GREENSBURG — Down to its last out, Pittston Area had a chance to reach the next stage of the Pennsylvania 10-11 softball tournament.
Bases loaded with two outs in the final inning, the locals were down just one run. Unfortunately for Pittston Area, Upper Providence would get out of the inning and win 9-8. Eventually Upper Providence won the state championship. That ended an historic run for the local girls.
Pittston Area took down Nanticoke twice to cop the District 16 championship just two weeks ago. The team beat Old Forge for the Section 5 championship and a right to go to West Point Little League, which is outside of Pittsburgh, for the state championships.
In the opening round of the tournament on Friday, July 31, the locals fell to Newberry, 22-7. The girls were scoring runs, but coach Mike Lieback said defense is what eventually cost the team. What’s more important, however, is how the girls game together as a team, Lieback said.
“We were able to get the mindset in them that they could win,” he said. “We beat Nanticoke back-to-back. On their minds, the girls knew they could do it. It was out turn.”
Lieback said he was trying to keep his girls loose the entire time at West Point because of the magnitude of the situation. When it came time to play, he said, they couldn’t get out of their own way.
Grace Giordina had the big hit for Pittston Area against Upper Providence. She belted a two-run triple in the third inning. Other than that, Pittston Area wasn’t sharp at the plate. Alexis Borthwick threw complete games in both losses.
Pittston Area walked its way around the bases against Upper Providence in its final game. The opponents went through three pitchers in the final inning before the locals couldn’t muster up the winning run.
The defense did play much better in the final game, assistant coach Jason Eike said. Bernadette Lieback threw out two runners against Upper Providence and almost had a third.
Upper Providence took down Newberry in its next game, 19-9. That goes to show that any team could have won the tournament.
“Any team that showed up could have won the tournament,” Eike said. “Our girls really had enough skill to compete at that level. The kids really enjoyed themselves.”
After the final out was recorded against Upper Providence, the local girls were still itching for more. At the hotel following the loss, the girls has just one thing to say, Lieback said.
“When’s the next practice?”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick