All 13 South Williamsport players reach base in 24-1 rout of Montgomery in softball at Elm Park
Its offense dominated, but South Williamsport might have displayed its prowess best while playing defense.
Shortstop Alizabeth Schuler stopped a hard-hit third-inning grounder and threw to third baseman Sage Lorson for a forceout Wednesday at Elm Park. Lorson then made a snap throw to first baseman Abby Lorson as South turned an impressive inning-ending double play. It was a fantastic play for any trio of players to make, but something else made this one stand out.
All three will be eighth graders this upcoming school year.
Youth is queen at South and not one senior played last night against Montgomery. What a statement South made about its potential future success as it defeated Montgomery, 24-1. All 13 South players reached base, 10 combined for 19 hits and South routed a team featuring six starters from Montgomery’s 2019 District 4 Class A finalist/state qualifier.
This had nothing to do with Montgomery struggling. This is a strong team which also has many good days coming. This was simply about South being a wrecking machine last night.
“The hitting was great, but you don’t see many double plays in softball, let alone by three eighth graders,” South coach Tom O’Malley said. “The IQ is there. They all have high softball IQs. They’ve been playing so much, playing travel, the experience they got last year, and it’s all invaluable.”
Six eighth graders who played against Montgomery competed for the South Williamsport Little League World Series team last summer. They still have another year for junior high softball ahead, but already are showing what might be coming.
Combine that with the other underclassmen who are coming on strong and South could become a force in the coming years. The eighth graders are getting a taste of what high school softball may look like, the underclassmen are becoming leaders and everything came together in a brilliant all-around performance at Elm Park.
“There are a lot of differences between us and the older girls,” Sage Lorson said after going 3 for 4 with a triple and four RBIs. “Having to come together with them and learning from them teaches us how to be a better player.”
South featured 13 outstanding players last night, scoring a run in all but one inning and building a 10-0 second-inning advantage. Aleigha Rieppel (2 for 4, 3 RBIs, 3 runs) and Schuler (2 for 4, triple, 2 RBIs, 4 runs) combined on a six-hitter and were backed by a strong defense, which included center fielder Abby Spatzer making some superb plays.
Before an out was recorded, South scored five runs. Even the first out was a productive one with Emily Hartley hitting a sacrifice fly. South hit the ball hard all night and even several outs were driven well.
“There were a lot of good at-bats, a lot of balls that were hit hard and they weren’t getting themselves out swinging at bad pitches,” O’Malley said. “That’s what we try to preach, quality at bats so that’s what I was I happy with. The girls are having good quality at-bats and that’s all you can ask for against any pitcher.”
Rieppel and Sage Lorson highlighted the six-run first inning, hitting a two-run single and three-run triple, respectively. Olivia Beck slammed an RBI double, Lorson an RBI single and Hartley an RBI single an inning later. South then really busted the game open with a seven-run fifth inning highlighted by Gianna Godfrey’s 2-run home run.
There were no easy outs in South’s lineup with every section of the order doing damage. Schuler, Godfrey, Rieppel, Lorson, Abby Lorson, Lily Reidy (3 for 3, triple, double, 3 runs) and Emily Holtzapple (2 for 2, triple, 2 runs) all produced multi-hit performances and Gianna Goodman showed off her speed in the fourth inning, hitting a ball hard into the outfield and easily scoring on an error.
“We didn’t have any seniors tonight so it was the perfect opportunity to play these (younger) girls,” O’Malley said. “We played a couple against Warrior Run (last week) and then a couple the next game and every game they have played in they have all contributed in some way.”
Montgomery did not go quietly and hit some balls hard, but South consistently made good plays and both Rieppel and Schuler pitched well with runners on base, stranding 10. Jenna Waring had two hits for Montgomery. Madisyn Miller went 1 for 2 with an RBI and also made two outstanding plays in right field, including throwing out a runner at first base.
Rieppel needed just three pitches to retire Montgomery in the first, producing quite a shutdown inning. She stranded three runners over the next two innings and also produced three runs in her first two at-bats, hitting singles the opposite way each time.’
“Aleigha is a good athlete and plays hard,” O’Malley said. “She’s a gamer.”
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT 24, MONTGOMERY 1
South 641 370 3-24 19 2
Montgomery 010 000 0-1 6 7
Aleigha Rieppel, Alizabeth Schuler (4) and Olivia Beck, Lily Reidy (4). Jenna Waring and Shelby McRae. W-Schuler. L-Waring.
Top South hitters: Schuler 2-4, 3B, 2 RBIs, 4 runs; Gianna Godfrey 3-4, HR, 4 RBIs, 3 runs; Beck 1-2, 2B, RBI, 2 runs; Rieppel 2-4, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Sage Lorson 3-4, 3B, 4 RBIs, runs; Emily Hartley 1-3, 2 RBIs, Abby Lorson 2-4, run; Reidy 3-3, 3B, 2B, RBI, 3 runs; Emily Holtzapple 2-2, 3B, RBI, 2 runs. Top Montgomery hitters: Waring 2-4; Taylor McRae 1-2, BB; S. McRae 1-3; Madisyn Miller 1-2, RBI; Izzy Wright 1-3.