Warren softball’s bid for D-10 title comes up just short
ERIE, Pa. – Camryn Billig’s RBI single in the fourth inning proved to be the game’s only run as Grove City won a true pitcher’s duel, 1-0, over Warren for the District 10 Class 4A softball championship Monday.
The Dragons (18-2) and Eagles (15-6) had to wait more than 90 minutes beyond their scheduled start time, and nearly didn’t get the go-ahead to play, due to earlier games going to extra innings. When the teams took the field at Penn State Behrend, Warren pitcher Ellie Lobdell and Grove City pitcher Lizzie Malczak wasted little time mowing down the opposition. The game lasted less than one hour.
“Hat’s off to Grove City’s Lizzie Malczak,” Warren coach Jon Sitler said. “She, and they, seemed to have a great game plan and we didn’t adjust and ran out of time. When we did hit the ball hard, like the last play of the game, it was right at them. When you don’t have many opportunities, luck has to be on your side at least a little bit.”
Malczak set the tone early, getting two strikeouts and a fly out in a 1-2-3 first inning (Warren again lost the pregame coin toss and was the visiting team).
Lobdell answered by setting the Eagles down in order in the home half, thanks to a pair of great defensive plays. With one out, Morgan Shingledecker popped a ball into foul territory down the third base line. Warren shortstop Lex Nyquist raced over and made a diving catch at the fence for the second out. Billig ripped a ground ball to third that took a high hop. Third baseman Alex Neureiter reached up, snagged the ball and fired to first for the out.
“In the field, we made the plays – all the plays – even the tough ones,” Sitler said. “Specifically, Lex Nyquist at short gave us a spark defensively that I was hoping would carry to the plate.”
Neither team was able to get much going as they combined to get just one runner on base, a Celia Chase walk in the top of the third, through three innings. Chase got to second, but Malczak shut the door to keep her there.
Julia Lobdell got Warren’s lone hit in the fourth. She poked a single between Billig and Brooke Shingledecker on the left side of the infield for a leadoff single. Kiersten Hoffman sac bunted her to second, but Malczak got Ellie Lobdell to pop out and Kelsey Stuart to ground out to end the inning.
Grove City finally broke through in the fourth.
Jordyn Anderson led off with a triple to the fence in left center. Billig singled her home with one out for the lone run of the game. Anderson’s 1-out single in the sixth was the only other hit for the remainder of the game.
Malczak gave up just one hit through seven shutout innings. She allowed one walk and struck out eight. Anderson was the only player with multiple hits.
Ellie Lobdell allowed one earned run on three hits through six innings. She didn’t issue a walk and struck out four.
“Ellie also had a nice game plan and executed,” Sitler said. “She gave up one run, three hits, she was unbelievable like Ellie always is. We just didn’t get it done in the third phase of the game.”
The loss brings to a close the careers of a remarkable group of Lady Dragons seniors. Chase, Hoffman, Timber Housler, Ellie Lobdell, Julia Lobdell and Gracie Wood have left their stamp on this program.
“What can I say about this group of seniors?” Sitler said. “They are champions. On the field, and more so in life. There will never be another group like this one. I wanted this for them more than anything because they deserve it, but this doesn’t change how much I respect them as players and as people.
“Ellie has carried us offensively, and in the circle, all season and she did everything she needed to do one more time,” he continued. “Julia, Celia, Gracie and Kiersten are all winners and came through way more times than not. Even senior Timber Housler, one of our most popular teammates, epitomizes the character this senior class has. I will miss them, but look forward to seeing them succeed in life. They have led the way for a talented group of underclassmen that I know in my heart will be back next year and for years to come. They have a special place in my heart.”
Though the Lady Dragons season has come to an end, Sitler wanted to send congratulations and well-wishes to the Dragon baseball team as they begin their march through the state playoffs next week.
“I have played ball and grown up with the baseball coaches and I’m so very proud of them and the boys,” he said. “I hope they win it all.”
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Nyquist ss 3-0-0-0, J. Lobdell 2b 3-0-1-0, Hoffman c 2-0-0-0, E. Lobdell p 3-0-0-0, Stuart dp 3-0-0-0, Wood cf 2-0-0-0, Chase 1b 1-0-0-0, Wortman rf 2-0-0-0, Neureiter 3b 2-0-0-0, Madigan lf 0-0-0-0, Totals 21-0-1-0
GROVE CITY (1)
Anderson cf 3-1-2-0, M. Shingledecker rf 3-0-0-0, Billig 3b 3-0-1-1, McClearn 1b 2-0-0-0, Malczak p 2-0-0-0, Ch. Saylor 2b 2-0-0-0, B. Shingledecker ss 2-0-0-0, Co. Saylor lf 2-0-0-0, McNabb c 2-0-0-0, Totals 21-1-3-1
Warren 000 000 0 – 0 1 0
Grove City 000 100 x – 1 3 0
DP-None. 3b-Anderson (G).
IP H R ER BB K
E. Lobdell (L, 18-2) 6 3 1 1 0 4
Malczak (W, 9-3) 7 1 0 0 1 8