Coming into Thursday’s District 2 Class AAAA first round of the playoffs, Paupack manager Dan Gumble knew that his team was in for a good game against Wyoming Valley West.
The Lady Spartans came into the contest as a deceiving number seven seed, having only won two games during the season.
The Lady Bucks took care of business as usual and came away with the 4-2 victory to advance to play Hazleton Area, who defeated Scranton 10-0.
“We looked at their scores from the season, and they (WVW) played a lot of close games, they just didn’t have a lot of wins,” said Gumble.
“We figured it was going to be a pretty good game, and their pitcher threw very well.”
The Spartans struck first, plating one run in the opening frame, and the Lady Bucks were held scoreless until the bottom of the third.
Kennedy Thomas ripped a shot to left for a single, and Katie Marro came in as the courtesy runner. Marro was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tori Ciszak, and took third two pitches later on a passed ball.
With Marro on third, Irene Dispenza came through with a chopper in the infield to score the first Paupack run of the game.
In the fourth, Paupack attacked again.
Caitlin Donahue reached on a Spartan miscue and landed on second as a result.
Brittany Guerrieri laid down a bunt, and another throwing miscue allowed Donahue to score. Emily Winkler followed that up with a single that scored Destiny Marut (courtesy runner for Guerrieri), and then Sam Hessling scored Winkler on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-1.
With the threat of an incoming rain storm looming off in the distance, and the winds starting to kick up the dust, Wyoming Valley West scored one run in the fifth to make it 4-2.
From there, Guerrieri and the solid Lady Buckhorn defense, buckled down and closed out the game with a two-run victory.
“Those games were almost mirror images of each other. We capitalized again on a couple of mistakes and were able to score some runs and put us in the lead, which was good,” said Gumble referring to the game against Abington Heights in which the Bucks claimed the League Title.
Guerrieri picked up her first win of the postseason, going seven complete innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out three.
“Brittany pitched pretty good. She got behind a couple of times, but she did a phenomenal job and the defense played well behind her,” Gumble said.
“Raeann (Ehrhardt) did a good job (at second) and she can get down pretty deep in the alley there and cut off a lot of balls that a lot of second basemen can’t, which is huge for us.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Bucks collected four hits in the game, with Ehrhardt, Winkler, Thomas, and Dispenza all recording one each.
With the conclusion of Thursday’s game, the Lady Bucks have four days off before they were scheduled to take on Hazleton Area at home on Tuesday.
“We want the girls to stay focused, think about softball, and watch some softball on tv and get after it,” said Gumble.
Score by Innings...
WV (2-13) 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 2
WA (14-1) 0 0 1 3 0 0 x - 4