Paige Harris pitched seven shutout innings to lead third-seeded Abington Heights past fourteen-seed Lake-Lehman, 9-0, in a District 2 Class AAA first round softball game on Monday.
Harris, who struck out 11 Lady Knights’ batters, allowed just three hits by keeping opponents off balance with a mix of pitchers.
“That’s the key for Paige,” Abington Heights head coach John Kelly said. “She has to have the changup. She’s been struggling with it, and this game she really had it working and the key is keeping them off stride.”
Abington Heights opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning when third baseman Alex Gockley reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch. Catcher Dominique Emmett added an RBI single to give the Lady Comets a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Comets used some small ball to increase their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. After designated hitter Kaylee DeMatteo’s leadoff single, shortstop Cassie Toth and right fielder Jessa Sablan reached base on bunts.
Both Toth and Sablan came around to score during rundowns later in the inning, and Courtney Wrobel, pinch running for DeMatteo, scored on a throwing error.
“We’ve been struggling hitting, with the exception of two or three hitters, so we decided we need to put some bunts down and try to make them make plays,” Kelly said. “They made a few mistakes and we were aggressive on the base paths. It was the key to turning the game around.”
Abington Heights added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth. Second baseman Rachel Gilmore, Gockley, and Emmett contributed RBI hits, and Sablan scored on a passed ball.
“Dom’s been steady all year,” Kelly said. “She’s been our most consistent hitter, obviously, and even today her base hits gave us two RBI’s. “She’s just been on a tear and hopefully she will keep it going.”
Despite taking the loss, Lake-Lehman coach John Ferdinand was proud of Jordan Hodle’s effort on the mound.
Hodle, who allowed 12 hits, was credited with four earned runs.
“She really pitched well today,” said Ferdinand, who was filling in for head coach Wayne Oplinger. “She was hitting the corners with her fastball and she got some of their big hitters out.
“We had some miscues defensively and we left a lot of girls on base, that was our major problem.”
Abington Heights (11-3) was scheduled to host sixth-seed Wyoming Area in the second round on Wednesday.