DUBOIS – Sam Baney’s screamer looked destined for the blue wall in centerfield, which would have put the Chestnut Ridge senior in scoring position with the tying run while plating Isabella Wingard.
Except Karly Rumsky, Clearfield’s spidery outfielder, extended to snowcone the ball for the final out of the Lions’ fourth.
“It really hurt. I thought maybe it would go over her and get us started,” Baney said. “I really thought we had a chance to win.”
It was that kind of day for the Lions. Struggling in the field and unable to come up with the big hit through six innings, the District 5-6 Class AAA softball runners-up scored three times in the bottom of the seventh only to fall shy, 4-3, in PIAA first-round action at scenic Heindl Field on Monday afternoon.
For all its difficulties, Ridge was in as good a position as it could hope, with the tying run on third and all-everything shortstop Makayla Weyant, one of the most dangerous hitters in this part of the state, at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
However, Clearfield standout freshman pitcher Emma Hipps rose to the occasion, getting Weyant swinging to end the game.
“I think she threw a drop. I’m not really sure. That’s the position every girl dreams of being in since they’re little. But we just came up short,” Weyant said.
Weyant, Baney and most of the Lions (19-5) were reduced to tears, including Ridge coach Greg Lazor. Eight Lion seniors were playing their final game.
“You tell them you love them and you’ll never forget them,” Lazor said. “They’re a special group. They deserved a little bit more. I wish I could have given it to them.”
Three of the Lions’ seven hits were in the last inning. Wingard led off with a walk, followed by Alex Dunlap’s single to left. With one out, Katie Gibbner lined her second single of the game to score Wingard.
That brought the top of the order to the plate, and Lydia Mock drove in courtesy runner Zoie Dunlap with a single.
After Hipps retired Kayla Diehl for the second out, a wild pitch allowed Gibbner to score and Mock to make it to third.
However, Hipps got Weyant on a 1-2 pitch for her ninth strikeout of the game.
“I was freaking out, especially after letting that (third run) get in. I was really nervous,” said Hipps, who has more than 210 strikeouts this spring and was 2-for-3 with a triple and a run at the plate on Monday.
“They finally started getting hits and the ball finally started to drop.”
Ridge stranded Wingard, who singled twice, on second in the second and fourth. The Lions loaded the bases in the third, but Hipps fanned cleanup hitter Attie Milliron.
Clearfield, meanwhile, scored two runs on wild pitches and two with two outs.
“There’s a lot of emotions. We all really wanted this,” said Milliron, who struck out six and walked just two. “But it always comes out that the better team wins. It’s really hard right now.”