Hamburg shut out by Big Spring in District 3 Class 4A softball quarterfinal

One week after winning the Berks title, Hamburg’s district playoff run came to a screeching halt.

The top-seeded Hawks were shut out by No. 9 seed Big Spring, as the Bulldogs secured a 4-0 win in a District 3 Class 4A softball quarterfinal on Thursday at Hamburg.

“It happens,” Hawks coach Zena Lutz said. “It’s playoff time.”

The Hamburg offense was silenced by Big Spring pitcher Maeve Hurley, who picked up the win. Hurley allowed no runs and only three hits.

“The young lady that pitched for them had a really nice game,” Lutz said. “She shut us down. She pitched a really nice game, you have to give her credit for that. Our bats were quiet.”

Hamburg’s first four hitters finished with just one hit and one walk. Hurley finished with five strikeouts.

“(The) spin (on) the ball, that was the biggest thing,” Hawks right fielder and Drexel commit Kylah Reading said about Hurley. “She had a lot of spin on her pitches and we just couldn’t get good solid contact on it.”

Hurley was opposed by Hawks starter Hailey Strunk, who took the loss. Strunk, a Jacksonville commit, allowed 10 hits and four runs while striking out two.

“We didn’t hit,” Strunk said. “As far as effort goes, we had each other’s backs.”

Hamburg senior pitcher Hailey Strunk (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

The Bulldogs (16-5) took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to a sacrifice fly from Syndey Adler, which brought Averi Scott home. They extended their lead to 3-0 in the fifth with a two-run single from Zoey Zimmerman.

Big Spring made it 4-0 in the sixth on a safety squeeze play. Sophia Wickard dropped down the bunt, which allowed Victoria Rinaldi to score from third.

“Even though it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, we worked really hard coming up to this game,” Strunk said. “The jitters got the best of us.”

With the loss, the Berks champion Hawks end the season 20-4, marking their third season with at least 20 victories. Thursday marked Hamburg’s first shutout loss since the 2022 PIAA playoffs.

“These girls, I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else,” Reading said. “They were the best group of girls I could’ve played with through my four years.”

Hamburg senior Kylah Reading (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

Hamburg’s four seniors — Reading, Strunk, Hailie Edwards and Emily Zimmerman — finish their high school careers as 2022 District 3 Class 4A champions and 2024 county champions.

“I never stepped on the mound and had so much fun in my entire life up until this season,” Strunk said. “Four months went by in the blink of an eye.”

And according to Lutz, the senior class set a new standard for the Hawks softball program.

“They changed our program and lifted it to another level,” Lutz said. “The rest of them now are going to have to follow with that. They set the bar high, and I hope the younger girls keep it there.”