SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP. — As Hazleton Area freshman Marissa Trivelpiece launched a two-out fly to left in the bottom of the seventh Thursday night, she felt the inevitable was about to take place.
“I though, ‘Crap, she’s going to catch it,’” Trivelpiece said. “I didn’t want the season to end for the seniors.”
The season didn’t. Instead, Trivelpiece’s drive fell in for a two-run double as Hazleton Area defeated Council Rock North 6-5 in a PIAA Class 6A softball quarterfinal game at Parkland High School.
District 2 champion Hazleton Area (21-3) advanced to the state semifinals for a second consecutive year and for the fourth time in the program’s 25-year history. The Cougars were in the 4A semifinals last year and in 2005 when the PIAA had four classifications in softball. They made the 3A semifinals in 2000 when there were only three classes.
The next step — finally making it to a state championship game — comes Monday against District 1 third seed Spring-Ford, which defeated D11 champion Bethlehem Liberty, 9-2, in the second game of the tripleheader at Parkland. The game will be an early start since Hazleton Area has graduation Monday night.
Hazleton Area’s game was scheduled for 6 p.m., but the first game went 10 innings and the second game ran long. So the Cougars and D1 fifth seed Council Rock North didn’t take the field until 8:16.
It turned into a wild night.
Council Rock North took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh as the Indians rocked Hazleton Area starter Erika Book for two runs via two doubles and a triple.
Hazleton Area, though, started its rally as Becca Rossi opened the bottom of the seventh with a single and stole second. An out later, Tiana Treon was hit by a pitch. Hope Kinney grounded out for the second out, but advanced the runners into scoring position and Trivelpiece delivered.
It was the second consecutive inning the Cougars rallied from a deficit. They trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the sixth, but surprising pickoff attempt of Kyra Antolick at first when awry, allowing Anotlick and courtesy runner Aleah Kost to move into scoring position. Aleah Kost was running for Book, who had singled. Antolick had reached on a fielder’s choice.
Taylor Kost then lined a single to center, scoring two runs to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.
Treon had an RBI single to center in the first inning for Hazleton Area’s first run. Trivelpiece bounced an RBI single to center in the fourth to cut Council Rock North’s lead to 3-2.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar