They waited an extra 75 minutes to play Friday night. Its town waited decades to welcome home a District 12 softball champion.
It was worth the wait.
Jade Codrey crushed two long extra-base hits, Sarah Wertz threw a three-hit gem that included 10 strikeouts and East Lycoming defeated Clinton, 9-2 Friday at Volunteer Stadium to make history and capture the 10-11 District 12 championship. Other East Lycoming champions might follow but this team always will be the first champion in the league's softball history.
Emily Cross of Keystone is tagged out by Chylee Stroup of East Lycoming on a chase between third and home in the first inning Friday at Volunteer Stadium.
East Lycoming finished undefeated in districts and advances to the Section 3 Tournament. It also swept two games from perennial power Clinton which finished 2-2. The game started at 9:15 p.m., after the 10-11 District 12 baseball championship went long.
The wait had no impact, though, and East Lycoming led from the first inning on as Codrey put it ahead to stay in the bottom of the inning. The catcher hit a lead-off triple and scoring on Rachel Baxter's RBI grounder a batter later.
Codrey delivered again an inning later, slamming a three-run double to deep left field that put East Lycoming ahead, 5-0. She again scored on a Baxter grounder, making it 6-0.
The Hughesville team also ran the bases well and made things happen with its aggressiveness. After making a terrific catch in the top of the second, left fielder Jenna Davis scored East Lycoming's second run when she drew a one-out walk and scored on a stolen base and two wild pitches.
Two innings later, Hailey Harmon put East Lycoming up 7-2, drawing a lead-off walk, stealing second and coming home on the overthrow at second. East Lycoming finished with seven stolen bases. The District 12 champions also showed good plate discipline and drew nine walks. Baxter stole two bases following a fifth inning walk and scored as did Wertz after walking and stealing third to make it 9-2 in the fifth inning.
Wertz was dominant, especially over the last three innings, and struck out five straight between the third and fifth innings. She retired the last 10 batters she faced, growing stronger as the game progressed and striking out eight of those 10.
Wertz ended the game with a strikeout before running to hug Baxter at shortstop. Codrey sprinted from behind the plate and soon the whole team engulfed Wertz at the mound, celebrating a historic moment.
Clinton 002 000-2 3 2
E. Lycoming 150 12x-9 2 2
Myka Poorman and Emily Cross. Sarah Wertz and Jade Codrey. W-Wertz. L-Poorman.
Top Clinton hitters: Madison Seymour 1-3, 2 RBI; Alexa Shultz 1-3, R; Top E. Lycoming hitters: Codrey 2-3, 3B, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R; Rachel Baxter BB, SB, 2 RBI; Hailey Harmon 2 Bbs, 3 Sbs, 2 R.