Elk Lake a 3-2 won over defending champion Nanticoke Area in the District 2 Class AA playoffs. Trojanette Jess Brenner, allowed only three hits and struck out eight.
Nanticoke, which finishes 16-3, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the frame. Brenner singled and Holly Sarnak reached on a bunt single. The runners moved up on Jess Higgins's sacrifice bunt. Lindsey Ludorf struck out and LeeAnn Hower followed with a two-run single.
"Elk Lake was a good team," noted Nanticoke coach Gary Williams. "The game could've gone either way."

Nanticoke up to challenge from Lehman
The Trojanettes take an early lead and ride the strong pitching of Jess Brenner.
Greater Nanticoke Area softball coach Gary Williams wasn’t exactly thrilled when he first took a look at the bracket for the District 2 Class 2A softball playoffs.
After facing a 6-9 GAR team in the quarterfinals two years ago and an 8-7 Riverside squad last season, the Trojans were given the task of defeating vastly improved Lake-Lehman – a 14-3 team that recently handed Wyoming Valley Conference Division II champion Dallas its only loss of the season.
“We felt coming into the game that this was our toughest quarterfinal matchup in the last four or five years,” said Williams. “This Lehman team is the kind of team you’d expect to see in the semifinals or finals. We knew it was going to take a fundamentally sound game to beat them.”
And that’s what Williams received.
Three-time defending district champion Nanticoke Area rode the three-hit pitching of senior Jess Brenner and played nearly error-free softball to post a 5-0 win against the Black Knights. The Trojans will host Elk Lake in a semifinal game at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. Elk Lake defeated Lackawanna Trail, 7-0, in a quarterfinal game.
Lake-Lehman, which received a solid pitching performance from losing pitcher Sheree Horvath, ended its season at 14-4.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” said Brenner, who struck out 10 and walked none. “Lake-Lehman beat Dallas and Dallas was the best team in our league this year. We knew we couldn’t look ahead.”
The Trojans gave Brenner all of the run support she needed with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Pam Walters struck out, but reached base on a dropped third strike. Brenner followed with a bunt single and both runners advanced a base on a passed ball.
With one out, Jessica Higgins knocked in Walters with an RBI fielder’s choice and Lindsey Ludorf made it 2-0 with an RBI single to score Brenner. The early lead was crucial, said Williams.
“We knew (Lake-Lehman) was going to be pumped up coming into the game,” he said. “We thought it was important for us to score early and put the pressure on them. I thought our kids did a very good job of putting the ball into play and getting on base.”
Nanticoke Area added a pair of runs in the fourth inning when Higgins was hit by a pitch and scored on a two-out triple by Leeann Hower. The junior blasted a shot over right fielder Tara Whispell, who was playing shallow.
“She surprises a lot of people,” said Williams, referring to Hower, who scored on a wild pitch and added an RBI single in the sixth. “She’s not very big and the outfielders usually come in a little when she’s batting. Leeann hits the ball hard. She has a lot of power for a little kid.”
While her teammates were scoring runs, Brenner was in cruise control. She struck out two batters in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings and didn’t allow a hit until Horvath beat out an infield grounder in the fourth. Vicki Lacek added a single in the fifth inning for the Black Knights, while Whispell added a single in the seventh.
Lake-Lehman’s best – and only – chance to score against Brenner came in the seventh inning. Sarah Navin reached on a two-out error – Nanticoke Area’s first of the game – and went to third when Whispell’s single was misplayed. But Brenner got Lacek to ground out to end the game.
Horvath pitched well for Lake-Lehman. The junior struck out eight and walked none while scattering six hits and allowing three earned runs. Horvath finished the season with 201 strikeouts.
“Sheree did her part. She always does her part,” said Black Knight head coach Stacey Stack. “She certainly deserved better. We didn’t make the plays behind her.”
Despite the loss, Stack was pleased with her team’s play this season – a major improvement over last year’s 4-13 record.
“We’re disappointed with the loss. We really thought we could go further in the tournament,” she said. “But I’m proud of how we played this year. We finished with 14 wins and we don’t have any seniors. We’re looking forward to next year.”

Brenner, Nanticoke blank Lake-Lehman to reach D-2 semis
By: Jill Snowdon , Staff Writer
Leeanne Hower may be small in stature, but she comes up big when Nanticoke Area needs an offensive spark.
The 5-foot junior went 2-for-3, including a triple, two RBI and a run scored as the Trojanettes advanced to the District 2 AA semifinals with a 5-0 win over visiting Lake-Lehman, Wednesday.
Jess Brenner was equally impressive for Nanticoke, throwing a seven-inning three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and no walks to earn the shutout.
Nanticoke (14-2), the three-time defending AA district champs, will play Elk Lake in the semifinals on Friday. Lake-Lehman ends the year at 14-4.
"(Leeanne) is little, so she surprises a lot of people," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. "She started off slow in the beginning of the year, but she's really come alive and she's batting .410."
Hower helped break things open in the bottom of the fourth inning when she connected on a triple to right field, scoring pinch runner Heather Brenner for a 3-0 Nanticoke lead. Hower then came home on a passed ball to put the Trojanettes ahead by four.
"Coming into this game I said that we needed to score early and that was our focus," Williams said. "We did a good job of putting the ball in play. And if we can get three or four runs we feel pretty comfortable with Jess on the mound."
Nanticoke took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Jess Brenner laid down a bunt-single. Pam Walters scored on a fielder's choice and Heather Brenner, running for her sister, came home on Lindsey Ludorf's single.
Jess Brenner sent down batters in order over the first three innings and gave up her first hit of the game in the fourth. Lehman pitcher Sheree Horvath smacked a two-out infield single to break up Brenner's perfect game, but Brenner struck out the next batter to keep Horvath stranded.
Vicki Lacek added another single in the fifth for Lehman and Tara Whispell added a two-out double in the seventh.
Hower, meanwhile, helped add one more run for good measure with a single to right, scoring Heather Brenner.
"We didn't have a good defensive game and we didn't come through in other areas," Lehman coach Stacey Stack. "But this was a huge improvement from last year. To go from 4-13 a year ago to 14-4 without any seniors...we're proud of that and looking forward to next year."
Horvath proved to be a bright spot for Lehman on Wednesday. The junior pitcher threw her 201st strikeout of the season and finished with seven strikeouts and no walks, while giving up six hits.

Nanticoke, Dallas rout foes
Trojanettes blow out GAR as they open bid for fourth straight Class 2A crown
Three-time defending Class 2A champion Greater Nanticoke Area began its quest for No. 4 with a convincing 10-0, five-inning victory over GAR in the first round of the District 2 softball playoffs on Monday.
Jess Brenner tossed a one-hitter, striking out nine and walking one to earn the shutout pitching victory. She also smacked two doubles and drove in a pair of runs. Also for the Trojanettes, Holly Sarnak and Danielle Warren both went 2-for-3 with two RBI and teammate Pam Walters went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Maria Sharpe had the lone hit for GAR.
Nanticoke hosts Lake-Lehman tomorrow in quarterfinal play.

Trojan Girls lose to Dallas
Dallas scored 3 times in the first inning and eventually posted a 5-2 win on Thursday.
Dallas 14-0 and Nanticoke Area 12-2, advance to the District 2 Class AA tournament next week.

Girls Softball
Nanticoke Area 12
Bishop O'Reilly 0
Jess Brenner fired a one-hit shutout and helped herself with a double as host Nanticoke Area improved to 10-1 with a 12-0 rout of Bishop O'Reilly.
LeeAnn Hower ripped a two-run double in the first. Brenner fanned six and didn't walk a batter.
Getting two hits each for the Trojanettes were Pam Walters, Lindsey Ludorf and Danielle Warren. Nanticoke goes to Hanover Area Friday.
BISHOP O'REILLY 000 00 - 0
NANTICOKE AREA 416 1x - 12
2B: Brenner, Hower; WP: Jess Brenner. IP 5, H 1, R 0, SO 6, BB 0; LP: Kathleen Paley. IP 3, H 9, R 11, ER 3, SO 2, BB 7; Erin Gatrone. IP 1, H 2, R 1, ER 1, SO 0, BB 1.

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