After a string of misses in the state finals, Chartiers-Houston won its first PIAA softball title on June 18, 2010, against Montgomery.
SHIPPENSBURG – With one quick, decisive strike, Chartiers-Houston’s softball team erased a stalking past and buried whatever remained of the heartbreaking losses at home plate of Robb Field.
Stop talking about streaks.
Stop mentioning five previous frustrating trips to the PIAA softball finals.
Stop bringing up the fact that those five games ended in losses and, worse, produced a combined zero runs.
The Bucs rendered them nothing more than hazy memories with a resounding 4-1 victory over District 4 champion Montgomery High School Friday at Shippensburg University.
Chartiers-Houston is the state Class A champion and the Bucs have the medals to prove it. The only streak they will talk about now is two, if they repeat as champions next season, with a team that won Friday having only three seniors.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
“Those streaks don’t mean anything,” said sophomore catcher Colby Miller, who drove in the go-ahead run with a single in a two-run sixth inning. “We played like we were going to win. We never won one before and it was a little nerve-wracking.”
Through three innings, Chartiers-Houston trailed 1-0 as the Bucs flailed at pitches of Montgomery senior Casey Drick, who finished with 14 strikeouts.
“We’ve had a ton of close games,” said Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson, who was the losing pitcher in the 1987 finals against Minersville. “They never seem to get nervous.”
What the Bucs (19-2) got was even in the fourth inning, when Chrissy Scott, a senior spark plug, led off the inning by getting on when first baseman Kiersten Warzel dropped the throw from Drick on a bunt attempt.
Scott stole second base, moved to third on a flyout and scooted home on a single to center by Rachel Tucker.
“That gave us a little motivation,” Scott said. “We were off and running.”
And they were.
Pitcher Kiersten Conwell didn’t allow a run over the final six innings and gave up just three hits, struck out seven and stranded six Raiders on base.
Her best effort came in the second inning, when she wiggled out of a two-on, no-out situation by striking out the last two batters.
Drick, meanwhile, began to wilt under the heat provided by a sunny day and a Chartiers-Houston lineup that was catching fire.
Scott sent a Drick pitch over the third-base bag for a double to lead off the sixth inning. Miller rifled a shot to left field that scored Scott to give C-H its first lead in six finals games, 2-1. Miller went to second on the throw home, took third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI groundout by first baseman Chalese Wilson.
Kelli Dufresne put the final dagger into Montgomery when she ripped a single to center field that scored Alyssa Phillippi to make it 4-1 in the top of the seventh.
“We’re disappointed,” said Montgomery coach Craig Weaver. “We can’t let one game dictate what we’ve done and accomplished for this softball program.”
Conwell set the Raiders down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and had the privilege of fielding a bouncer back to the circle from Kelsey Lynch and throwing her out at first to ignite a wild celebration.
“We never discussed (the streaks),” said Alderson. “There is a banner in our gym that says state runner-up and it has the years under it.
“That’s the only time we discussed it.”
Now, they will discuss where to hang the new banner.