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Mustangs fall in state quarters

Jun. 7—MILLERSVILLE — Midd-West coach Pete Voss wanted his team to focus on what it accomplished, not what might have been after Friday's 4-2 loss to Conwell-Egan in the state Class 3A softball quarterfinals at Seaber Softball Stadium on the campus of Millersville University.

"We talked, and obviously upset about the loss, but we reflected on this season, and what we accomplished," Voss said. "The history that these girls made. Our seniors have worked so hard to help put Midd-West softball on the map. Our younger players got better all the time. The effort, day in and day out, we got from the girls was amazing.

"Every day out the past few weeks we've seemed to make history."

Those accomplishments for this Mustangs' group that finished the season at 16-7 were numerous. They beat undefeated top-seed North Penn-Liberty in the semifinals, defeated Loyalsock for the first time in school history to claim the school's first district championship and the program's first state playoff victory.

"It's meant a lot to all of us to make school history," said Midd-West senior outfielder Teagan Schreffler, who had an RBI double and a solo homer to account for both of the Mustangs' runs. "I know everybody is upset about it (right now), but we made a really good run. It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but we still went far. Farther than a lot of people thought we were going to."

Though for a few days, the Mustangs might wonder what could have been.

They left eight runners on against Conwell-Egan lefty Lauren Bretzel, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh.

The Eagles' first run came after Bretzel appeared to strike out after a full swing. Rather than calling her out, the home-plate umpire appealed to the third-base offical, who ruled it no swing. Two pitches later, Bretzel singled home the first run of the game. Conwell-Egan's second run came on Deanna Porter's single that just caught chalk down the right-field line to stay fair.

At the plate, Beachel laced a line drive with two outs, and two runners on in the second that Conwell-Egan center fielder Avery Kenworthy broke in a bit late on, but lept to make the catch to end the threat. Beachel later ripped a line drive off Bretzel in the circle that hit her face mask, but bounced right to second baseman Angelina Pandolifi, who threw out Beachel by a step.

"We were hitting her hard, it was just right at people," Schreffler said.

The Eagles led 2-0 until the bottom of the third. Storm Wilt singled with one out. Jayda Dunn sacrificed her to second, and Schreffler followed with a towering ball to left field that hit just short of the fence for an RBI double to cut the lead to 2-1. However, Bretzel got a groundout to end the threat with Schreffler on second.

Bretzel then retired eight straight hitters after Schreffler's RBI double, and the Eagles got an insurance run in the sixth when pinch hitter Lauren Berard walked, and Cassidy Blashopf sacrificed her to second. Leadoff hitter Molly Milewski made the second out on a grounder to short, but Berard took third on the throw to first, and the subsequent throw was errant, allowing Berard to score for a 3-1 lead.

Schreffler put Midd-West back to 3-2 with a solo blast to left field, but Conwell-Egan picked up another insurance run in the top of the seventh. Cecelia McBeth doubled with one out, and a dropped flyball in the outfield put runners on the corners. Beachel got a pop out to shortstop, but a wild pitch made it 4-2 before Beachel struck out Grace Bilardo to end the inning.

"We wanted to take extra bases, put pressure on the defense, and make them make mistakes," said Conwell-Egan coach Sandy Hart, whose team is headed to the state semifinals for the second time in three seasons. The Eagles will face Juniata, and fireballing lefty Liz Gaisior, in Monday's semifinals.

Emma Wagner, who fell behind 0-2 in the count, worked a walk for the Mustangs to start the bottom of the seventh, and Briahna Keister, who went 5-of-6 from the No. 9 hole this week — beat out a bunt single. After a Beachel flyout — Bretzel recorded 10 flyball outs to the outfield on Friday — Rachel Keister singled to load the bases with one out. After Beachel singled and the Mustangs threatened in the first, Hart had reliever up early for Bretzel, but there was no reliever warming in the bottom of the seventh.

"She's my ace, and she has my utmost confidence," Hart said.

Wilt had the count 2-1, but Bretzel got her to foul out to first base, and a Dunn groundout to short to send the Eagles (14-3) to the semifinals.

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PIAA CLASS 3A PLAYOFFS

QUARTERFINALS

at Seaber Stadium, Millersville University

CONWELL-EGAN 4, MIDD-WEST 2

Conwell-Egan;101;001;1 — 4-9-0

Midd-West;001;001;0 — 2-9-2

Lauren Bretzel and Leanna Bresnan. Miley Beachel and Storm Wilt.

WP: Bretzel; LP: Beachel.

Conwell-Egan: Angelina Pandolfi 2-for-4, run; Amariah McKnight, 2-for-4; Cecelia McBeth, 2-for-4, double, 2 runs; Bretzel, 1-for-3, RBI; Deanna Porter 1-for-3, RBI.

Midd-West: Wilt 2-for-4, run; Teagan Schreffler, 2-for-3, homer (6th, solo), double, run, 2 RBIs; Briahna Keister, 2-for-3, double.