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Citizens Voice blog from the game:

Hola, it’s Tom Brolley live here on a beautiful day in Shippensburg. Nanticoke and Philipsburg-Osceola will be playing for the PIAA Class AA title shortly. The game will start probably after 2:15 as the Class AAA game ran a little long. P-O is out on the field first taking ground balls. Nanticoke will take the field after them and then we will get started. As soon as I get the lineups I will post them.

P-O will go with Chelsea Rex on the mound, the Mounties hot hand throughout the playoffs.

Nanticoke lineup and the away team
Sammy Gow, 2b
Jenn Harnischfeger, ss
Sarah Bertoni, p
Amanda Cardone, c
Maggie Gola, 3b
Kayla Benjamin, rf
Angie Hillan, cf
Lindsey Roberts, 1b
Kate Kowalski, lf

Philipsburg-Osceola lineup and the home team
Kelsey Gonder, 3b
Mackenzie Wilson, ss
Chasity Myers, 2b
Taylor Harpster, c
Chelsea Rex, p
Morgan Coble, rf
Katelynn Burge, dp
Amanda Arnold, 1b
Amber Hockenberry, lf
Macy Harpster, cf/flex

The umpires for today’s are William K. Dithrich behind the plate, Hubert T. Flaherty at first, Thomas E. McElhaney at second and Bryan E. Callan at third.

2:20: The captains and coaches are out on the field going over the ground rules and we’re about ready to start.

Top 1st
TV timeout delaying the start of the game, but the Nanticoke fans and bench start a “Sammy” chant for leadoff hitter Sammy Gow. PCN must be getting some state senate reports in.
Gow fouls out to the third baseman.
Harnsichfeger strikes out on three pitches.
Bertoni draws a two-out walk, Kaylee Shinski is on as a courtesy runner.
Cardone grounds out to the first baseman.

The score is 0-0 through a half inning.

Bottom 1st
Bertoni with a stab on a grounder back up the middle to retire Gonder.
Bertoni strikes out Wilson with a pitch in the dirt, Cardone throws down to first for the out.
Roberts makes a dive to stop a grounder to first and then dives head first into the bag to retire Myers.

The score though one inning is 0-0

Top 2nd
Gola draws a full-count walk to leadoff the second.
Benjamin’s sacrifice attempt results in a force play at second to get Gola.
Hillan chops one to thrid baseman who forces Benjamin at second.
Roberts fouls out to the third baseman.

The score through an inning and a half, 0-0

Bottom 2nd
Harpster draws a walk to start the inning.
Rex bunts Hapster’s courtesy runner to second on the sacrifice.
Coble grounds out to Harnischfeger, Harpster’s courtest runner advances to third.
Burge grounds out to Harnischfeger at short. Roberts squeezes a high throw to keep the run from scoring.

Through two innings, 0-0

Top 3rd
Kowalski strikes out looking
Gow grounds out to third.
Harnischfeger strikes out swinging.
That inning saw two questionable strike calls on what would’ve been a ball four to Kowalski (high) and what was a second strike on Harnischfeger (low and inside). Believe me, I’ve got a view from my seat behind the plate.

Through two and a half innings, 0-0

Bottom 3rd
Arnold fouls out to Cardone.
Hockenberry fouls out to Roberts.
Gonder flies out to the left field.

Through three innings, 0-0. Bertoni and Rex have each allowed no hits so far.

Top 4th
Bertoni flies out to left field.
After a battle, Cardone pops out to the first baseman.
Gola strikes out swinging.

Through three and a half innings.

Bottom 4th
Wilson strikes out looking.
Myers goes down on strikes.
Harpster picks up the first hit of the game on a grounder between third and shortstop.
Bertoni rebounds to get Rex to fly out on to first.

Through four innings, 0-0

Top 5th
Benjamin flies out to the pitcher.
Hillan drives a ball right to the left fielder for the second out.
Roberts flies out to the right field.
As Jill Snowdon noted there have been a lot of pop ups so far. Neither team has made real good contact yet. Hillan’s drive to left was the closest thing to solid contact for either team.

Through four and a half, 0-0.

Bottom 5th
Coble strikes out on Bertoni’s “funny one,” a.k.a. her off-speed pitch as one P-O fan called it.
Burge drives one to left center but Kowalski is there to run it down.
Arnold strikes out swinging.
The question is, which pitcher will blink first here?

Through five innings, 0-0

Top 6th
Kowalski strikes out swining.
Gow’s out on a close play at first after her grounder to third.
Harnischfeger ends Rex’s no-hitter with a line drive past the third baseman.
Bertoni flies out to second to end the inning.

Through five and a half, 0-0

Bottom 6th
Hockeberry reaches first on a tough break for Nanticoke. Hockenberry’s grounder took a big bounce and hit Harnischfeger in the throat for a base hit. After a quick look, Harnischfeger will stay in the game.
Gonder moves the runner to second on a ground out to Gow.
Wilson flies out to Gow, keeping Hockenberry at second with two outs.
Myers lines out to Gola.

Bertoni pitches herself out of a jam to keep the score at 0-0 heading into the the seventh.

Top 7th
Poker Face plays on the sound system between innings. A fitting song as both teams have stared each other down through six innings. Who will be the first to blink?
Cardone flares on over the pitcher near second base and she races for a leadoff hit.
Harpster makes sliding catch into the backstop and recovers to throw Cardone out at second trying to tag up.
Benjamin grounds out to first base.

Through six and a half, 0-0
Bertoni gets a big out as Harpster flies out to Gow.
Rex strikes out swinging.
Coble singles into left field after the ball glances of Harnischfeger’s glove deep in the hole.
Burge flies out to Gow.

We’re going extras as the score remains 0-0.

Top 8th
Hillan grounds out to shortstop.
Roberts strikes out looking.
Kowalski strikes out to end the inning.

Through seven and a half, the song remains the same.

Bottom 8th
Arnold flies out to Harnischfeger.
Hockenberry strikes out swining.
Gonder grounds out to second.

If you’re stuck in NEPA, there still maybe time to see the end of this one. It’s 0-0 through eight.

Top 9th
Gow drops one behind the shortstop for a leadoff hit.
Harnischfeger drops a sacrifice bunt to advance Gow to second.
Bertoni singles up the middle and Gow comes in from second. The Trojans have broken through, 1-0. Shinski comes into run for Bertoni at second.
The Trojan bench comes alive and G-N-A chants start from the outfield at Robb Field.
Cardone intentionally walked.
Gabby Grabowski comes into pinch hit for Gola.
Grabowski straikes out swinging.
Benjamin flies out to the shortstop.

Nanticoke now leads 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Bottom 9th
Wilson grounds out to Roberts.
Myers lines one to the left of Gola to put the tying run on base.
Harpster sends a triple into deep right center past a lunging Hillan. Myers’ courtesy runner comes into score the game at 1-1.
Carly Gonder has come in to run for Harpster. Bertoni needs to regroup and get two outs to continue.
Rex lines a grounder at Harnischfeger and she throws a perfect strike Cardone to gun down Carly Gonder at the plate. Huge play
Coble grounds out to second base.

We’re at 1-1 through nine innings. What a wild inning.

Top 10th

We’re going to the international tiebreaker. Benjamin, who made the last out, takes second base with no outs.
Hillan lays down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Benjamin to third.
Roberts tries to bunt Benjamin home but is unsuccessful. The Mounties take the out at first and Benjamin stays at third.
Kowalski draws a walkAfte to make it first and third.
Gow strikes out swinging in a full count.

Through nine and a half innings, it’s 1-1

Bottom 10th
Internation tiebreaker in place, Coble starts at second base.
Harpster lays down a sacrifice bunt to move Coble to third.
Heads up play by Bertoni, pump faked bunt to first and got Coble in a rundown between third and home. Harnischfeger makes the tag for the out. Big second out, Arnold does advance to second on the play.
Hockenberry grounds to Harnichfeger and is taken out by the baserunner for the third out.

Into the 11th, it’s 1-1
Gow starts at second because of the international tiebreaker.
Harnischfeger pops up her bunt attempt, keeping Gow at second.
Bertoni will be intentionally walked to bring up Cardone.
Cardone fouls out to the third baseman.
Gola smacks a double into left center of the glove of the left fielder. Gow and Schinski come around to score, Schinski beating a tag by Harpster to make it 3-1.
Benjamin grounds out to end the inning.

Through 10 and a half innings it’s 3-1 Nanticoke.

Bottom 11th
There’s a line out to Harnischfeger.
Harnischfeger scoops up a grounder to get
Hillan catches fly out to seal the victory.

Nanticoke wins the PIAA title with a 3-1 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola.
"Athlete of the Week" - Citizens Voice
Maggie Gola

Hometown: Nanticoke
Age: 16
Family: Parents, Stephen and Tammy: Younger sister, Miranda.

Accomplishment: Gola blasted a two-run double with two outs in the top of the 11th to help lead Nanticoke Area to a 3-1 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola for the PIAA Class AA championship.

Favorite subject: Biology
Favorite book: Twilight series
Favorite TV show: `The Vampire Diaries' Favorite musician: Drake
Favorite food: Tacos
Favorite sport: College softball
Favorite team: Tennessee
Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter
Maggie's dream prom date: Channing Tatum Away from sports, Maggie enjoys hanging out with friends and working at Main Bike World.
If Maggie could travel anywhere in the world, she'd hop the next plane to ... Australia.
Maggie's favorite thing about softball is ... batting.
Maggie thinks the hardest thing about softball is ... fielding.
Maggie's favorite game from the past season is ... the state championship game.
If Maggie could hit a home run off any pitcher, she'd like to blast one off ... Sarah Bertoni.
Maggie's biggest role models have been ... her parents and grandparents.
On the horizon... Maggie wants to play softball is college.

Trojans score an ‘A’ on final in determination Paul Sokoloski Opinion

In an exhausting game intent on taxing the body and punishing the mind, one important intangible allowed Nanticoke Area to survive an 11-inning state softball championship.
The Trojans won it on willpower.
“We were tired out there,” Nanticoke second baseman Sammi Gow said. “It was such a hot day. But we just had to keep playing.
“We wanted this game so bad.”
How much did it mean to Nanticoke?
Left fielder Kate Kowalski nearly leaped out of her shoes to snare a deep shot in the fifth inning. That came after first baseman Lindsey Roberts not only stole away a single with a diving play, but went face-first back to the bag to record the final out of the first frame.
Those are the last two batters in Nanticoke’s order, and neither one got so much as a dinky little hit. But that didn’t stop them from making a big impact any way they could Friday in the biggest high school game of their lives, which the Trojans turned into a 3-1 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola in the PIAA Class 2A state title game.
“We pick each other up,” Trojans third baseman Maggie Gola said.
Sometimes, they pick themselves back up.
The Trojans selected her No. 5 spot in the batting order as the place to put in a pinch hitter to bunt with two runners on and one out in the ninth inning, getting Gola more than a little upset.
But her disappointment turned into Nanticoke’s delight the next time she stepped to the plate, and struck gold with a two-run double in the 11th inning that delivered a state championship to the Trojans.
“I figured I’ll just hit the next time,” Gola said of being replaced by a pinch hitter.
Nobody was thinking of removing star pitcher Sarah Bertoni from the mound, after she struck out seven and held one of the state’s most potent offenses to a meager five hits. But for the first time in a long time she not only surrendered a run, but it was the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Yet, she never let her opponent celebrate the winning run, using a tricky fake throw to trap a runner at third base into the 10th inning’s second out.
“You just do your best,” Bertoni said.
You do it long enough, and they wind up calling you a champion.
Jenn Harnischfeger did it at shortstop with a terrific defensive day, including a perfect throw that cut down the would-be winning run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Defense is what won the game,” Harnischfeger said. “When they scored their run and tied it up, I guess we all kind of put our heads down. But we all had to pull together and tighten up our defense.”
Gola pulled out her inner resolve and put it on display, with five flawless plays in the field and two runs scored on the bases. And when they weren’t giving up at-bats for the good of the team, catcher Amanda Cardone and outfielders Angie Hillan and Kayla Benjamin were sacrificing their sweat on a strength-sapping 85-degree day in Shippensburg for the sake of a state title.
“They made a lot of big-time plays,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “They just didn’t want to lose this one.”
His team of Trojans used extra effort to confirm it, with an unconquerable will that showed how much they wanted to win.
Paul Sokoloski is a Times Leader sports columnist. You may reach him at 970-7109 or email him at

Rock of a hurler doesn’t crumble Paul Sokoloski Opinion

Paul Sokoloski

In one jarring moment, Sarah Bertoni may have discovered more about herself than all of her strikeouts and past playoff success could have showed.
She found out just how much mettle it takes to win a gold medal.
Bertoni has been the golden girl of Nanticoke while pitching the Trojans through their memorable postseason, making even the best hitting teams in Pennsylvania look punchless. She surrendered just two runs through 41 playoff innings over six spectacular games, and only one of those was earned.
She gave up one more Friday.
And it nearly made Nanticoke surrender the PIAA Class 2A state title.
Right after the Trojans finally broke through for the first run in the top of the ninth inning of a marathon title game played in strength-sapping heat, a rocket shot off Bertoni silenced Nanticoke’s celebration.
Chasity Myers laced a one-out single, and here came powerful Taylor Harpster, the cleanup hitter in Philipsburg-Osceola’s lineup, with a booming RBI double to deep center field that sent the tying run home and put the potential winning run on third base.
Over on the mound, wiping sweat from her eyes – but never tears of surrender – Bertoni couldn’t help but wonder if she’d just blown the state championship.
“Oh yeah,” admitted Bertoni, a junior. “It crossed my mind a lot.”
But the winning run never crossed the plate for Philipsburg-Osceola, because Nanticoke’s rock refused to crumble.
“I just had to be confident,” Bertoni said.
She had to be brave enough to keep the game going at the very instant her team’s golden opportunity appeared to be gone.
So Bertoni went with what she knows best. She leaned on her defense.
She induced a ground ball to Jenn Harnischfeger, whose great throw from shortstop turned a bad baserunning decision by Philipsburg-Osceola into the inning’s second out, at home plate. Another soft grounder to smooth Sammi Gow at second ended the inning, along with Nanticoke’s anxiety.
“Sarah, I know she was probably a little shaken up,” Gow said. “But Sarah has a real good mental attitude.”
If she couldn’t overpower a one-loss Philipsburg-Osceola team, Bertoni sure could outsmart her opponent.
The very next inning, when the teams went to international tiebreaker rules in the 10th by starting each at-bat with a runner on second, Bertoni made the play of the state tournament. With the potential winning run on third base and one out for the second straight inning, Bertoni wriggled out of danger again. She snagged a grounder, faked a throw to first base and fired to third to trap the baserunner.
You want to know why Maggie Gola was able to turn into a hero with a two-run double that gave Nanticoke enough for a 3-1 victory and the Class 2A state title in the top of the 11th?
Because Bertoni gave Gola and the rest of her teammates that chance.
When her dreams were about to be shattered, Bertoni refused to let them crack.
“We kind of feed off Sarah,” Harnischfeger said. “We would never have gotten to achieve all this without her. She’s a great pitcher. This whole playoff run, Sarah pitched almost perfect. Today was really the first day they got around on her.”
They might have finally flustered the unbeatable Bertoni during her phenomenal postseason. But facing fear never forced her to falter. Even if the idea of failure might have made her sweat.

About the Author
Paul Sokoloski is a sports columnist and reporter for the Times Leader. Reach him at (570) 970-7109 or at

Trojans loaded for another run
There’s only 2 senior starters on title team. Star pitcher Bertoni among 18 returnees.

It doesn’t happen often that a high school team from Pennsylvania, no matter what sport, repeats as a state champion.
When it comes to softball in fact, the feat has only been accomplished three times in Class 2A, with the last coming in 1986 and 1987 when Minersville claimed back-to-back state titles.
Iroquois won consecutive crowns in 1982 and 1983 and Minersville was another back-to-back gold winner in 1979 and 1980.
But with a boatload of underclassmen – 18 to be exact – and just a pair of starting seniors, the Trojans sit in good position to be the fourth school in Class 2A history to accomplish the feat.
Star pitcher Sarah Bertoni, who turned her pitching up a notch in the playoffs by only allowing two earned runs in seven games, will return for her senior season. Not only that but she led the team in hitting this season and had a big hit in Friday’s 3-1, 11-inning title win over Philipsburg-Osceola in the PIAA Class 2A title game.
The only two graduating starters are shortstop Jenn Harnischfeger and catcher Amanda Cardone.
“I’m sure next year they’ll be back in this position with Sarah,” said Harnischfeger, whose three-sport standout career for the Trojans also included her impressive play in field hockey and basketball.
Bertoni is the only junior on the Nanticoke roster, and has the luxury of playing for a title team that includes 14 sophomores and three freshmen.
Maggie Gola, who had the game-winning hit on Friday, is just a sophomore. She led the team with four home runs and 19 RBI this season and hit well over .300.
Leadoff hitter and team catalyst Sammi Gow hit nearly .500 in the playoffs and is also just a sophomore, along with speedster Ange Hillan, right fielder Kate Kowalski and first baseman Lindsay Roberts.
“I think we can come back next year,” Bertoni said. “We still have a solid team. We lose two seniors, but we’re still strong.”
Kayla Benjamin, who started as a freshman, had her offensive struggles during the playoffs but came through big in the field. The outfielder made a wonderful diving catch in the 10-0 state semifinal win against Central Columbia and showed a great arm in the field as well.
When you add in sophomore pitcher Hannah Rubasky, who didn’t allow a run all season in 38 innings, the Trojans might be in the hunt for more state gold than just next season.

Bertoni delivers
By Tom Brolley - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area pitcher Sarah Bertoni usually finds her catcher, Amanda Cardone, to hug first after a victory.
But on Friday, Bertoni drifted toward the outfield as she watched center fielder Angie Hillan squeeze the 33rd and final out.
Bertoni was greeted by shortstop Jenn Harnischfeger, second baseman Sammy Gow and the rest of the Nanticoke players as they piled right behind the circle that Bertoni had dominated in for 11 innings.
Bertoni, a stalwart on the rubber all season, didn't bend in a grueling 11-inning marathon that ended in a 3-1 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola to give Nanticoke Area the PIAA Class AA state title.
"I knew it was over right when I saw it hit there because Ang is a fast runner and she would track it down," Bertoni said. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm glad we got this far and we wanted to win this."
Bertoni, hitting in the third spot in the lineup, came up with what seemed like the game-winning RBI two innings earlier.
With Bertoni and Chelsea Rex going toe-to-toe on the mound through eight innings, the Trojan junior slapped a hit up the middle that died in the outfield to bring home Sammy Gow in from second for the game's first run.
The Trojan bench erupted and chants of "G-N-A" came from the outfield bleachers as Nanticoke Area was the first team to break through for a run.
The celebration didn't last long after P-O clean-up hitter Taylor Harpster smoked a RBI-triple to the right field gap in the bottom half of the inning that just evaded the glove of a lunging Hillan.
"I just had to go up to (Sarah) and tell her to relax. I have all the confidence in the world in her," Cardone said. "She wasn't rattled, she was just mad and furious. When she get's furious, she pitches like a monster."
With Harpster's courtesy runner, Carly Gonder, representing the winning run at third with one out, Bertoni got a big play from two Trojan seniors.
Rex smacked a grounder at Harnischfeger who scooped and fired a perfect strike to Cardone who applied the tag for the pivotal out of the ninth.
"I got a little nervous because I didn't want her to score," Bertoni said. "I knew I just had to throw strikes. Our defense is really good and they'd been strong the whole game."
After the ninth inning, the game went to the international tiebreaker, which puts a runner on second base to start the inning.
After Nanticoke failed to score in the top of the 10th, P-O successfully sacrificed its runner to third.
With the title on the line and the winning run 60 feet away for the second straight inning, Bertoni got the Trojans out of the jam with a trick-play that went awry against Troy in the quarterfinals.
Bertoni fielded a squeeze bunt and pumped a throw to first and turned back to third to find the P-O runner halfway down the line.
After a brief rundown, Harnischfeger tagged the Mounties runner out to end the threat, giving Maggie Gola the chance to win the game with a two-run double in the 11th.
Bertoni failed to execute the "check-and-go," as Nanticoke coach Gary Williams called it, with a 3-0, seventh-inning lead against Troy and the Trojans had to hold on for a 3-2 victory.
"I knew that she couldn't score and I knew that was the only way that I could get her out," Bertoni said. "I just went for it. I've done it a couple times but I usually mess it up."
Bertoni came into the state final allowing just three runs and eight hits dating back to the District 2 final against Elk Lake.
Rex came in with even more impressive numbers as she threw three one-hit games in four tries since the District 6 title game.
But Bertoni won the pitcher's duel with seven strikeouts and only five Mounties' hits in 11 innings to cap off a memorable state-title run.
"As the playoffs started, it seemed like she got better every single game," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. "That's a good team and she just stymied them. Granted, she didn't have a lot of strikeouts but she had a lot of easy pop-ups and a lot easy ground balls."

Dynasty in the making?

By Tom Brolley and Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area graduates just four seniors this year - Jenn Harnischfeger, Amanda Cardone, Katie Brown and Jess McDermott.
The future looks bright for the Trojans following their 3-1 win over Philipsburg-Osceola in the PIAA Class AA championship game.
The Trojans welcome back ace Sarah Bertoni, 15 up-and-coming juniors and three sophomores-to-be.
"We're so young that this has to give the kids coming back tremendous confidence for next year," Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said. "And it's a great way to send out our seniors."
Defensive gems
There was plenty of action unfolding in the extra innings of Friday's game to overshadow some of the little things that happened early.
But Nanticoke Area outfielder Katie Kowalski came up with a pair of defensive saves in the early-going.
The sophomore made a nice grab in left field on a pop-up to record P-O's third out of the inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Kowalski chased down a hard hit shot to left center by the Mounties' Katelynn Burge for the second out.
"I give Nanticoke a lot of credit because they got out of some jams and they made the plays," P-O coach Jim Gonder said. "Defensively, they did a great job."
Extra Innings
Nanticoke Area won its first state title since 2003, a year the Trojans saw their fair share of extra-inning games, including a 21-inning game against Mifflinburg.
The Trojans and Philipsburg-Osceola came into Friday's state title game off of 10-0, mercy-rule victories but Williams knew it would be a low-scoring game Friday.
He just didn't know it would take to the 11th inning for a team to put an odd number up on the scoreboard.
Friday's game was the longest PIAA title game since 1989 when Baldwin beat Williamsport 1-0 in 12 innings.
Battling Bertoni
Bertoni has been playing softball since she was 9, but she's never pitched in a game that went as long as Friday's contest.
Williams asked Bertoni in the eighth if she was OK and feeling strong and the Trojans junior told the coach she was good to go the rest of the way.
"This is the state championship," Bertoni said, "you have to put that all behind you and I just threw as hard as I could."

Times Leader

Nanticoke Trojans (25-1)
Coach: Gary Williams
(282-161, 20th year)

Schedule and Results
March 18: Delaware Valley …W, 11-4
March 30: Berwick …W, 7-3
April 3: Old Forge …W, 15-2
April 5: Crestwood …W, 7-3
April 8: Coughlin …W, 4-0
April 12: Pittston Area …W, 6-0
April 15: Holy Redeemer …W, 6-0
April 19: Hazleton Area …W, 7-3
April 21: Wyoming Valley West …W, 5-0
April 27: Wyoming Area …W, 10-0
April 28: Berwick …W, 13-0
May 3: Tunkhannock …W, 1-0
May 5: Dallas …L, 5-3
May 8: Selinsgrove …W, 10-0
May 8: Central Columbia …W, 3-1
May 10: Coughlin …W, 7-0
May 11: Crestwood…W, 4-3
May 13: Pittston Area …W, 11-0
May 17: Holy Redeemer …W, 13-0
May 19: Hazleton Area …W, 4-0

District 2 Playoffs
May 26: Carbondale …W, 3-0
May 28: Northwest …W, 2-1
June 2: Elk Lake …W, 3-0

PIAA Championships
June 7: Pine Grove… W, 2-1
June 10: Troy …W, 2-0
June 14: Central Columbia …W, 10-0

Nanticoke Trojans
No. Name Grade
0 Hannah Rubasky So.
2 Ange Hillan So.
3 Liz Dougherty So.
4 Jenn Harnischfeger Sr.
5 Sarah Bertoni Jr.
7 Amanda Cardone Sr.
9 Bronwyn Perrins So.
10 Kayla Banjamin Fr.
11 Kate Wolfe So.
12 Kate Brown Sr.
13 Kayleigh Schinski Fr.
14 Ali Matulewski Fr.
16 Gabby Grabowski So.
17 Maggie Gola So.
21 Ashley Horoschock So.
22 Jess McDermott Sr.
23 Sammi Gow So.
26 Kate Kowalski So.
32 Thomasina Watson So.
33 Brooke Chapin So.
55 Lindsay Roberts So.
66 Kelsey Rynkiewicz So.

Team Leaders

Batting Average
Sarah Bertoni… .409
Jenn Harnischfeger… .396
Lindsay Roberts ….391
Sammi Gow ….333
Maggie Gola ….326
Ange Hillan ….308
Amanda Cardone… .286

Home Runs
Maggie Gola …4
Kate Wolfe …3
Amanda Cardone… 2
Sammi Gow …2
Kate Kowalski… 2
Lindsay Roberts… 2
Jenn Harnischfeger… 1
Jess McDermott …1

Maggie Gola …19
Sarah Bertoni …16
Amanda Cardone… 15
Kate Kowalski …14
Jenn Harnischfeger… 11
Sammi Gow …10


W - L
Sarah Bertoni
Hannah Rubasky
Brooke Chapin

The bigger they are, harder they fall
Nanticoke has thrived on underdog role on its path to state title game.

It seems like Nanticoke has been the underdog every game this postseason.

PIAA Class 2A Championship
Nanticoke (25-1) vs.
Philipsburg-Osceola (25-1)
2 p.m. at Shippensburg University
PIAA Softball Finalists from District 2

2010 – Class 2A Nanticoke vs. Philipsburg-Osceola
2009 – Class A Old Forge (L)
2006 – Class A Blue Ridge d. Iroquois, 1-0
2006 – Class 2A Lakeland (L)
2004 – Class A Blue Ridge d. Sto-Rox, 2-0
2003 – Class 2A Nanticoke Area d. Center, 4-0
2002 – Class A Blue Ridge (L)
2001 – Class A Bishop O’Hara d. Sto-Rox, 3-1
2000 – Class 2A Valley View d. Philipsburg-Osceola, 1-0

In five of six games, the Trojans have defeated the odds and came out victorious.
Some said that since Nanticoke lost to Dallas during the regular season and the Mountaineers weren’t as strong as other years, the Trojans wouldn’t even get past Northwest in the District 2 Class 2A semifinals.
Well, Nanticoke defeated the Rangers to get to the finals.
Then came unbeaten Elk Lake and star pitcher Brooke Darling in the D2 title game.
The Trojans not only beat the Warriors, pitcher Sarah Bertoni hurled a no-hitter.
But Nanticoke won’t get out of the first round of states, some naysayers quipped.
Well, the team responded with three convincing wins to become the ninth team from District 2 to advance to the state title game. The Trojans (25-1) will try to claim the sixth gold medal for the district when they take on District 6 champion Philipsburg-Osceola (25-1) today at 2 p.m. at Shippensburg University. The last D2 team to win a state gold was Blue Ridge in 2006. With a win, Nanticoke will tie the Red Raiders as the only team from D2 with a pair of state titles. The Trojans claimed No. 1 in the state in 2003.
“I want to win really bad so I’m going to go out there and warm up and take my time and get ready for the game,” Bertoni said. “We’ve been in these types of games and a lot of us are in travel teams so we know what it’s like. So we’re just going to go in like it’s another game.”
It may be just another game for the Trojans, but it may be a tough task and they most likely enter as underdog once again.
The Mounties have a loaded offense, powerful pitching and three starters remaining from a team that won the state title in 2007. They also come from a district which has produced six of the last seven state finalists. Either P-O or Bald Eagle Area have represented the western part of the state in the final game in all but one year since 2004. Bald Eagle Area was the 2A state champion last year and the Mounties defeated it twice this season. P-O also has a pair of wins against Bellefonte, which is playing for the Class 3A state title this afternoon.
Led by head coach Jim Gonder, who has racked up 489 wins in 30 years of coaching, P-O has only trailed for one half inning the entire postseason.
On offense, the Mounties possess four batters who have batting averages over .400 with catcher Taylor Harpster leading the way hitting at a .487 clip with three home runs and 24 RBI. She also boasts an outstanding .675 slugging percentage and a .518 on base percentage. Overall, the team is hitting .381 and averaging more than seven runs per game this season.
“Right now, it seems like Sarah is just going to have to throw her fastball really well,” Trojans senior catcher Amanda Cardone said. “She has to just pitch her heart out out there, more than she’s ever done before. She has to pitch the best game, that’s just it.”
From the circle, Philipsburg-Osceola has two tough pitchers. The Mounties’ probable starting pitcher is junior Chelsea Rex, who enters the game with a 15-1 record, 174 strikeouts and an earned run average of 0.91 in 107 innings of work. Rex has drawn comparisons to Elk Lake’s Darling and that didn’t phase the Trojans too much as they grinded out three runs and six hits off the ace.
Senior hurler Kelsey Gonder is 10-0 with seven shutouts, 90 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.37 in 57 innings.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” Trojans coach Gary Williams said. “We need another solid game from Sarah and we need to be able to put the ball in play like we’ve been preaching to them all year long. We can’t be in double digits in strikeouts.”
Against tough pitchers in the postseason the Trojans struck out 12 times each against Darling and Troy’s Kate Pratt. Both of games ended in close victories for Nanticoke.
Even if they get similar results this afternoon, the Trojans would probably gladly take it, along with shiny new gold medals to show off to the entire state.

Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area assistant coach Diane James found the best thing possible to motivate the Trojanettes softball team on the eve of their PIAA Class AA championship game.
And in the process it brought back a number of happy of memories for the 24-year old.
James provided the Trojanettes with an inspirational speech at Thursday's practice and proudly showed off her PIAA gold medal.
"I brought out the gold because I wanted them to see how special it still is to me and they have a chance to get one of their own now," James said.
Nanticoke Area will get that opportunity at 2 today against Philipsburg-Osceola at Shippensburg University.
James was a junior third baseman for Nanticoke Area when it won the AA state title in 2003. She now serves as an assistant coach, along with fellow 2003 team members Leah Lavelle and Leann Harvey.
"It really takes me back to when I played," James said. "After the last out against Central Columbia (in the AA semifinals), I started to cry. And when we were at dinner as a team, I looked at Amanda (Cardone) and Sarah (Bertoni) and I told them 'seven years ago it was me going through this and now it's your turn.'"
In the days since Nanticoke has started its state playoff run, James has flipped through her old scrapbooks and she's been in touch with her former teammates.
"We keep in touch and are still friends," said James, who is now a Youth Service Specialist with PA Child Care. "We had so much fun together that season and we did everything together, whether it was sleepovers, going for pizza, going to the movies. And everyone from that team is so proud of this group of girls. They have so much support behind them."
It comes as no surprise to former Nanticoke first baseman Kaylee Ziolkowski that Nanticoke is making another run at the state title. In fact, Ziolkowski said it was just a matter of time before they returned.
"Even when we were playing, I remember hearing about Sammy Gow, Amanda Cardone, Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Bertoni," Ziolkowski said. "They were just in Little League at the time, but that's how good they were."
Ziolkowski is now pursuing a career in nursing and her schedule doesn't allow her much time for attending games, but she still keeps tabs on Nanticoke softball.
"Nanticoke softball is a tradition and it's been six years since I graduated but I still follow every team," Ziolkowski. "We had a close-knit team and as someone who played there, you're drawn to what they are going through now."
James and Ziolkowski can only relive their days as Nanticoke players through video and scrapbooks, but the 2010 Trojanette squad is giving them a chance to relive some of their best memories as a teenager.
"The game itself is a bit of a blur, but I remember every thing else about that day," James said of Nanticoke's 4-0 victory over Center. "I remember getting on the bus and getting to Shippensburg and seeing the PIAA banner and I remember looking out in the outfield and tearing up because we made it to the state final.
"Sometimes when you're young and in the moment you don't fully appreciate it, but I hope they get the full grasp of it (Friday)."

On the verge of greatness
Nanticoke players relaxed while preparing for state title game.

With 48 hours to go until the biggest game of their high school careers, Nanticoke players didn’t seem much different than they did a few months ago.

Up Next
PIAA Class 2A Final
District 2 champion Nanticoke (25-1) vs.
District 6 champion Philipsburg-Osceola (25-1)
Friday 2 p.m. at Shippensburg University

As the girls practiced Wednesday morning at the Nanticoke Little League Field, nervousness was not present as the athletes were smiling, joking and loose.
“I don’t know (why). I guess we’re just awake,” senior catcher Amanda Cardone said. “We always talk to each other just to wake each other up and just fool around and stuff but we feel good today I guess.”
Practicing at 9 in the morning is a good way to wake up, but there are many reasons why the Trojans (25-1) may be relaxed heading into Friday’s PIAA Class 2A championship game.
Maybe it’s because they are confident heading into the contest against one-loss Philipsburg-Osceola (25-1) at 2 p.m. at Shippensburg University’s Robb Field.
And why shouldn’t they be hopeful?
Nanticoke has won 13 consecutive games since a 5-3 setback to Dallas more than a month ago. In that span the team has dispatched some of the best pitchers in the state and has won eight of those games via shutout as junior pitcher Sarah Bertoni has staked her claim as a top hurler in Pennsylvania. In six postseason games, she has allowed only one earned run and given up just 14 hits in 41 innings. Overall this season she has thrown 128 innings only giving up 25 runs, 62 hits and 26 walks while fanning 168 and posting a 1.37 ERA. The team even built more momentum when it walloped Central Columbia, 10-0 in the state semifinals.
“We’re pretty confident because of (the 10-0 win) but we can’t get too excited about it because this next team is going to be better than them most likely,” Bertoni said.
The Mounties appear to be much better as they enter tomorrow’s game winners of 22 straight including two wins against defending state champion Bald Eagle Area and two more over District 6 Class 3A champion Bellefonte – which is playing for a gold medal tomorrow. But the Trojans might think they have a good chance because they pack a strong punch of postseason experience.
Four starters remain from the Nanticoke squad which won a District 2 Class 2A title in 2008 and advanced to the state quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Loyalsock.
Cardone and fellow seniors Kate Brown and Jenn Harnischfeger were key parts of that run as was Bertoni, who was a freshman second baseman at the time.
“It really does (give us motivation) because it felt so good last time when we were up there against Loyalsock and I wanted to win so bad,” said Cardone, who was catcher for that team as well. “But now that we’re past that and we’re going to states on Friday that’s just an amazing feeling and I just am so happy that we’re here right now.”
The experience doesn’t stop there though.
Several players were part of the Nanticoke/Newport junior softball team which placed eighth in the world last summer at the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Washington. Other players were on a Babe Ruth Softball team, which advanced to the World Series in Connecticut. The Trojans roster consists of 14 sophomores and three freshmen who saw playing time in both runs which began less than a year ago. Six of those players are current starters. Many players also experienced winning on the junior high level with the Trojans program and have carried that over.
“They’re used to the kind of pressure of this game and I think all that history has built the confidence they have and their ability to relax and stay loose,” coach Gary Williams said.
Or maybe the team’s calmness comes from the veteran mentor who is in his 20th season, has piled up 282 career wins and has past experience in the postseason with five District 2 titles, four Wyoming Valley Conference divisional championships and a PIAA Class 2A gold medal in 2003.
“I hope the fact that I’m very calm about it relates to them and they stay calm,” the coach noted. “I think the biggest problem with a lot of teams when they get in (the state tournament) for the first time is the nervousness you experience about the unknown and that’s when things start falling apart. Our whole coaching staff has been a pretty calm approach.”
And it’s that method that may lead the school to its second softball state title.

This squad has many links to the title team Paul Sokoloski Opinion
By a 4-0 score and seven years ago, their forbearers brought forth this remarkable new reality.
Paul Sokoloski Opinion - Times Leader

A team can come out of the Wyoming Valley Conference and go all the way to a state softball championship.
The Nanticoke Area Trojans of 2003 didn’t just defeat Center to win the PIAA Class 2A title that day. They beat the odds, along with any doubts about the quality of softball around here.
To this day, that team of Trojans remains the only WVC team to capture a state title.
At least until Friday.
That’s when another team from Nanticoke Area goes back to Shippensburg University to play for a state softball championship again in Class 2A.
It is a perfect time for a new class of Trojans to join the town’s old heroes in an elite class.
“It’s great these girls have an opportunity to do it,” said Kristen Castano, the star shortstop on that 2003 Trojans team. “It’s awesome what they’re going through.”
She is a special education teacher and a field hockey and softball coach living in Virginia now.
But Castano says that moment of triumph will live with her forever, even if this year’s Nanticoke team makes sure 2003 is no longer the only special state memory Wyoming Valley Conference softball holds.
“It was fun while it lasted. Records like that are made to be broken. I wouldn’t be opposed to it at all,” Castano said, before adding with a laugh, “only because it’s Nanticoke. If it were any other team, I wouldn’t be saying that.”
Some members from that 2003 title team who watched this year play out say this is the ideal team to join them in title celebration.
“I see a lot of us in them,” said Leah Lavelle, a right fielder on that 2003 Nanticoke Area team who is now a junior high coach in the program. “They’re one team, together. They do everything together. They just support each other. A lot of positive talk.”
In the most pressure-packed moments of the playoffs, that type of camaraderie can mean the difference between going all the way and going away disappointed.
The 2003 Trojans should know.
They relied on each other’s enthusiasm just to get through the PIAA playoffs, during nail-biting games that lasted 11 and 14 innings and finally a 20-inning state semifinal marathon played over two days. No wonder those Trojans felt it was light work putting Center away in seven innings.
“I was like, ‘You mean that’s all there is?’” laughed Leanne Harvey, the left fielder on that 2003 Nanticoke Area team which went on to star for King’s College and is also a junior high coach in the system. “I remember it was crazy. That was about the only game we didn’t go extra innings.”
This year’s Trojans may not be tested to that degree, but they’ve gone the extra mile to beat intimidating playoff pitchers in tight games.“I think they’re similar in a lot of ways,” said Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams, who guided both squads into a state title game and whose third baseman from 2003, Diane James, is now his assistant coach.
“But there are some subtle differences,” Williams continued. “This year’s team is deeper in the number of kids who can play. This team has more team speed. The 2003 team was a better defensive team. This team is better offensively.”
Mostly, the two teams are bonded by a burning desire to be the best.
“I think it was just wanting it,” said Lavelle, whose sister Angie Hillan is one of the speedsters on this year’s squad. “It was the will to do whatever we had to do to win. I see that in these girls.”
Everyone saw it in the 2003 Trojans first.
“They started it,” Nanticoke Area’s current star pitcher Sarah Bertoni said. “We don’t want to let them down.”

Jill Snowdon- Citizens Voice

Having won the state title just three years ago, Philipsburg-Osceola holds a slight edge over Nanticoke Area in the PIAA playoffs.
But that alone isn't enough to rattle a Nanticoke team that features eight players who played on a team which finished sixth in the world last summer in the Junior League World Series and two more who played in the Babe Ruth World Series.
"I understand that they are a senior-laden team," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said of P-O. "They have players that have played in the state final before. But we have girls that experienced a lot of success with other teams that have played in really big games."
Nanticoke starters Sammy Gow and Maggie Gola, along with reserves Hannah Rubasky, Liz Dougherty, Brooke Chapin, Gabby Grabowski, Ashley Horoshak and Katie Kowalski, were members of the Nanticoke/Newport Junior League squad that won the Pennsylvania state title and the Eastern Regional before advancing to the World Series in Washington. There they played teams from Italy and the Philippines as well as powerhouse teams from Utah and Ohio.
Nanticoke catcher Amanda Cardone and star pitcher Sarah Bertoni were key members of the U-16 Babe Ruth team from Luzerne County that closed out the Babe Ruth World Series with an impressive second-place finish.
"(P-O) is a good hitting team and they are strong on defense," Williams said. "I've heard they are a lot like our team."
Both teams advanced to the state championship game with 10-0 semifinal wins. P-O defeated Wilmington in five innings and Nanticoke shutout Central Columbia in six. Williams, however, isn't expecting a high-scoring game.
"I'm thinking it's going to be a low-scoring game and it wouldn't surprise me if it went extra innings," Williams predicted.
Williams has enough information on P-O to have his team prepared, but the Mounties remain mum on their starter for the circle. Their choices are between Chelsea Rex, who has guided the Mounties through the post-season and has a 15-1 overall record, or Kelsey Gonder, who has a 10-0 record and 90 strikeouts.
"I heard that there are two really good pitchers for their team and I'm assuming we'll see Rex," Williams said. "I'm not too concerned with who is going to pitch for them because we can only control our own destiny. We have to play our own game."
Aside from a brief defensive breakdown in the seventh inning against Troy in the quarterfinals, Nanticoke has been nearly flawless. The Trojanettes have outscored their state playoff opponents, 15-3, and have been paced defensively by Bertoni in the circle.
A junior, Bertoni has thrown all 20 innings in the state tournament and has allowed eight hits, three walks and three runs. She's also struck out 23 runners.
Behind Bertoni stands a stellar defense that includes Lindsey Roberts, Gow, Jenn Harnischfeger, Maggie Gola, Kowalski, Angela Hillan and Kayla Benjamin.
"The kids have a routine," Williams said. "And when you get to this point you just keep doing the same things that helped get you here."
Noteworthy: Six different players connected for hits in Nanticoke's win over Central Columbia, including Maggie Gola who drove in four RBIs on a double and a single.
That kind of dominating offense most likely won't come around against P-O, so the Trojanettes will need to take advantage of their opportunities.
Gow, Bertoni and Kowalski are Nanticoke's top hitters in the postseason as they've each produced at least one hit in each of the last three state playoff games. Gow has six singles, three runs and an RBI. Bertoni has three singles and three RBI, including the game-winning RBI in the first round against Pine Grove. Kowalski has a triple, two singles and a run scored for the Trojanettes.
Freshman Kayla Benjamin is rather new to the Trojanettes' line as she took over in right field for an injured Katie Brown in early May. The diminutive rookie has provided the Trojanettes with some big outs in the playoffs. She raced down a gapper and made a sliding catch to record Central Columbia's third out in the fifth inning. She also added her first hit of the postseason with a single against Troy.

'The perfect matchup'
Tom Brolley - Citizens voice

As Philipsburg-Osceola coach Jim Gonder read and learned about Nanticoke Area this week, he couldn't get over the similarities between the state finalists.
The Trojans and Mounties will meet for the PIAA Class AA Championship at 2 p.m. Friday at Shippensburg's Robb Field.
"It's seems like the perfect matchup," Gonder said.
The similarities start with two tradition-rich teams.
Both squads are looking for its second state title in the last decade.
Nanticoke Area defeated Center for the 2003 state title and P-O beat Brandywine Heights 11-6 to win the 2007 PIAA title in the highest-scoring state title game.
Morgan Coble (.371 avg.), Kelsey Gonder (.439), Taylor Harpster (.488) and Chasity Myers (.438) are now Mounties seniors who played big roles during the '07 title run.
Those seniors have led a P-O offense that's outscored its opponents 35-2 dating back to the District 6 championship game,
The Trojans and Mounties are looking to join Bald Eagle Area - P-O's rival - as the only teams to win two Class AA titles since 2000.
"The kids have put together some good games at the right time," Gonder said. "It looks like it will be a heck of a game because both teams are peaking at the right time."
Nanticoke Area has relied upon the solid pitching of Sarah Bertoni, who's allowed just three runs and eight hits in the district final and three PIAA playoff games.
The Mounties meanwhile, have ridden the hot hand of starting pitcher Chelsea Rex through the playoffs.
Rex comes into the state final having thrown three one-hit games in the last four games.
Pretty good results for a pitcher who wasn't even the P-O's No. 1 option throughout the season.
Gonder's daughter, Kelsey, was an All-Mountain League pitcher for the Mounties with a 10-0 record, a 0.37 ERA and 90 strikeouts.
The elder Gonder, as of Tuesday night, said he hasn't decided on who will throw the PIAA title game.
"Being perfectly honest, we have yet to get a feel for what we're doing on Friday," said Gonder when asked if he'll ride Rex's hot hand.
Nanticoke Area and P-O both come into the PIAA final off of 10-0, mercy-rule victories in the semifinals.
The Trojans needed six innings to oust Central Columbia and the Mounties took only five to defeat District 10 champ Wilmington.
"I wouldn't have bet on that one," said Gonder of two rare, mercy-rule wins in the state playoffs. "From just looking at the box scores, once we (P-O and Nanticoke) scored a few runs the other teams felt some pressure. It just steam-rolled on our opponents and we were both able to capitalize."
Nanticoke Area and P-O each come into Friday's game with only one loss.
The Trojans have reeled off 13 straight wins since Dallas and flame-thrower Kristan Baker tripped up Nanticoke Area on May 5.
The Mounties are riding 22 straight victories since falling to rival Bald Eagle Area on April 7.
Only one team though, will continue its winning streaks and claim a PIAA title Friday.
"It's a big honor to play in a game like this. It's what every team was shooting for when practices started March 8," Gonder said. "We understand that Nanticoke has a great team and we'll have to play great game to win."

Triple threat
Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Jenn Harnischfeger hasn't had much time to soak it all in just yet, but the Nanticoke Area standout athlete is in the heart of the biggest week of her high school career.
Today, she graduates with honors from Nanticoke Area and Friday she will lead the Trojanettes' softball team on the state's highest stage - the championship game.
Next week, she'll embark on a new path, but she leaves behind a legacy that future Nanticoke athletes will strive to reach.
With 12 varsity letters, a District 2 title in basketball, two District 2 gold medals in softball and a Division 3 title in field hockey, Harnischfeger is arguably the best three-sport female athlete to ever come out of Nanticoke.
"I can't believe it's all coming to an end," Harnischfeger said Tuesday. "It's definitely a big week for me, but I'm really excited about all of it. I'm excited to graduate and I can't wait to play on Friday."
Harnischfeger and the Trojanettes (25-1) will meet Philipsburg-Osceola for the AA state title at 2 p.m. at Shippensburg University.
It's a fitting farewell for Harnischfeger, a four-year starter in all three sports and this year was selected as captain for the field hockey, basketball and softball teams. An all-star in basketball, she went over 1,000 career points and finished her senior season fourth in the league in scoring with 15.6 ppg. And, as the only senior on the Trojanettes' roster, she guided a young team to a 16-8 record.
As the softball team's shortstop, she recorded a team-best .397 batting average with four doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBIs. And as a field hockey player, she was third on the team in scoring with five goals and seven assists for the 9-5-1 Trojanettes.
"I definitely love all three sports and it will be a lot different next year to just play one," said Harnischfeger, who plans on playing softball at King's College.
While she's only 5-foot-1, Harnischfeger considered playing basketball at the college level and has the talent to do so.
An excellent shooter and pin-point passer, Harnischfeger harassed Wyoming Valley Conference basketball opponents for four seasons.
"She's a tough competitor and a hard-nose player," said Nanticoke softball coach Gary Williams, who also served as Nanticoke's assistant basketball coach for three years. "For how small she is, she's an excellent rebounder. She's just the type of kid who has a lot of athletic ability."
She also will be hard to replace. Even more, her character and leadership are a rare find.
"I'm excited to share this experience with my teammates and I think win or lose (on Friday), we are going out with a bang," Harnischfeger said.
She'll soon begin taking summer classes at King's College and looks forward to heading to the beach.
And, as she looks back on her success at Nanticoke, she remains modest.
"I think I had a lot of experience because I played for four years, I don't necessarily think that I was better than anyone else," Harnischfeger said. "I think it came down to the experience and I hope that I left enough behind for the younger girls to keep it going."

Nanticoke cruises into PIAA Class 2A championship

When a hot-hitting team runs into a pitcher who’s on fire, pitching is going to win the battle more often than not.
That’s exactly what happened on Monday at King’s College’s Betzler Fields when the Central Columbia starting lineup brought its .365 team batting average in the state tournament against Nanticoke’s Sarah Bertoni.
Not only did the junior hurler get the best of the Blue Jays, but the Trojans’ offense looked more like the juggernaut than Central Columbia. Nanticoke banged out 12 hits while Bertoni allowed only two in a 10-0 rout in a game shortened to six innings due to the 10-run rule, advancing to the PIAA Class 2A championship game for the second time in eight years.
The Trojans also become the ninth team in 11 years from District 2 to reach the title game. The last D2 team to claim a gold medal was Class A Blue Ridge in 2006. Nanticoke’s lone championship came in 2003. Nanticoke is the only team from the Wyoming Valley Conference to advance to the final game in the state.
The Trojans (25-1) will play District 6 champion Phillipsburg-Osceola in Friday’s title game, which will be played at 2 p.m. at Shippensburg University. The Mounties (25-1) clubbed Wilmington 10-0 in five innings on Monday.
“I didn’t think I would be doing this again in my career,” said coach Gary Williams who led the team to its first state title in 2003. “I’m ecstatic that we’re going back, but I think for these girls who work so hard, it’s got to be very exciting.
“We’ve been struggling with the bat. We’ve been just missing the ball. Today, they were all really tough in the batter’s box.”
Bertoni continued her torrid pitching in the postseason. Unlike other games where she racked up strikeouts, she depended on her defense on Monday, and the fielders responded by not making any errors, highlighted by a diving catch by right fielder Kayla Benjamin to end the fifth.
Although she only fanned four, Bertoni induced eight groundball outs and only let four balls reach the outfield. Only one of the two hits allowed got past the infield dirt. She still has only allowed one earned run in the postseason, which spans six games. Over that span she has given up just 14 hits in 41 innings of work.
“We knew I wasn’t going to have many strikeouts today, so we knew we had to play good defense and just knock it down if it was a good hit,” Bertoni said.
Williams had nothing but praise for his star pitcher.
“They are a very good contact team and I thought Sarah was outstanding again,” the coach said. “I got to give her all the credit in the world. From the time the playoffs started, she has just been outstanding.”
After two 1-2-3 innings to begin the game, the Trojans manufactured a run in the top of the third. Angie Hillan led off the frame with a single. She stole second then scored on a run-scoring single by second baseman Sammi Gow to make the score 1-0.
Turns out, Nanticoke wouldn’t have to play small ball to scrap out a run the rest of the game.
A pair of unearned runs coming across the plate in the top of fourth gave Nanticoke a 3-0 lead.
The game was put out of reach when the Trojans scored three in the fifth and four more in the seventh. Third baseman Maggie Gola was the big hitter in both frames. In the fifth, when Nanticoke sent nine batters to the plate, Gola laced a two-run single. Then in the sixth, she lined a double to center field to put her team up by 10 and send the squad and fans into a frenzy.
“I wasn’t seeing the ball pretty good this time of year, but I stayed focused and I just put my hands to the ball and made contact,” Gola said. “I got pitches on the outside and just went with it.”
he key to the Trojans’ victory could have been facing top pitchers all season. Going up against strong twirlers like Northwest’s Mandi Black and Elk Lake’s Brooke Darling in previous games, made pitches coming from Central Columbia’s Brianna Taylor and look like beach balls to Nanticoke hitters.
“We went against some really good pitchers and she’s a really good pitcher, but I think we saw better,” Gola said.

PIAA Class 2A semifinal
Nanticoke 001 234 — 10
Central Columbia 000 000 — 0

WP – Sarah Bertoni, 6IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB,4K; LP – Brianna Taylor, 5.2IP, 8H, 6R, 3ER, 3BB, 1K; Robyn Klingerman 1.1IP, 4H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 0K
2B—NAN, Maggie Gola. CC, Lindsay Johnson. Top hitters – NAN, Sammi Gow 2-for-3, 2 runs; Jenn Harnischfeger 3-for-4, 2 runs; Sarah Bertoni 1 for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Maggie Gola 2-for-4, 4RBI; Ang Hillan 2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI. CC, Lindsay Johnson 2-for-2

Jill Snowdon

Defense has been a cornerstone of Nanticoke Area's success through much of the season. And while the Trojanettes' defense came through with a shutout win in Monday's PIAA Class AA semifinal, their offense punched their ticket to the state championship game.
Nanticoke erupted for 11 hits in the final four innings and a 10-0 win over Central Columbia at King's College to advance to Friday's AA state final. The Trojanettes (25-1) will face Philipsburg-Osceola at 2 p.m. at Robb Field on the campus of Shippensburg University on Friday. Central Columbia, which came into Monday's semifinal outscoring its playoff opponents 15-3, ends the season at 22-4.
"We had a tremendous offensive effort today," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. "It was a pleasant surprise because we've been struggling a little with the bat. But, we've seen some pretty good pitching, and not that (Central Columbia's) pitching isn't good, but we have been just missing the ball and getting a lot of foul tips."
Monday marked the second meeting this year between Nanticoke and Central Columbia. In an exhibition game on May 8, Nanticoke edged the Blue Jays, 3-1.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we knew (Central Columbia) and we knew how to work around them," Nanticoke senior catcher Amanda Cardone said. "I think we thought it was going to be another 3-1 game, but we got a lot more runs than we expected and gave ourselves a good foundation."
After going three-and-out in the first two innings, Nanticoke's offense finally got going in the third inning. Angela Hillan led off the inning with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on Katie Kowalski's ground-out before scoring on Sammi Gow's RBI single. It gave Nanticoke a 1-0 lead and, with Sarah Bertoni on the mound, it would have proven enough for the Trojanettes but their offense was just heating up.
Six Nanticoke hitters had at least one hit in the game. Hillan added another single in the fourth and along with Kayla Benjamin, came home on errors for a 3-0 Nanticoke lead.
Gow, who finished 2-for-3, and Jenn Harnischfeger, who went 3-for-4, had singles and scored in the fifth. And Kaylee Schinski, who was running for Bertoni, also came home for a 6-0 Nanticoke advantage.
"When we played Central Columbia down there it was very windy and we hit the ball but it wasn't going anywhere, and we only struck out four times," Williams said. "I think they came in confident that they could put the bat on the ball and today the ball went where it had to go."
Maggie Gola, who was in a bit of a self-proclaimed playoff slump, drove in four of Nanticoke's runs. The sophomore third baseman singled in two runs in the fifth and two more in the four-run sixth inning.
"I wasn't really doing well this part of the year," Gola said of the playoffs. "I just stayed focused and put my hands to the ball and made contact. I mostly got on the outside (pitches) and I usually don't like those, but today I just went with it."
Not to be outdone, Nanticoke's defense and Bertoni held the Blue Jay's potent offense to just two hits. Lindsay Johnson provided Central Columbia with both hits, including a double in the fifth.
Bertoni gave up one walk and struck out four, while her defense made several nice plays to help preserve the lead. With Central Columbia runners on first and second in the fifth, freshman right fielder Kayla Benjamin made a sliding catch for the Blue Jays' third out.
"We played them before and they only had three strikeouts, so we knew they going to hit the ball," Bertoni said. "We knew I wasn't going to have that many strikeouts today so we had to play good defense, stop the ball and knock it down if it was a good hit."
"(Central Columbia) is a very good contact team and they make you make plays and I just thought that Sarah was outstanding again," Williams added. "I have to give her all the credit in the world. From the time that playoffs started, she has just been outstanding."

Hillan's speed proves pivotal
Tom Brolley

As Angela Hillan slid safely into home on the pivotal play of Monday's semifinal game, her sister Leah Lavelle cheered with the rest of the Trojans in the dugout.
Hillan played a big role in getting Nanticoke Area back to the PIAA Championship game for the first time since 2003, the year that Lavelle won a title as a Trojan.
Hillan finished 2-for-3 and scored two of the Trojans' first three runs in a 10-0 victory over Central Columbia at Betzler Fields in the PIAA Class AA semifinals.
"It would be nice if I won too," said Hillan of winning a PIAA title. "We haven't really talked about it (a PIAA title). It's nice having her in the dugout experiencing it with me."
Nanticoke will try for the program's second title in seven years when it faces Philipsburg-Osceola at 2 p.m. Friday at Shippensburg's Robb Field.
"It's amazing because, if we win, it will be two state championships," said Lavelle, a Nanticoke junior high coach. "It would be crazy, but I don't want to get ahead of myself."
After the Trojans went down in order through two innings, Hillan, batting seventh, got the Trojans offense started with an infield hit past a lunging third baseman.
Following a failed bunt attempt, Hillan stole second on the first pitch to Katie Kowalski.
Kowalski moved Hillan to third on a groundout to the right side and Hillan scored on Sammi Gow's line drive up the middle to put the Trojans ahead 1-0.
Williams said Hillan might be the fastest player on one of the fastest Nanticoke teams he's ever coached.
Hillan's speed broke open a one-run game in fourth inning and rattled a normally sound Central Columbia team.
After the first two Trojans went down to start the inning, Kayla Benjamin walked to bring up Hillan.
Hillan smashed a line drive that glanced off the back of pitcher Brianna Taylor's glove.
Taylor staggered a bit, picked up the ball and threw late and errantly to first base.
The ball traveled down the right-field fence, allowing Benjamin to come home where no Blue Jays were covering.
The subsequent throw to the plate got to the backstop and left Hillan with a decision.
"I knew I had to at least get to second," Hillan said. "Then (coach Williams) told me to come to third and then I saw that no one was covering home when the ball got past the catcher, so I just went."
Hillan slid between the legs and under the tag of Taylor at the plate to score the third run of the game, much to the relief of her third-base coach.
"She's very aggressive and she ran through my stop sign, but I told her, 'Thanks for making me look good,' " Williams said with a big laugh.
It was the second straight game that Hillan's speed played a pivotal part in a Nanticoke victory.
Hillan singled in the seventh inning against Troy and scored on the play after Troy throwing errors.
Hillan's insurance run against Troy turned out to be the winning-run in Nanticoke's 3-2 quarterfinal victory.
Williams said Hillan's line drive that glanced off Taylor got the standout pitcher off her game as she lost control and a little off her fastball.
Nanticoke feasted on Taylor in the fifth and her replacement Robyn Klingerman to win in six innings.
"We have a really good lineup, our one through nine [hitters] can get a hit anytime you need them to," said Hillan, who also had an RBI walk in the fifth.
"Usually teams get to the bottom of the lineup, but, with us, it's like we have a second top of the lineup."
Lavelle likes what she's seen so far from the 2010 Trojans, as they bid for the program's second state title this decade.
Lavelle said the first time she saw this team practice in the spring she knew they could get to the PIAA finals.
"I could tell by their attitudes and just by the way they play," Lavelle said "They're a team. They help each other out and they back each other up."

Thanks to swift Hillan, Nanticoke’s speed kills Paul Sokoloski opinion
Times Leader

They say speed kills in sports, and proof of that came by the way Central Columbia completely collapsed in a state softball playoff game.
But such fleetness of foot can also bring life to the team possessing it.
Nanticoke’s charge through a state semifinal Monday was a perfect example.
Before the Trojans trounced Central Columbia 10-0 at King’s College’s Betzler Fields – back when it was still anyone’s game – Angie Hillan led off the third inning with Nanticoke’s first hit.
Not just any old hit.
Hillan turned a ground ball to deep shortstop into an infield hit, easily beating the throw to first base. Then she pretty much turned it into a leadoff double by stealing second.
“I hustle my hardest every infield hit I have, trying to beat it out,” Hillan said.
It turned out her legs beat the tar out of Central Columbia’s state championship hopes.
Hillan eventually scored the game’s first run on Sammi Gow’s two-out single. In the fourth inning, with two outs and a runner on base, Hillan laced a wicked liner off the glove of Central Columbia’s pitcher.
What happened next changed the whole game.
In a race to beat Hillan’s swiftness, a rushed Blue Jays throw sailed into right field. The right fielder then overran the play. And Hillan never stopped running herself, following teammate Kayla Benjamin across the plate.
In two innings, two at-bats by Hillan turned a pitchers’ duel into a 3-0 Trojans lead.
“She’s the fastest player on our team,” said Nanticoke pitcher Sarah Bertoni, who twirled a two-hit shutout. “We need just a little shot to get her around the bases.”
Sometimes, like in the fourth inning, Hillan provides her own spark.
Other times, as evidenced by the third inning, she ignites the whole team by just reaching base.
But Hillan doesn’t save her energetic bursts exclusively for the basepaths. Playing center field, she tracked down a drive by Blue Jays batter Alexandra Diltz.
“I’m a lot less stressed with her out there,” Bertoni said. “I know, even when it’s a deep shot, she could get to it.”
“She’s quick,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said of his speed demon.
“You get into a running mode, you make the other team conscious of that.”
You can also make the other team flustered enough to flustered enough to commit six errors over the final three innings, the way Central Columbia did in a game ended after the sixth by the 10-run rule.
That parade of mistakes started with two on the same play, when Hillan circled the bases on a ball she hit as far as the pitcher’s circle.
“They don’t characteristically throw the ball around like that,” Williams said.
But it’s becoming a Nanticoke trait to take game-breaking gambles on the bases, especially when Hillman gets the green light. Or a red one.
“She kind of ran through my stop sign (at third base),” Williams grinned about the error-filled play where Hillman not only started her mad dash from home plate but wound up there. “I said, ‘Thanks for making me look good.’ She’s very aggressive.
“Speed is a great thing.”
But only if it’s on your side. If it’s on the other, as Central Columbia discovered, it can be an obstacle that leads a dream straight to the slaughter.

Live Blog Nanticoke PIAA Semifinal - Citizens Voice

Hey, it’s Tom Brolley live from Betzler Fields at King’s College. I will be providing live updates after each half inning, so if you’re stuck at work and couldn’t get out for the game, follow along here.

The coaches and captains are meeting right now and we will be started shortly.
Nanticoke lineup
Sammi Gow, 2b
Jenn Harnischfeger, ss
Sarah Bertoni, p
Amanda Cardone, c
Maggie Gola, 3b
Kayla Benjamin, rf
Angie Hillan, cf
Lindsay Roberts, 1b
Kate Kowalski, lf

Central Columbia lineup
Brooke Clarke, ss
Alexandra Diltz, 2b
Alissa DeWalt, rf
Caitlin Martz, 3b
Lindsay Johnson, c
Brianna Taylor, p
Robyn Klingerman, dp
Devon Siegrist, 1b
Brooke Kocher, cf
Alyssa Polle, lf/flex

Top 1st
Gow grounds out to the shortstop.
Harnischfeger flies out to centerfield.
Bertoni grounds out to shortstop.
Bottom 1st
Clarke strikes out swinging.
Diltz grounds out to second.
DeWalt ground out to seconds

Through the first inning it’s 0-0.

Top 2nd
Cardone grounds out first base.
Gola strikes out swinging.
Benjamin grounds out to first.
Bottom 2nd
Martz flies out to second.
Johnson get the first hit of the game, a liner between third and shortstop.
Taylor strikes out swinging.
Klingerman strikes out swinging

Through the second inning it’s 0-0.

Top 3rd
Hillan with an infield-base hit past the third baseman.
Roberts pops up a bunt attempt to the third baseman.
Hillan steals second base on the first pitch to Kowalski.
Kowalski grounds out to the second baseman, Hillan moves to third with two outs.
Gow laces a line drive back up the middle, Hillan comes into score making it 1-0 Nanticoke.
Harnischfeger follows Gow with another liner back up the middle, Gow moves to second.
Bertoni lines out to first base.
Nanticoke leads 1-0

Bottom 3rd
Siegrist ground out to shortstop.
Kocher grounds out to first base.
Clarke lines out to shortstop.
Nanticoke leads 1-0 after the three innings

Top 4th
Cardone flies out to centerfield.
Gola grounds out to third base.
Benjamin draws a walk.
Hillan hits a liner back at pitcher Taylor for a single, Taylor throws it away for a two-base error to score Benjamin. Siegrist then had a throwing error at home to bring Hillan in. Nanticoke leads 3-0.
Roberts ground out to shortstop.
Nanticoke now leads 3-0.

Bottom 4th
Diltz flies out to centerfield.
DeWalt lines out to second baseman.
Johnson grounds out to the pitcher.
Nanticoke leads 3-0 after four innings.

Top 5th
Kowalski lines a single down the right field line.
Gow slaps one past the pitcher into centerfield, Kowalski advances to second base.
Harnischfeger singles to centerfield on a missed leaping catch, Kowalski thrown out at home. Gow and Harnischfeger advance to second and third.
Bertoni walks to load the bases.
Cardone out an infield fly.
Gola singles to center to bring in Gow and Harnischfeger, Bertoni and Gola advance to second and third on fielder’s choice. Nanticoke leads 5-0.
Benjamin walks to load bases.
Taylor is replaced by Klingerman on the mound. She’ll face Hillan with the bases loaded and two outs.
Hillan walks to bring Bertoni. Nanticoke leads 6-0
Roberts pops out on a fly ball to second base.
Nanticoke leads 6-0.

Bottom 5th
Johnson doubles down the left field line.
Taylor strikes out swinging.
Klingerman flies out to left field.
Siegrist draws a walk.
Kayla Benjamin makes an outstanding diving catch in right field to save at least a run on a Kocher line drive.
Nanticoke leads 6-0 after five innings.

Top 6th
Kowalski reaches first on a throwing error on the shortstop.
Gow draws a walk, Kowalski advances to second.
Harnischfeger infield-base hit to shortstop.
Bertoni single down the right-field line, Kowalski and Gow score to make it 8-0.
Cardone flies out to the first baseman.
Gola doubles to deep center, Harnischfeger and Bertoni come around to make it 10-0.
Benjamin reaches on an error by the pitcher, Gola advances to third.
Hillan grounds to third and Gola is tagged out at home. Hillan reaches first and Benjamin gets to third.
Benjamin is picked off between third and home.
Nanticoke leads 10-0.

Bottom 6th
Clarke grounds out to shortstop.
Dietz ground out to shortstop.
DeWalt grounds out to the pitcher.

Nanticoke wins 10-0

Nanticoke advances to the PIAA title game in Shippensburg. If you can’t make it down to Shippensburg at 2 p.m. Friday, make sure to follow the Varsity Voice blog for live updates.

Nanticoke not taking Central Columbia lightly
By Tom Brolley - Citizens Voice

One team sits between Nanticoke Area and the state's biggest game.
That one team is a Central Columbia squad the Trojans beat, 3-1, earlier this season.
Despite the win May 8, the Trojans know they'll have their hands full against a Central Columbia team that has outscored its two PIAA opponents 17-3.
"We can't take them lightly," Williams said. "They're a very good team and we can't just rest on the fact that we beat them earlier this season."
The Trojans (24-1) and Blue Jays (22-3) will meet 2 today at King's College's Betzler Fields for the right to go to the PIAA Class AA championship game.
Nanticoke Area is looking to get back to the PIAA championship game for the first time since it won the 2003 state title.
"Basically, we put the ball in play to win that game," said Williams of the May 8 win. "On Monday, we have to be confident and be solid at the plate."
One of Central Columbia's other three losses came to Troy in the District 4 title game.
Nanticoke Area pulled out a win against Troy in the quarterfinals Thursday by producing from all parts of the lineup.
Second baseman Sammi Gow set the table collecting three of the Trojans eight hits.
Catcher Amanda Cardone brought Gow home on an inside-the-park home run to give Nanticoke Area a first-inning lead.
Center fielder Angela Hillan, who hit seventh, then scored the winning-run in the seventh inning after she singled and scored on an error.
The Trojans though, made some uncharacteristic mistakes playing with a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. They were able to hold on 3-2 to advance.
"We threw the ball around and we haven't done too much of that all year long but they pulled themselves together," Williams said. "If you can survive those type of situations, it makes you a better."
Central Columbia has used a potent offense to advance through the PIAA bracket.
The Blue Jays beat up Brandywine Heights, 8-3, in the first round and Kennedy Kendrick, 9-1, in the quarterfinals.
Central Columbia has collected 19 hits, including seven extra base hits, to score 17 runs.
While the Blue Jays have had no problem scoring runs, Nanticoke Area has gutted out close wins behind Sarah Bertoni's stellar pitching,
Nanticoke Area won both of its PIAA games by one run and the Trojans have won each of their postseason games by three runs or less.
"It makes them mentally tougher when they're used to playing in tight games," Williams said. "You expect to have these type of games in the playoffs."

Nanticoke Area
How they got here: def. Pine Grove, 2-1, first round; def. Troy, 3-2, quarterfinals
Record: 24-1, District 2 champs
Coach: Gary Williams
Pitcher: Sarah Bertoni, 15-1, 106 IP, 52 H, 18 R, 9 ER, 24 BB, 139 K.
Starting Lineup
(season stats)
2B: Sammi Gow, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR
SS: Jenn Harnischfeger, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR
P: Sarah Bertoni, 3 2B, 1 HR
C: Amanda Cardone, 2 3B, 2 HR
3B: Maggie Gola, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HRs
RF: Kayla Benjamin
CF: Angela Hillan, 1 2B
1B: Lindsey Roberts, 1 HR
LF: Katie Kowalski, 1 HR

Central Columbia
How they got here: def. Brandywine Heights, 8-3, first round; def. Kennedy Kendrick, 9-1, quarterfinals.
Record: 22-3, District 4 runner-up
Coach: Duane Ford
Pitcher: Brianna Taylor, 2-0, 14 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 6 BB, 11 K
Starting Lineup
(playoff stats)
SS: Brooke Clarke. 2-6, 2 RBIs, 2 runs, double, triple
2B: Alex Diltz, 3-8, 3 runs
RF: Alissa Dewalt, 3-7, 2 RBIs, 3 runs
3B: Caitlin Martz, 3-7, RBI, run, double
C: Lindsay Johnson, 1-5, 2 RBIs, run
P: Brianna Taylor, 2-5, RBI, run, triple
DP: Robyn Klingerman, 1-5
1B: Devon Siegrist, 3-6, 2 RBIs, 2 runs, double, triple
CF: Brooke Kocher, 1-3, 2 RBIs, run, double
LF: Alyssa Poole, 0-1

Trojans take short trip for semis
Nanticoke will face Central Columbia today for a berth in the state title game.

Up Next
PIAA Class 2A Semifinals
Nanticoke (24-1) vs. Central Columbia (22-3) 2 p.m. at King’s College

For Nanticoke players, it might seem like an eternity since they last played a home game.
The more than two-week drought will end today, however, when the Trojans have a virtual home contest at King’s College against Central Columbia in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals.
“We’ve been like road warriors,” Trojans coach Gary Williams said.
The last time the road warriors played in front of a home crowd was in the District 2 semifinals, which ended in a 2-1 victory over Northwest.
Since then the Trojans (24-1) have won games in Throop, Schuylkill Haven and Williamsport adding nearly 400 miles to their bus’ odometer.
Betzler Fields, which is a mere minutes away from the school’s campus, won’t be the only familiar sight for the Trojans. They have faced the District 4 runner-up Blue Jays this season last month and won, 3-1 in a four-team tournament in Bloomsburg. This time, they play with the stakes higher as a berth in Friday’s state championship game at 2 p.m. in Shippensburg is on the line.
“Obviously we found out they were a very good team,” Williams said. “They play good defense and have good hitters top to bottom and have solid pitching.”
Central Columbia (22-3) appears to be the hottest team offensively in the 2A bracket scoring 15 runs in its two wins. That outburst has come after losing 1-0 in eight innings to Troy in the D4 title game. Phillipsburg Osceola, out of District 6, has scored 12 runs in the state tournament and is taking on District 10 champion Wilmington in the other semi.
They Blue Jays, who entered the D4 tourney as the No. 1 seed, may also be a hungry team. In 2009, they reached the state semis before falling to eventual state runner-up Brandywine Heights. Only four starters have graduated from that squad and six starters are back. Central Columbia got Brandywine out of its way in the first round last week with an 8-3 victory before dispatching Kennedy-Kenrick, 7-1.
In the state playoffs, everyone in the Blue Jays starting lineup has banged out 19 hits and everyone has had at least one hit. First baseman Devon Siegrist, second baseman Alex Diltz, right fielder Alissa Dewalt and third baseman Caitlin Martz have paced the offense tallying three hits apiece. The Trojans have piled up 14 hits in their two state games, but only two extra base hits. The Blue Jays have pounded out seven extra base hits in the last two games.
The win against CC earlier in the season has Nanticoke players thinking highly.
“I think they’re coming into the game with confidence,” Williams said about his team. “It doesn’t hurt that we beat them once but they don’t want to be too overconfident.”
In the matchup in May, Sarah Bertoni threw a complete-game three-hitter for the Trojans. The Nanticoke offense got a big performance from Amanda Cardone, who went 3-for-4 finishing a home run shy of the cycle and two RBI.
Perhaps the biggest difference for the Blue Jays since that game is that Robyn Klingerman allowed two runs on three hits in 2-plus innings of work and Brianna Taylor twirled five innings of three-hit ball. In the PIAA Championships, it’s been all Taylor. The sophomore is 2-0 with 11 strikeouts in 14 innings while only allowing eight hits, but walking six and giving up three runs.
Bertoni has been much better than her counterpart recently. Since the postseason has started, she has allowed just one earned run in five games. In those five outings – including a no-hitter against Elk Lake in the D2 championship game – she has fanned 42 and given up just 12 hits in 35 innings.
Another strong performance by the junior might be enough to get the Trojans to the state title game for the first time since 2003.

"Athlete of the Week" - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area Senior, Softball
Hometown: Nanticoke
Age: 18
Family: Parents, Robert and Linda; sister, Alexis.
Accomplishment: Cardone, a steady presence in the Nanticoke Area batting order and behind the plate, gave Nanticoke Area the early lead with a two-run inside-the-park home run in the Trojans' 3-2 win over Troy in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.

Favorite subject: Biology
Favorite TV show: 'I Love Lucy'
Favorite group: Rascall Flatts
Favorite food: Peanut Butter and Fluff sandwich
Favorite junk food: Cold Stone Creamery ice cream
Favorite sport: Baseball
Favorite team: New York Yankees
Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter
Favorite holiday: Her birthday
Favorite color: Orange
Amanda's dream prom date: David Beckham
Away from sports, Amanda enjoys ... hanging out with friends and going to the movies.
If Amanda could excel in another sport like she does softball, she'd love to be great at ... golf.
If Amanda could hit a home run off any pitcher, she'd love to blast one off of ... Sarah Bertoni.
Amanda's favorite thing about softball is ... throwing out someone at second.
Amanda thinks the hardest thing about softball is ... practice.
Amanda's favorite game from the season ... PIAA quarterfinal against Troy.
Amanda's biggest role models have been ... her dad and pop.
Up next: Amanda will be attending King's College, where she plans to play softball and study biology.

Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area took a two-run lead against Troy in the first inning of PIAA Class AA softball quarterfinals.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Trojanettes nearly gave it all away.Nanticoke's defense survived a shaky seventh and escaped Elm Park with a 3-2 win over Troy to advance to the AA state semifinals
The Trojanettes (24-1) will face Central Columbia, a 7-1 winner over Kennedy Kendrick, on Monday at a site and time to be announced. Troy ends at 21-4.
Angela Hillan scored a run in the top of the seventh to put Nanticoke ahead 3-0, leaving the Trojanettes just three outs from a shutout victory.
Instead, Troy put together a late-rally on a pair of Nanticoke errors.
Troy pitcher Kate Pratt led off the inning with a triple to the gap in right-center. Following a pop-up to Nanticoke' Jenn Harnischferger at shortstop, Troy's Rachel High reached first on a walk, putting runners at the corners. Katie Jackson hit a grounder to Trojanette pitcher Sarah Bertoni and Bertoni opted to get Pratt as she prepared to break for home, but instead threw the ball wide of third base.
Pratt scored on the error, while pinch runner Tiffani Mattocks advanced to third on another throwing error. Mattocks eventually scored on a ground-out to cut Nanticoke's lead by one run.
"I think I just reacted too fast," Bertoni said of the decision to throw to third instead of going for the first out at first base. "She was so far down the line that I was tempted."
"We always tell our kids to check-and-go all the time and when (Sarah) saw her off the bag I guess she thought she could get her and lost sight of getting the out," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams added. "But that's a reaction."
Bertoni, otherwise, was again outstanding in the circle. She twirled a seven-inning two-hitter with just one walk and she struck out nine, including the last out of the seventh.
"Sarah has been amazing and she pitched a gem again today," Nanticoke catcher Amanda Cardone said. "I just had to tell her that we had this and I was confident that we were going to get that last out. I just point to her and she knows."
Cardone sparked Nanticoke's early lead. Sammi Gow led off the game with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an error. Pratt struck out the next two Nanticoke batters, but Cardone blasted a shot over the left fielder's head and deep to the wall. Gow scored easily on the play and Cardone also came in for an in-the-park home run and a 2-0 Nanticoke lead.
"Amanda came through really big in that first inning," Williams said. "That was a shot. Any park that we play in, except for here which is 295 down the line, that thing would have been gone."
Gow led Nanticoke's offense as she finished 3-for-3. Hillan's run in the top of the seventh came after she singled and advanced home on a three-base error.
"It's a relief and when we got that third out we were like 'Oh, thank God,'" Williams said. "We played so well for the last five or six games that you don't want it to come down to throwing the ball all over the place."

Posted: 1:00 AM
Bertoni, Nanticoke slam door on Troy
District 2 champions advance to Class 2A state semifinals with win.
Tom Robinson - Times Leader

No overhand throw to a choice of three bases was necessary.
With a berth in the PIAA Class 2A softball semifinals suddenly in jeopardy Thursday afternoon, Nanticoke Area pitcher Sarah Bertoni simply relied on what had carried her to this point.
Bertoni fired the ball past a Troy batter on a 3-2 pitch with the trying run on third base to complete Nanticoke Area’s 3-2 victory in a quarterfinal game at Elm Park.
“I was shaking,” Bertoni said of delivering the final pitch after two seventh-inning throwing errors, one of them by her, created some tense moments.
Amanda Cardone provided a quick strike in the first inning with a two-run homer. That kept Nanticoke Area in control until a chaotic seventh inning.
The Wyoming Valley Conference Division I East and District 2 Class 2A champions added a run to their lead in the top of the seventh when Ang Hillan hit the ball down the line and circled the bases when it got past the left fielder for a three-base error.
The tension started in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Bertoni, who had struck out seven in a row at one point, took a two-hitter into the inning.
Losing pitcher Kate Pratt started things off by hitting the only ball to leave the infield off Bertoni on the fly all day. She ripped the first pitch of the inning deep into right-center field for a triple.
Nanticoke Area got one out before Rachel High drew the only walk issued by Bertoni.
When Katie Jackson grounded back to the mound, Bertoni passed up moving within an out of victory when Pratt wandered far enough off third to tempt her into a throw.
Bertoni’s throw and left fielder Katie Kowalski’s throw back into the infield each got away, ending the shutout and moving two runners into scoring position.
“The thing is, we just had a timeout and said not to be worried about the lead runner,” Nanticoke Area head coach Gary Williams said. “When you get the ball, make the easiest play, go to first base.
“I just told her, ‘you know you would have to pitch to one less batter if you didn’t do that.’”
Williams said instincts and the constant teaching of checking the runner before throwing to first allowed Bertoni to get caught up in the moment.
“I just reacted too fast,” Bertoni said. “She was so far down, I got tempted.”
Bertoni, who threw a no-hitter in the District 2 final, finished off her second consecutive state tournament three-hitter to make up for the mistake and lock up the win.
“I tried not to let it,” Bertoni said when asked if the errant throw affected her the rest of the game. “I did the most I could.
“I tried to keep my head up.”
Another groundball, and third baseman Maggie Gola’s throw across the diamond to first, cut the lead to a run and put the tying run 60 feet away.
Bertoni responded with her ninth strikeout.
“We had played so well the last five or six games, I didn’t want to let it come down to us throwing the ball around,” Williams said.
Nanticoke Area, which won a state title in 2003, advanced into Monday’s semifinals and will play District 4 runner-up Central Columbia, which defeated D12 champion Kennedy-Kenrick.
Cardone got the team started in that direction.
Sammy Gow led off the game with a single through the middle for the first of her three hits. She stole second and took third on a throwing error but was in danger of being left there after two strikeouts.
Cardone then smashed the ball deep to left, sending it rolling near the fence 295 feet from home for a two-run, inside-the-park homer.
“I honestly didn’t know how far I hit it,” Cardone said. “I knew Sammy was on third and I had to get the run in.”
The huge dimensions, on a field that hosts men’s softball leagues, contributed to Hillan making it around the bases in the seventh, but Williams said they did not matter in the first.
“That was a shot,” Williams said. “Any other park we play in, that would have been gone.”

Nanticoke Area 200 000 1 — 3
Troy 000 000 2 — 2

WP – Sarah Bertoni 7IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 9K. LP – Kate Pratt 7IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 12K. 3B: TROY – Pratt. HR: NA – Amanda Cardone. Top hitters: NA – Sammy Gow 3-for-4, run; Cardone 1-for-3, 2 RBI; Hillan 1-for-2, run, sacrifice. TROY – Pratt 1-for-3, run; Rachel High 1-for-2, walk.

Softball coaches select WVC all-stars
Times Leader Staff

Three outstanding pitchers were named as Most Valuable Players for their respective divisions as the Wyoming Valley Conference softball coaches selected their all-star teams for the 2010 season.
Nanticoke Area’s Sarah Bertoni was named MVP of the Division I East; Kristan Baker was chosen MVP of Division I West; and Northwest’s Mandi Black received the MVP honor for Division II.
Coaches in each of the three divisions voted for all-stars in their respective divisions. In Division I East, 14 players were chosen to the first-team. Division I West had 11 players selected to the first-team and 14 players were named to the Division II squad. The first-team totals in all three divisions include the MVPs.
Division I East and West coaches also made several honorable mention selections. There were no honorable mention selections for Division II.
Division champion Nanticoke Area and runner-up Hazleton Area dominated the Division I East team, combining for 10 of the 14 selections. The Trojans, who also won the District 2 Class 2A championship, had six players chosen to the first-team. Hazleton Area, which won the District 2 Class 4A title, had four selections.
In Division I West, champion Tunkhannock placed three players on the first-team. Dallas, which lost the division title to the Tigers in a special playoff game before advancing to the D2 Class 3A championship game, had four players chosen for the first-team.
In Division II, champion Northwest led the way with five of the 14 selections. The Rangers lost to Nanticoke Area by one run in the D2 Class 2A semifinals. Lake-Lehman followed the Rangers with three players chosen to the first-team.
The Times Leader will select and publish its Wyoming Valley Conference Softball All-Star Team and Player of the Year in the near future.
First Team: Sarah Bertoni, Amanda Cardone, Jenn Harnischfeger, Sammi Gow, Maggie Gola, Angie Hillan, Nanticoke Area; Becky Demko, Candice Van Horn, Shannon Salvaterra, Gabby Ziller, Hazleton Area; Kylie Licata, Crestwood; Marissa Nardone, Pittston Area; Kendra Haywood, Coughlin; and Sidney Kotch, Holy Redeemer.
Honorable Mention: Katie Brown, Lindsey Roberts, Hannah Rubasky, Nanticoke Area; Sarah Martin, Gianna Handza, Danielle Cerep, Coughlin; Alex Hoops, Crestwood; Allison Matous, Stacy Kandrac, Holy Redeemer; and Heather Marsico, Kelsey Mundenar, Antionette Scialpi, Pittston Area.

8:06 p.m.
Nanticoke reaches softball semifinals
By Tom Robinson
Scranton Edition sports correspondent

Amanda Cardone hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Sarah Bertoni pitched out of trouble in the seventh inning Thursday to lead Nanticoke into the PIAA Class 2A softball semifinals with a 3-2 victory over Troy.
Bertoni pitched a three-hitter with a walk and nine strikeouts. Both runs came in the bottom of the seventh with the help of two Nanticoke throwing errors. She fanned Jennica Stryker on a 3-2 pitch with a runner on third to end the game.
"It was a relief when we got that third out," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said.
Sammy Gow had three hits and scored the first run for Nanticoke.
Ang Hillan singled to lead off the seventh and raced around the bases on an error for a 3-0 lead.
Kate Pratt struck out 12 and tripled for Troy's only extra-base hit.

Jill Snowdon Citizens' Voice

After giving up her only walk of the game in the fifth inning that would eventually lead to a run, Nanticoke Area's Sarah Bertoni felt she owed a little something to her teammates.
The junior came through in a big way as she drove home the game-winning run in the top of the seventh and struck out the side in the bottom of the frame to seal a 2-1 win over Pine Grove, Monday in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
Nanticoke Area (18-1) advances to the state quarterfinals where it will meet Troy, a 2-0 winner over Kutztown, on Thursday at a site and time to be announced. Troy is the Distrcit 4 champion.
"I didn't want to let the team down, especially after that one walk," Bertoni said. "I felt like that was something that could have cost us. So I knew I had to relax and look for a good pitch to hit and as soon as I hit it I was thinking '(Jenn's) coming in on this.'"
For the fourth time in the game, Bertoni came to the plate with runners in scoring position with two out. She popped up to left field in her two previous appearance and grounded out in the first inning. In the seventh, with the game tied at 1-1, Bertoni nailed a single up the middle and Jenn Harnischfeger scored the go-ahead run and eventual game-winner.
"(Sarah's) bat has been hot and today was her day and it was a perfect time to get a hit," said Harnischfeger who also chipped in with a single in the seventh and stole second. "When I got up with two outs I was just thinking to put the ball in play because we needed base runners. And Sarah did the rest."
Bertoni finished off her complete-game four-hitter by striking out three straight Pine Grove batters. She closed out with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.
"I think she smelled the victory," Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said of Bertoni's pitching in the seventh. "And when she needs to, she really bears down and gets tough."
Nanticoke took a short-lived 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. Katie Kowalski drilled a triple to left-center with two outs. Sammi Gow followed with a walk and Harnischfeger hit a high-chopper in the infield for a single and Kowalski came home for a 1-0 Nanticoke lead.
Pine Grove came right back in the bottom of the inning and tied the game after pinch runner Shannon Dohner - running for Karissa Reeves who had walked - scored on Miranda Riegel's single. That, however, was all that the Cardinals could get against Bertoni and Nanticoke's defense.
"Our defense is very solid and we're always there to back Sarah up," said Harnischfeger, a senior shortstop. "But Sarah is really playing the best I've ever seen her, and we've been playing together since we were really young.

Nanticoke moves on by edging Pine Grove
Tom Robinson - The Times Leader

Once Sarah Bertoni put Nanticoke ahead in the top of the seventh inning, she made sure they stayed there.
Bertoni followed up driving in the winning run in a 2-1 PIAA Class 3A softball tournament opening win over Pine Grove by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I was relaxed out there,” Bertoni said of the last three outs.
Bertoni froze Ethel Santai on a third strike on the outside corner between getting Karissa Reeves and Miranda Riegel to strike out while chasing pitches low and away.
“I think she smelled the victory,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “When she needs to, she really bears down and is tough to hit.”
Bertoni also proved to be tough at the plate after the teams went into the seventh inning tied 1-1.
Jenn Harnischfeger beat out an infield single with two out on a slow roller to second base. Harnischfeger then stole second on a 1-1 pitch, setting up Bertoni’s single through the middle for the game-winner.
“It was hard to steal a base on them because their catcher has a good arm,” Harnischfeger said. “As soon as the ball was hit with two out, I knew I was going home.”
The hit allowed District 2 champion Nanticoke to improve to 23-1 overall.
The Trojans will face District 4 champion Troy, which improved to 22-3 by defeating Kutztown 2-0 on Thursday at a site and time to be announced.
After Bertoni threw a no-hitter in the district final to knock off defending champion Elk Lake and standout pitcher Brooke Darling, she led the way over Pine Grove and highly regarded pitcher Hope Spancake, who advanced through this round a year ago.
“Every time we play anybody, all we hear about is the other pitcher,” Williams said.
Bertoni and her teammates are working on changing that.
They put two runners in scoring position in the third inning before Pine Grove had a base runner, then opened the scoring in the fifth.
Katie Kowaski tripled to the fence in left field with two out.
After Sammy Gow walked, Harnischfeger singled hard off the glove of shortstop Jenna Leffler in the hole to score the first run.
Reeves led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk, the only time in the final six innings that Bertoni did not strike out the leadoff hitter. Her courtesy runner Shannon Dohner eventually scored an unearned run on Riegel’s single to center field to tie the game.
As the run scored, center fielder Ang Hillan threw out a runner at third for one of three big defensive plays by the Trojans.
Harnischfeger kept Bertoni perfect through 3 2/3 when she backhanded a ball that went off Bertoni’s glove.
In the bottom of the sixth, first baseman Lindsay Roberts was ruled to have been pulled off the bag by a Harnischfeger throw, but she got up off the ground fast enough to throw out the lead runner at third to end the inning.
“I know the defense will make the plays behind me,” Bertoni said.
And Williams knows Bertoni will come through in key spots, including at the plate.
“Sarah’s our leading hitter,” he said. “She has come up big and driven in a lot of runs to help us win games.”

First Round Class 3A PIAA Championships
Nanticoke 000 010 1 — 2
Pine Grove 000 010 0 — 1

WP – Sarah Bertoni 7IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 10K; LP – Hope Spancake 7IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 8K;

3B – N, Katie Kowalski. Top hitters – N, Jenn Harnischfeger 2-for-4, run, RBI; Kayla Benjamin 1-for-2, sacrifice. PG, Spancake 2-for-3.

Athlete of the Week: Sarah Bertoni
- Citizens' Voice

Nanticoke Area
Junior, Softball
Hometown: Nanticoke
Age: 17
Family: Parents, Eileen and Bob; Brother, Robert.
Accomplishment: Bertoni threw a no-hitter, allowed just two base-runners and struck out 13 to lead Nanticoke Area to the District 2 Class AA championship with a 3-0 win over top-seeded Elk Lake.

Favorite subject: English
Favorite book: ‘New Moon’
Favorite movie: ‘The Hangover’
Favorite group: Rascal Flatts
Favorite food: Chicken tenders
Favorite junk food: Funfetti Cookies
Favorite sport: Baseball
Favorite team: Philadelphia Phillies
Favorite athlete: Jimmy Rollins
Sarah’s dream prom date: Robert Pattinson
Away from sports, Sarah enjoys . . . going to the movies.
If Sarah could switch places with any athlete for one day, she’d like to swap spots with . . . Jennie Finch.
Sarah’s favorite thing about softball is . . . scoring.
Sarah thinks the hardest thing about softball is . . . staying in shape.
Sarah’s favorite moment from the season is . . . the last out of her no-hitter against Elk Lake.
If Sarah could strikeout any batter, she’d like to fan . . . teammate Amanda Cardone.
If Sarah could hit a home run of any pitcher, she’d like to blast a one off of . . . Dallas’ Kristan Baker.
Sarah’s biggest role model has been . . . her dad.
After high school . . . Sarah wants to play softball in college.

Nanticoke Area draws Pine Grove in opener
Tom Brolley - Citizens' Voice

When it comes to the PIAA softball playoffs, Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said if 10 games are played between two opponents, each team will win five.
The Trojans are hoping they are on the right side of the coin flip Monday.
District 2 champion Nanticoke Area will take on District 11 champion Pine Grove at 1 p.m. at Blue Mountain High School in a PIAA Class AA opening-round game.
"When you get to this time of year it comes down to the breaks," Williams said. "I think we're good enough to go as far as we can, but it's still going to come down to a bad hop here or a tough call there. At this point in time, every team is pretty much on equal basis."
Nanticoke Area is making its first trip to the state tournament since 2008 when the Trojans eventual state champion Loyalsock in the quarterfinals.
The Trojans (23-1) will once again be tested by an outstanding pitcher, this time in Pine Grove's Hope Spancake.
Spancake is a senior heading to California of Pennsylvania with an 18-1 record and 0.22 ERA this year.
She's racked up 218 strikeouts and just eight walks through 130 innings and she's allowed just seven runs all season and no more than one in a game.
Spancake threw a two-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over Northern Lehigh for the District 11 title.
Williams said the offense should be ready after facing four tough pitchers in a row dating back to Hazleton Area's Becky Demko in the Division I East title game.
"Everything I've read on Spancake, she's a very good pitcher," Williams said. "We're just going to have to come through, put the ball in play and make things happen."
Nanticoke Area's got its own star on the mound in Sarah Bertoni.
She outdueled Elk Lake's Brooke Darling in the District 2 title game throwing a no-hitter and striking out 13.
Bertoni is 13-1 this year with 127 strikeouts and 15 runs scored in her 92 innings pitched.
Bertoni and the Trojanettes will have to deal with some tough outs in the Cardinals lineup.
Leadoff hitter Samantha Berasavage is hitting .424 with 20 runs scored and Toni Dissinger (.294, 14 RBI) and Karissa Reeves (.377, 17 RBI) are the big bats in the middle of the lineup.
The Cardinals lineup though, isn't one that has struck fear into its opponents. They still rely on strong pitching and defense.
"They are a very good defensive team," Williams said. "They don't score a lot of runs but they don't give up runs."
Williams said the Trojans are peaking defensively, but like the Cardinals, they need a little more hitting at times.
Third baseman Maggie Gola leads the team with four home runs and second baseman Sammi Gow and shortstop Jenn Harnischfeger each have five doubles.
Williams said the key will be to put enough balls in play to force the Cardinals to make double-digit plays on Monday.
"I think we're struggling a little bit offensively," Williams said. "But it just seems like we get enough people in our lineup step up to the plate and come through for us, and it's anywhere in the lineup as the year has progressed."

GNA nips Northwest, in finals
Relay throws are pivotal as Trojans edge Rangers to earn 2A title date vs. Elk Lake.

Perhaps the next premonition should be about practicing home run trots.
Because the last one the Nanticoke softball team acted upon came true in Friday’s District 2 Class 2A semifinal game.
Perfectly executed relay throws in the sixth inning cut down the tying run and allowed Nanticoke to edge Northwest 2-1 and go for its second championship in three years.
Nanticoke (16-1) will play defending champion Elk Lake (16-0) Wednesday at a site and time to be determined for the title and a berth in the PIAA Class 2A tournament. Northwest ended its season at 15-2.
“The funny part of that was just this past week we worked on relays thanks to (assistant) coach (Ryan) Stetz,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “He said, ‘Coach, I think we should work on relay drills.’
“We do (them), but usually not at this time of the season. Usually, we do it earlier in the season. I guess he had a premonition.”
Nanticoke led 2-1 in the sixth with two outs when Northwest’s Heather Blaine reached on a fielding error. Maranda Koehn ran for her and tried to score from first when Rachel Whitesell lined a double to the right-center gap.
Nanticoke center fielder Angela Hillan ran down the ball quickly and threw to second baseman Sammi Gow, whose throw to catcher Amanda Cardone was about six feet up the third base line but well in time to get Koehn.
“We hadn’t had hits with runners on, so I’m not sorry for sending her home,” Northwest coach Ryan Miner said. “It’s a chance you take. We’ve been aggressive all year and been successful that way. It was one of those, if she was safe it would have been a good play.”
Northwest had its first batter reach base in the first, second and fourth innings, but didn’t score. The Rangers tied the score 1-1 in the fifth when Anne Wolfe hit a one-out single and later scored from second on an infield error.
Gow, though, scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning. She reached on an error, moved to third on Jenn Harnischfeger’s single and scored on another error.
Nanticoke pitcher Sarah Bertoni retired the side in order for the first time in the seventh to pick up the victory. She finished with five strikeouts and allowed four hits.
Northwest’s Mandi Black was also tough on the mound, striking out eight and surrendering four hits. Nanticoke, though, managed to manufacture runs.
The first run came in the first. Gow led off with a walk and moved to second on Harnischfeger’s infield single. Bertoni then sacrificed the runners over, but when Northwest tried to get Harnischfeger as she made a slight rounding of second Gow dashed home.
“As soon as I saw her release the ball to second, I knew I had to go,” Gow said. “I wasn’t going to be hesitant and stay at third. I knew I had to take right off.”

Northwest Nanticoke
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Howanitz ss 2 0 1 0 Gow 2b 2 2 0 0
Cragle rf 2 0 0 0 Hrnshfgr ss 3 0 3 0
Black p 3 0 0 0 Bertoni p 2 0 0 0
Campbell 1b 3 0 1 0 Gola 3b 2 0 0 0
Blaine c 3 0 0 0 Doughrty pr 0 0 0 0
Whitesell 2b 3 0 1 0 Cardone c 2 0 1 0
Lewis pr 0 0 0 0 K.Wolfe dp 2 0 0 0
A.Wolfe cf 3 1 1 0 Benjamin rf 1 0 0 0
Bonham lf 3 0 0 0 Hillan cf 3 0 0 0
Linso 3b 2 0 0 0 Roberts 1b 2 0 0 0
Kowalski lf 2 0 0 0

Totals 24 1 4 0 Totals 21 2 4 0
Northwest 000 010 0 — 1
Nanticoke 100 010 x — 2

E – Nwt 2, Nan 2. DP – Nwt 1. LOB – Nwt 5, Nan 5. 2B – Whitesell. SAC – Bertoni, Cardone. CS – Black.
Black, L 6 4 2 1 1 8
Bertoni, W 7 4 1 0 2 5

Nanticoke Area 3, Carbondale 0

Backed by a solid pitching and hitting effort by Sarah Bertoni, the No. 2 seed Trojans moved on to the District 2 Class 2A semifinals. Nanticoke Area (15-1) will host No. 3 seed Northwest at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Bertoni twirled a two-hit shutout and went 2-for-3 at the plate, including an RBI single in a three-run sixth inning. Amanda Cardone also hit a run-scoring single in the sixth.
Makenzie Lynn took the loss for Carbondale (6-10) despite striking out nine in six innings and allowing just three hits.
Carbondale 000 000 0 — 0
Nanticoke Area 000 003 x — 3

WP – Sarah Bertoni, 7IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5K; LP – Makenzie Lynn, 6IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 9K;

Top hitters – NAN: Bertoni 2-for-3

Nanticoke wins championship

Nanticoke’s Lindsay Roberts had butterflies in her stomach when she came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning in the Trojanettes’ most important game of the season.
She got rid of them with one swing of the bat.
Roberts smacked a three-run home run that capped off a big inning as Nanticoke posted a 4-0 victory over Hazleton Area on Tuesday to capture the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I East championship. She hit a towering blast that just cleared the wall in right-center.
“I was nervous before the game and I was nervous during the game,” said Roberts, who couldn’t have picked a better time to hit her first homer of the season. “I hit a fastball that was about even with my hip. I hit it pretty good.”
Nanticoke (14-1) took a 1-0 lead earlier in the sixth inning on a one-out RBI double by Angela Hillan that brought home Amanda Cardone, who reached base on a walk.
Hillan hit a rope that fell squarely between the left fielder and right fielder, enabling Cardone to score from the first. Hazleton Area (13-2) appeared to have a chance of throwing Cardone out at home, but the throw was cutoff by an infielder.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Hillan said. “I wanted to get on base and I didn’t expect to get an RBI.”
Pinch hitter Ashley Horoschock followed with a single, which moved Hillan to third and set the stage for Roberts’ blast.
Nanticoke’s big inning spoiled an otherwise impressive performance by Cougars pitcher Becky Demko, who had a two-hitter working entering the sixth.
“(Demko) was throwing very well,” Roberts said. “She had a rise on her ball that was extremely tough to hit.”
The Trojanettes got a superb effort from pitcher Sarah Bertoni, who was in complete control from the outset.
Bertoni went the distance, limiting Hazleton Area to just two singles while striking out 12.
“I had a good warmup and I felt nice and loose,” said Bertoni. “My fastball was working and my changeup was good. Runs were hard to come by, but fortunately we got some big hits in the sixth.”
Hazleton Area mounted its only scoring threat in the fourth inning. Shannon Salvaterra led off with a single and then stole second with one out. Gabby Ziller followed with a walk. But Bertoni struck out the next two batters.
Salvaterra and Ashley Donlin led the Cougars with one single apiece.
“Bertoni pitched well,” said Nanticoke coach Gary Williams. “Her velocity was up and she had very good location.”
Williams was not surprised by Roberts’ home run.
“Lindsay struggled a little bit with her hitting earlier, but she’s been hitting well late in the season,” he said.
Hazleton Area coach Vince Trivelpiece said his team was no match for Bertoni.
“There’s no way that kid should have to pay to go to college,” he said. “She pitched a great game. She’s top shelf, no doubt about it.”
He added that Demko gave the Cougars a chance to win.
“She also pitched great. She contained the power hitters, but their No. 8 and 9 hitters made the difference.”
Hazleton Area 000 000 0 — 0
Nanticoke 000 004 x — 4

WP – Sarah Bertoni , 7 IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 12K; LP – Becky Demko, 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 5BB, 9K;
2B—NAN: Angela Hillan.. HR—NAN: Lindsay Roberts. Top hitters—Lindsay Roberts 2-for-3 including a home run. HAZ: Shannon Salvaterra 1-for-3, Ashley Donlin 1-for-3.

Nanticoke downs Hazleton Area
Early offensive outburst and Bertoni’s pitching keeps Trojanettes undefeated.
M. Shutt - Times Leader

Heading into Monday afternoon’s game with Hazleton Area, Nanticoke coach Gary Williams had been stressing the importance of scoring early against good teams, something his team has struggled doing so far this season.
After yesterday’s performance, Williams should have plenty of proof to offer his Trojanettes that not only should they score early but that they can.
Amanda Cardone’s three-run home run highlighted an opening inning in which Nanticoke batted around to build a comfortable four-run lead en route to a 7-3 win over Hazleton Area, keeping its perfect softball season in tact.
“I was ecstatic on how we jumped out like that and how everybody was hitting,” said Williams. “We want to get out early on teams because I think it takes a lot of pressure off the girls. Cardone came through real big in that first inning.”
Hazleton Area (6-2) managed some early offense of its own with first-inning RBI singles from Shannon Salvaterra and Ashley Donlin to cut the lead in half, but starting pitcher Ali Scheutz couldn’t keep Nanticoke’s bats at bay.
With Sammi Gow on first after a single, the Trojanettes’ Maggie Gola drove a shot deep to the left field wall the Cougars couldn’t field in time to stop Gow and Gola from coming all the way around. The home run chased Scheutz from the game and gave Nanticoke (8-0) a 6-2 lead midway through the second inning.
“It gave us the confidence that even if they score we can score some runs right back and that we can win it,” said Gola of her home run. The sophomore third baseman finished 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Nanticoke’s final run came in the fourth inning when starting pitcher Sarah Bertoni drove in Gola with an RBI single. Bertoni then went back to work in the bottom half of the inning and stifled what would turn out to be Hazleton Area’s last chance at a rally.
After putting runners on first and second with no outs, Bertoni sent the next three batters back to the dugout victims of strikeouts. The junior hurler recorded at least one strikeout in six out of seven innings and didn’t allow a runner past second base after the second inning.
“I thought she did a great job,” said Williams of Bertoni. “Hazleton’s a good hitting team and she kept the ball away from them. I think that getting by Hazleton Area should give them confidence as the season goes on.”
Nanticoke 420 100 0 — 7
Hazleton Area 210 000 0 — 3

WP – Bertoni 7 IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 6BB, 10K; LP – Shuetz, 1 1/3 IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 1BB, 2K, Salvaterra 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1R, 1ER, 6BB, 3K.
HR—NA Cardone, Gola. Top hitters – NA Cardone 2-for-3 3 RBI, Gola 3-for-5 2 RBI; HAZ Salvaterra 2-for-3 RBI.