High school all-star softball game
Jess Brenner has spent most of her four years at Greater Nanticoke Area in a comfort zone on the mound.
Even a patched-together all-star team behind her couldnt shake that confidence Monday night.
Brenner struck out eight in five innings, helping the East to a 7-0 victory over the West in the 26th annual Dallas Kiwanis Club Senior Girls All-Star Softball Game.
I play travel (league) and play just about every day, said Brenner, who recorded more than 700-career strikeouts and will play at Kutztown University next season. I felt really, really comfortable going out there. I felt like I knew what I had to do and I did it.
Brenner was named the Easts MVP, but had plenty of competition for the honor. Coughlins Kristen Watlock finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Hazleton Areas Allison Grohol was 2-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored. And Pittston Areas Michelle Kotula was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI.
The same couldnt be said for the West. Wyoming Valley Wests Kristen Van Tuyle won her teams MVP honors by collecting two of the Wests five hits.
The top of the order was huge, East coach Diane Breese said of Coughlin. We had Watlock, Grohol, (Lindsay) Smith, Kotula, Brenner. Thats a nice start.
Breese and West coach Joyce Tinner of Dallas agreed the East had a talent advantage, something that happens occasionally when all-star squads are divided geographically.
It was the luck of the draw of the year, Breese said, but it was a good time.
Brenner left the game with a 5-0 lead thanks in part to her pitching, as she struck out three consecutive batters in the second with the bases loaded. Pittston Areas Mallory Gable and Bishop Hafeys Jess Herring each struck out two West players in relief, giving East pitchers 12 total strikeouts.
The East took a 3-0 lead in the first after Watlock and Kotula each doubled and scored on an error on Smiths grounder. Smith scored on a single by Hazleton Areas Jamie Hoyt. Kotula added an RBI double in the third and an RBI groundout in the fifth for the 5-0 advantage.
A throwing error in the seventh scored Watlock and Grohol with the Easts final two runs.
Its a good game for the girls to come out and play one last time and get together, Tinner said.
Dallas Lauren Collini and Cassie Backes and Wyoming Areas Amy Goldsworthy each had a hit for the West. Collini pitched all nine innings, but six errors led to five unearned runs.
I enjoyed playing with the girls who once were our competition, Brenner said. And I still got to play against the Dallas girls and beat them finally.