edge off. But when the Streaks finally arrived at Pennsbury, they ran into a hot-hitting flock of Falcons. Pennsbury rapped out 10 hits — including four doubles — swiped a couple of bases and were never threatened.

Samantha Raub and Ava Storlazzi each ripped two-run doubles, and Pennsbury scored early and often for a 10-2 victory over the Streaks, who were eliminated. The Falcons will take on North Allegheny in the state quarterfinals Thursday.

“They absolutely enjoyed it,” Township coach Reilly Gearhart said, giving a final nod to her squad. “This last game here won’t define us. They’re proud of themselves and they’re proud of their teammates. I want to raise the standard and I want to raise the bar here. I want to become a dominant, powerhouse program, and make this a softball school. So I’m excited to see what we can do next,”

Township’s spectacular postseason run is over. The Streaks made a spirited ride to the District 3 championship game for the first time in 36 years — beating top-seeded Central York along the way before falling to rival Penn Manor in the finale — and were back in the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“It’s been fantastic,” Township third baseman Hillary Murse said. “Everyone supported each other, and I’m so proud of how far we’ve come as a team. We’ve really become a family.”

Penn Manor fends off rival Manheim Township to claim first District 3 Class 6A softball championship

The Streaks (14-11) couldn’t solve Pennsbury ace righty Ainsley McClure, who allowed just four hits and a walk, and the Franklin & Marshall recruit struck out 10, yielding just Delaney Smith’s towering two-run homer with two outs in the top of the third.

Storlazzi’s two-run double capped a four-run first for Pennsbury, which took advantage of two walks and an error for a quick start. The Falcons, now 23-2 and a state semifinalist last spring, added on in the bottom of the second. Raub’s two-run double made it 6-0, and Pennsbury, the District 1 runner-up, chased Township starter Megan Marks, one of three Streaks’ pitchers to take the ball Monday.

“They were a great team, and they showed up to play today,” Kittleman said. “We tried the best we could, but it didn’t work out in our favor. But our energy has been electric. We’ve really come together as a team. It’s been amazing, the history we’ve made together. Everyone has bought in, and this team is like one, big family.”

Township’s lone uprising came in the top of the third. Olivia Yoder opened the frame with a single, and she scored ahead of Smith’s two-run bomb over the fence in left-center. It was a majestic shot. Kittleman and Murse had the Streaks’ other hits, both singles. But that’s all the Streaks could muster.

Who won the traffic-jam karaoke contest, you’re wondering?

“Coach Reilly, of course,” Gearhart said, laughing. Her winning tune: Gotta Go My Own Way from High School Musical fame.

Her Streaks went a long, long way this spring. And made plenty of memories in the process. Even stuck in traffic.

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

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