A closer look at today’s state tournament matchups

Softball

Class AAAA:

Bethlehem Catholic (18-5) vs. Jersey Shore (19-2) at Moser Complex, Turbotville, 5

Becahi road to states: In District 11, beat No. 5 Blue Mountain, 11-1 and No. 2 Bangor, 8-2

Becahi notes: The Golden Hawks ended Bangor’s two-year district title reign and built a 3-0 first-inning lead. Sophomore pitcher Taylor Kresley threw a 7-hitter and struck out seven. Shortstop Jessica Indelicato was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, a double and two stolen bases. She is hitting .446 with 17 RBIs and is part of a potent offense that features all nine players hitting above .300. Second baseman Natasha Miner is a Lafayette recruit who is hitting .517 with 23 RBIs. Kresley is hitting a team-best .574 with 23 runs and 13 RBIs. She is 12-5 with a 2.82 ERA and 65 strikeouts. Catcher Julia Sledz helps spark the offense, hitting .479 with 23 RBIs. Sledz, Miner, Kresley, Alyssa Jimenez (.368, 15 runs) all had two hits each in the Bangor win. Becahi bounced back in the district semifinals after losing 5-2 to Liberty in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Tournament and made quick work of Blue Mountain. Kresley threw a 3-hitter and Miner was 4 for 4 as the Hawks finished with 12 hits.

Jersey Shore road to states: defeated No. 5 Milton, 6-0 and No. 3 Shamokin, 10-2

Jersey Shore notes: The Bulldogs captured their third district championship in four seasons last Wednesday and have won six district titles this decade. Jersey Shore, though, is seeking its first state tournament win since 2010 when it reached the Class AAA final. The Bulldogs have won seven straight games, captured the HAC-I championship and outscored Shamokin, 23-6 the last two times they played. Jersey Shore also swept two games from rival Central Mountain and defeated 6A Williamsport. The Bulldogs opened the season 12-0 and rallied to beat District 4 Class AAA champion Loyalsock early in the season. Kylie Russell and Lexi Schuler have combined to go 17-2 and Schuler went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs. The Bulldogs feature a deep offense and coach Randy Smith has received steady contributions throughout his roster all season. Becahi defeated Jersey Shore, 8-5 in the first round of the 2015 Class AAA tournament on its way to the state final.

Winner plays: Either District 2 champion Tunkhannock or District 3 third-place finisher Bishop McDevitt

–by CHRIS MASSE

Class AAA

Holy Redeemer (17-2) vs. Loyalsock (18-4) at Moser Complex, Turbotville, 5

Redeemer road to states: In District 2, beat No. 7 Dunmore, 4-0; No. 3 Mid Valley, 1-0 and No. 1 Montrose,

Redeemer notes: The Royals have won two of the last three district championships, winning in 2015 and 2016. Redeemer has won eight straight games, the last six via shutout. The Royals avenged a 2017 semifinal loss to Mid Valley in this year’s semifinals, scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth. Pitcher Morgan Bienkowski is having a super senior season and is 16-0 with a 0.26 ERA. She has allowed just 30 hits in 109 innings while striking out 228. She has topped 10 strikeouts 16 times and fanned a career-high 24 in a 5-2, 10-inning early season win against Wyoming Seminary. Beinkowski also is hitting .429 with four home runs and 18 RBIs. Only three players are hitting above .300, but Tiana Wren is having a big season, hitting .511 with four home runs and 20 RBIs. Samantha Rajza is hitting .444 with 16 runs. Redeemer plays good defense and has made just 12 errors this season.

Loyalsock road to states: defeated No. 7 Wellsboro, 10-7; No. 3 Lewisburg, 10-5 and No. 1 Warrior Run, 6-4

Loyalsock notes: The Lancers captured their first district championship since 2008 and just the second in program history last Wednesday, holding off a late Warrior Run rally. Loyalsock also is in states for the first time since winning the 2008 championship. Loyalsock has won 12 straight games, splitting the HAC-III crown with Warrior Run and then building a 6-0 fourth-inning game in the rubber match between the league rivals. The Lancers have scored at least six runs in 10 of their last 11 games and are hitting a collective .433. Senior center fielder Katie Welker is hitting .598 with a district-high 49 hits and 27 RBIs. Sam Stopper went 3 for 4 in the final and is hitting .533 with 44 RBIs. Catcher Rhiallie Jessell is having a big senior season and went 2 for 3 with a home run, double and four RBIs against Warrior Run. The four-year starter is hitting .540 with 31 RBIs. Seven starters are hitting .353 or higher and Maegan Reitz had two hits in the district final.

Winner plays: Either District 1 champion Springfield-Montgomery or District 12 champion Masterman

–by CHRIS MASSE

Warrior Run (16-4) vs. Brandywine Heights (20-4) at Lyons Field, Fleetwood, 7

Warrior Run road to states: beat No. 9 Bloomsburg 4-3 in 10 innings and No. 4 North Penn-Liberty, 9-0; lost to No. 2 Loyalsock, 6-4

Warrior Run notes: The Defenders are in the state tournament for the first time since 2013 and just the fourth time in program history. Warrior Run shared the HAC-III crown with Loyalsock and handed the district champions their only league loss. The Defenders made quick work of 2017 semifinalist North Penn-Liberty, taking a 5-0 second-inning lead. Madi Waltman threw a 2-hitter with 10 strikeouts and the sophomore has had a big breakout season. Waltman is 11-4 with a 1.73 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 97 innings. She threw a 5-inning perfect game against AA finalist South Williamsport and a 6-hitter with 11 strikeouts in an early-season 7-1 win at Loyalsock. The Defenders scored three seventh-inning runs in the final and putting the tying runs on base. Senior Gina Beyer hit a 3-run home run and is hitting .455 with 27 runs. Fellow senior Haley Miller is hitting a team-best .523 with 25 RBIs and senior Megan Herriman has a team-high 25 RBIs. Beyer became the seventh Defender to homer this season.

Brandywine Heights road to states: In District 3, beat No. 5 Annville-Cleona, 14-2 and No. 3 Delone Catholic, 2-1

Brandywine Heights notes: The Bullets captured their ninth District 3 championship by holding off a late comeback by Delone Catholic. Brandywine has won consecutive district titles and reached last year’s quarterfinals where it lost to Mid Valley, 4-2. The Bullets lost in their conference championship game, 6-1 to Daniel Boone before making its district push. Pitcher Jessica Davidheiser threw a 5-hitter and also doubled. Brandywine had seven hits in the win and features an offense that has consistently produced runs throughout the season.

Winner plays: District 11 champion North Schuylkill or District 12 runner-up Swenson

–by CHRIS MASSE

Class A

Sullivan County (16-5) vs. Claysburg-Kimmel (17-4) at Penn State, 5

Sullivan road to states: beat No. 4 Cowanesque Valley, 5-3; lost to No. 2 Northeast Bradford, 11-4

Sullivan notes: The Griffins are making their first state tournament appearance and are having the best season in program history. Sullivan has made a remarkable turnaround, improving its win total by 12 games, reaching the district semifinals and final for the first time and qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The Griffins also captured the Mid-Penn championship and return nearly every starter next season. Senior Quincy Fry is making her last year a memorable one and is 5 for 7 this postseason with three RBIs. She is hitting .414 with 22 RBIs. Mykenzie Malacusky has shined in her first season at Sullivan, hitting .513 with five home runs and 27 RBIs. Jessica King, Jaeden Patson and Kassandra Houseknecht also are hitting over .400 for a team that has topped 10 runs 12 times. Pitcher Madison Burke has won 15 games and threw a 4-hitter against CV in the semifinals, stranding the tying runs with no outs in the seventh inning.

Claysburg-Kimmel road to states: In District 6, beat No. 5 Homer Center, 8-7 and No. 2 Glendale, 8-4

Claysburg-Kimmel notes: The Bulldogs avenged last year’s district championship loss to Glendale and also a loss to their rivals from late in the regular season. Claysburg-Kimmel has similar numbers to Sullivan and reached last year’s state quarterfinals, losing to West Greene. The team is hitting a collective .384 and Haileigh Reed is hitting a team-best .453 with 26 RBIs. Madison Kinsley has a team-high 32 RBIs and is hitting .417, while Madison Frye and Mikalynn Bauman both are hitting .400 with a combined 44 RBIs. Emily Claar has added 25 RBIs and is hitting .417. Pitcher Olivia Bushore is 8-1 with a 3.20 ERA, allowing 73 hits in 76 2/3 innings and striking out 68.

Winner plays: District 5 champion Meyersdale or District 3 third-place finisher Dubois Central Catholic

–by CHRIS MASSE

Baseball

Class AAAAAA

Downingtown East (18-6) vs. Williamsport (12-6) at Central Columbia, 6

Downingtown East road to states: In District 1, beat No. 10 Garnet Valley, 5-1 and No. 15 Avon Grove, 5-4; lost No. 11 Council Rock North, 5-4 and No. 16 Conestoga, 11-10

Downingtown East notes: The Cougars started the season 9-0 and won their first two playoff games before losing heartbreakers in the next two rounds. Downingtown East is hitting a collective 2.96 and eight players have 11 or more RBIs. Mike Rodriguez is hitting a team-high .381 with a home run and 21 RBIs. Connor Munnelly and Joe Cestare both are hitting .333 and have combined for 37 RBIs. Cestare has two home runs and four doubles. Joe Janik is hitting .304 with 16 RBIs. Downingtown has a fairly deep pitching staff and three pitchers have totaled more than 30 innings. Hutch Gagnon is 5-3 with a 2.18 ERA and has struck out 57 while allowing 44 hits in 57 2/3 innings. Scott Jewett is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA, striking out 33 in 37 innings and surrendering 40 hits. Grant Umberger is 4-1 with a 1.33 ERA, striking out 42 in 31 2/3 innings.

Williamsport road to states: beat No. 4 West Scranton, 14-2 and No. 3 Hazleton, 4-3

Williamsport notes: The Millionaires captured their second straight district championship last Monday and are trying win their first state tournament game since 2002. Williamsport bounced back from a 1-4 start and won its first Central Penn League championship since 2011. UMBC-bound pitcher Tanner Esposito earned the win in both district games and Cody Shimp recorded a save against Hazleton, leaving the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Shimp also will pitch at the Division I level next year, attending St. Bonaventure. Center fielder Quentin Brown is hitting .569 with seven home runs and Shimp has six home runs. Ethen Stryker went 3 for 3 against Hazleton and his two-out, first-inning RBI single put the Millionaires ahead to stay. Stryker is 5 for 7 this postseason and is hitting .452 with 13 RBIs. Brayton Rowello has added 15 RBIs in his debut season and Cam Pardoe is hitting .317.

Winner plays: District 1 champion Bensalem or District 11 runner-up Parkland

–by CHRIS MASSE

Class AAAA

Valley View (13-5) vs. Lewisburg (13-9) at Central Columbia, 3:30

Valley View road to states: beat No. 7 Nanticoke, 12-2; No. 3 Berwick, 6-4 and No. 1 Dallas, 1-0

Valley View notes: The Cougars dethroned defending state champion Dallas in the District 2 championship as Mason Black threw a 4-hit shutout and Alex Savkov hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning. Black has been outstanding all season and also threw a 6-hitter against Berwick that included 11 strikeouts. The offense is hitting a collective .275 and Dixon Black leads the way, batting .444 with a home run and four triples. Corey Pezak leads the team in doubles, went 3 for 3 against Berwick and is hitting .344. Robert Sebastianelli is hitting .417. Valley View is peaking like Lewisburg and has won four straight games an seven of its last eight. The Cougars rallied from a 1-3 start.

Lewisburg road to states: beat No. 5 CMVT, 10-0; No. 8 Shikellamy, 10-0 and No. 6 Selinsgrove, 5-0

Lewisburg notes: The Green Dragons have made a huge turnaround after not making the playoffs from 2001-16. Lewisburg won its first district championship since 2000 last Tuesday and is surging at the perfect time, winning eight of its last nine games. Lewisburg started 5-8 but this young team with just one senior starter, pulled together, did not lose hope and started making its playoff push. Nick Shedleski threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in the district final, striking out 13. He and Owen Arndt threw a five-inning perfect game against CMVT and Aaron Hoover shut out Shikellamy. Shedleski is 5-2 with a 2.68 ERA and Hoover is 4-4 with a 2.30 ERA. Center fielder Andrew Ramirez is having a strong season, hitting .403 and Dakotah Snyder is hitting .368 with 20 RBIs. Snyder hit a three-run triple against Selinsgrove and third baseman Peter Marrara went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs.

Winner plays: District 3 champion Berks Catholic or District 12 runner-up Nueva Esperanza

–by CHRIS MASSE

Class AAA

Montoursville (17-2) vs. Lakeland (18-1) at Marywood University, 4

Montoursville road to states: beat No. 4 Mount Carmel, 11-0 and Loyalsock, 3-2 in 10 innings

Montoursville notes: The Warriors are district champions for the first time since 2010 and are seeking their first state tournament win since 2006. Montoursville has made a five-win improvement from last season and has won 12 straight games. The Warriors also captured their first HAC-II title and took two of three games from Loyalsock, overcoming a 2-0 sixth-inning deficit in the final. Logan Ott and Owen Kiess combined on an eight-hitter and struck out 14. Kiess threw three scoreless innings of relief to win his seventh game and left the go-ahead runner stranded on third with one out in the 10th. Ott struck out 11 in seven innings and also threw a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts against Mount Carmel. The Maryland-bound sophomore is 7-0. Cameron Wood hit a game-tying two-out RBI double in the sixth and Gabe Phillips drew a walk-off walk. Ryan Kessler went 2 for 3 with two walks and scored the game-tying run in the sixth inning. Montoursville defeated both HAC-I champion Jersey Shore and HAC-III champion Central Columbia this season as well as District 4 Class AAAA champion Lewisburg and District 4 Class AA champion South Williamsport.

Lakeland road to states: beat No. 9 Lake-Lehman, 3-0; No. 5 Wilkes-Barre Meyers, 10-5 and No. 3 Mid Valley, 4-3

Lakeland notes:The Chiefs are in the state tournament for a second straight season and overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to beat Mid Valley on a walk-off hit. Loyalsock defeated Lakeland in the opening round of last year’s state tournament and the Chiefs have a strong core back from that team. Lakeland is hitting a collective .323 and Longwood University-bound first baseman Matt Hayes is hitting a team-high .608 with four home runs, seven doubles, three triples and 27 RBIs. Adam Retzbach also is having a big season, hitting .556 with three home runs, three triples, 10 doubles and 38 RBIs. Dom Verrasto is hitting .389 with 13 RBIs. Pitcher Jake Hodorovich is a Virginia recruit who is 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 34 innings. Hodorovich allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings against Mid Valley with four strikeouts. Verrasto earned the win in relief, throwing 2 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. He is 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings.

Winner plays: District 12 champion Conwell-Egan or Oley Valley

–by CHRIS MASSE

Class AA

Bellwood-Antis (18-4) vs. South Williamsport (14-6) at Central Columbia, 1

Bellwood-Antis road to states: In District 6, beat No. 6 Portage, 5-2 and Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-0; lost to Southern Huntingdon, 5-2

Bellwood-Antis notes: The Blue Devils reached last year’s state semifinals, losing to Neumann-Goretti, 10-9 after beating Marian Catholic, 6-5 in eight innings in the quarterfinals. Bellwood-Antis is hitting .346 as a team and has seven players hitting above .300. Eight players also have 14 or more RBIs. Sophomore Travis Luensmann is hitting .462 with two home runs, 10 doubles and 27 RBIs. Ian McFarland is batting .389 with 21 RBIs and nine doubles, while Jack Showalter is at .352 with two home runs and 24 RBIs. Freshman Nick Plank is having a strong debut season, hitting .350. Luensmann anchors the pitching staff, going 5-2 with a 0.93 ERA. He has 63 strikeouts and has allowed 24 hits in 45 innings. Matt Stewart and Caden Nagle have combined to win 10 games. Stewart has a 3.40 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 34 innings. Nagle has a 2.68 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 35 innings.

South road to states: beat No. 7 Muncy, 8-4; No. 3 Troy, 9-8 and No. 1 Wellsboro, 7-0

South notes: The Mounties captured their first District 4 championship since 2002 and are trying for the first state tournament win in program history. South started the year slow, but came on strong as it gained more experience and has won seven of its last eight games. The Mounties avenged a 2017 district final loss against Wellsboro by dominating the final. Tripp Breen threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and South played error-less defense. South had seven hits with Ben Johnson and Hunter Finn each hitting triples and Logan Burkett adding a double. The offense is much improved from last season and is hitting a collective .308. Six starters are hitting above .500 and six players have 11 or more RBIs. Johnson is hitting .381 with 23 RBIs. Hunter Corbin is at .355 and Finn is coming on strong, batting .333 and has three triples. Breen has won a district-high 10 games and is 3-0 this postseason.

Winner plays: District 2 champion Northwest or District 3 champion Camp Hill

–by CHRIS MASSE

Wellsboro (15-6) vs. Schuylkill Haven (20-4) at Pottsville High School, 7

Wellsboro road to states: beat No. 4 Southern Columbia, 8-6 and lost to No. 2 South Williamsport, 7-0

Wellsboro notes: The Green Hornets are competing in their second straight state tournament and have a shot at winning the first state game in program history. Wellsboro has played in two consecutive finals and dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Old Forge in last year’s opening round. Wellsboro captured its first NTL-I championship since 2012 this year, losing just one league game. Four-year starting shortstop Dalton Prough delivered his 100th career hit in the district semifinals and is hitting a team-best .435 with 10 doubles, 19 RBIs and 25 runs. He is one of four starters hitting .333 or higher. Silas Wagaman is a good No. 9 hole hitter who went 2 for 3 with a stolen base against South. Caleb Tennis is hitting .362 with a home run, four doubles and 12 RBIs. Johnny Rowland is 7-2 with a 2.75 ERA and is second in career wins for Wellsboro with 19. Carson Davis took the loss against South, but the sophomore is having a good season and is 5-2 with two saves, a 1.73 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.

Schuylkill Haven road to states: In District 11, beat No. 4 Panther Valley, 13-4 and No. 3 Marian Catholic, 5-0

Schuylkill Haven notes: The Hurricanes are making their third state tournament appearance in five seasons and reached the 2015 quarterfinals. Left-hander Brandon Schaeffer threw a 1-hit shutout in the district final against Marian Catholic, striking out nine. The Potomac State-bound senior is 10-1 with a 0.82 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 69 innings. Dillon Dress is 8-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Schaeffer also is hitting .424 with a team-high five home runs and 35 RBIs. Catcher Austin Clasuer is hitting .385 with three home runs and 26 RBIs and second baseman Josh Kalyan is at .426 with 14 RBIs. Keep an eye on first baseman Shawn Davis as well with him hitting .328 with 21 RBIs. Schuylkill Haven started the season 16-1 before struggling some at the end of the regular season and losing three of five games.

Winner plays: District 1 champion Christopher Dock or District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti

–by CHRIS MASSE

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