Wallenpaupack Area came up just a bit short of their pre-season goals
The Lady Bucks ended the year with an 8-1 loss to Williamsport Area on Monday in the first round of the District 2/4 Class AAAA softball playoffs.
With an 11-8 overall record, the Millionaires made easy work of the Purple & White, who finished their regular season at 7-10 overall.
The Lady Bucks faced off against Mikayla Bower for four innings and Taylor Brooks for the remaining three of the game.
Together, they allowed just four hits and one run while striking out seven.
Katie Schoenagel pitched six innings for Paupack, but had a tough time against some big Williamsport bats, giving up 12 hits and eight runs while only chalking up one K.
The Millionaires also put up some solid defense, allowing only one error compared to the Lady Bucks who struggled in the field, giving up seven.
Senior Raeann Ehrhardt posted two hits and scored Paupack’s lone run off a hit by sophomore Lauren Goetz in the first inning.
The Lady Bucks only other ht came from freshman Alyssa McKean in the sixth, otherwise it was mostly three-up-and three-down stands at the plate.
Back in March, things didn’t look all that gloomy for the Lady Bucks.
Having lost only two starters from the previous year and fielding a large crop of seniors and experienced underclassmen, things looked promising ... provided they could adequately fill the pitching and first base slots plus get the bats going early and rely on what was supposed to be a rock-solid defense.
That plan went down the tubes when it was realized very shortly after basketball season that senior shortstop Nicki Mann would be out for the season after suffering an injury during the first round of the state playoffs.
Then, with just seven games played, third baseman, senior Emily Winkler also went on to the disabled list for the remainder of the year.
Here and there other players too suffered minor injuries that only further served to play havoc on the Lady Bucks.
Throw in the crazy mix of weather that kept players off the practice fields and forced the rescheduling of many early games and it’s no real wonder why things didn’t quite go that well.
Despite the setbacks, Paupack pressed on.
Players shifted positions when another was down; younger players were called upon to shore up the vacancies; and upperclassmen stepped up and put forth the type of leadership needed.
Most notable was freshman Alyssa McKean who started the season in the outfield and then moved into the hot corner following Winkler’s injury.
McKean played in all 17 games and was fourth in plate appearances, belting out 15 hits and coming home 12 times.
Frequent pinch runner Sabrina Boyd, also a freshman, scored 11 runs in 12 games and most likely will be a starter when she returns next year.
Sophomores and juniors did the yeoman’s work.
Junior catcher Kennedy Thomas led the team in RBIs with 16, while sophomores Lauren Goetz and Sarah Witte tallied 14 and 10, respectively.
Also driving in a respectable 10 runs was junior Irene Dispenza.
Thomas, with 21, and Goetz, with 20, also led the team in base hits.
While there as a plan to rotate thorough several pitchers at the beginning of the season, injuries put the kibosh on that as well and junior Katie Schoenagel started all 17 games for the Lady Buck.
Pitching 109-of-113 innings and chalking up 38 Ks, Schoenagel gave up 128 hits and 37 earned runs.
After getting out to a big lead against ESN, Thomas stepped into the circle for four innings, faced 23 batters, and picked up 2 strikeouts as well.
When it comes to leadership, seniors Tori Ciszak and Raeann Ehrhardt exemplify that trait better than anyone else.
Ciszak was a force in the outfield and Ehrhardt, often playing through injuries herself, shifted from her usual place at second base, to first, and then settled in at shortstop doing whatever it took to keep the infield going.
Ciszak led the team in slugging posting a .364 average, banging out six doubles, a triple, and three homers among her 20 hits.
She also led the Lady Bucks in on-base percentage while Ehrhardt was just behind her in second place.
The usual lead-off hitter, Ehrhardt led the team with four stolen bases and 19 runs.
Two non-starters, Maddie Cuomo and Robyn Williams also made frequent contributions on the through the season coming in to pinch hit or run or act as utility players when called upon.
“Obviously injuries hit us hard this year,” head coach Dan Gumble said following the Lady Bucks last home game.
“But, everyone stepped up when called on and everyone stayed in good spirits through the season.
“On the up side, our younger players saw a lot of action and that’s going to serve us well down the road.”