Nanticoke Area's Gow named softball Player of the Year
Citizens Voice

Sammy Gow works hard for her accomplishments as an athlete, but it's fair to say the Nanticoke shortstop is a natural when it comes to sports. Whether she was leading off the Trojanettes' batting order or leading Nanticoke's basketball team in scoring, Gow has left behind a legacy at Nanticoke.
The four-year starter is The Citizens' Voice Most Valuable Player after leading the Trojanettes to a 22-4 record, a Division I East championship and a District 2 Class AA championship.
Gow had seven hits in two state playoff games for the Trojanettes and finished the regular season with three triples, four doubles, a .321 batting average, a 390 on-base percentage and a .910 fielding percentage at shortstop.
Jill Snowdon: As the team's shortstop and leadoff hitter, your roles were pretty important. What did your duties mean to you and how did you approach each of them?
Sammy Gow: This year I went back to playing short after playing at second the past three seasons and it was nice to get back to where I played pretty much all my life growing up. I didn't mind playing at second because it was in the best interest of the team, and short and second are a lot alike, except for the longer throw. But I've worked with my dad a lot on my footwork and having a quick release (from short) and I think my glove is one of my best strengths and every batter that came up, I would envision them hitting to me.
And as a leadoff hitter, I still got nervous at the start of every game, even though I've been the leadoff since I was a freshman. But I always had a lot of confidence in my teammates that were after me.
JS: What are some of your favorite softball highlights over the past four years?
SG: Definitely winning the state championship my sophomore year. That was the best day of my life and my only regret is that I didn't take the time during the game to look around and take it all in. I was younger so maybe that's why, but I really wish I took the time to cherish all the little moments and details of the day. Another favorite moment for me was when we beat Dallas in my junior year for the first time in seven years.
JS: What was the driving factor in your decision to attend Wilkes in the fall?
SG: I'm going there because I have a seat in the pharmacy program and my education is first and foremost. But I'm excited about playing softball and playing for coach (Frank) Matthews. I'm so glad I'll be playing locally because my parents and grandparents will be able to come to the game. That was another reason for my decision. And I think it's going to be awesome to play against Jenn (Harnischfeger) and Amanda (Cardone) when we play King's. (Both Harnischfeger and Cardone played at Nanticoke and will be juniors at King's).
JS: You were in a self-described slump this season but really came through in the playoffs. What got you out of it?
SG: I think the turnaround happened in the playoffs because I knew that every game could have been my last. I play better under pressure and I think the pressure of knowing that one game could be the end played a difference. I also worked a lot on my hitting going into the playoffs and I had a lot more confidence that I think I lost during the season.
JS: The season didn't end as you had hoped (a 14-1 loss to Warrior Run in the PIAA Class AA semifinals). How hard was it to grasp that your high school career was over?
SG: I still get upset when I think of that game. I don't know what happened with that game, but I remember walking out of the dugout and crying because the worst part of it was I wasn't going to play again with some of the girls on my team. I hated that my senior year ended that way, but it was a great four years, so I can't complain.

WVC honors its best
The Times Leader staff

Wyoming Valley Conference coaches recently announced their softball all-stars for the 2012 season.

Nanticoke led the way with 10 players honored by the coaches, including Division I East MVP Sammy Gow, a senior shortstop. Hazleton Area, with eight players tabbed, had the division’s Player of the Year in ace pitcher Becky Demko.
Division I West selected Berwick pitcher Margaret Bridge as its MVP and Ashley Inman of Tunkhannock was named the division’s Player of the Year. Tunkhannock had seven players on the first and second teams, while division champ Wyoming Area had six honorees.
Hanover Area senior pitcher Danielle Tuzinski was selected as the Division II MVP after leading the Hawkeyes through a perfect regular season. Hanover Area led the division with five players making the all-star teams.
Coughlin: Marissa Ross, OF.
Crestwood: Ashley Casem, IF; Rachel Ritz, IF; Mel Snyder, IF.
Hazleton Area: Becky Demko, P; Justine Rossi, C; Abby Sachse, IF; Maria Trivelpiece, IF; Lexi Wolk, OF.
Holy Redeemer: Stacey Warga, OF/P.
Nanticoke: Maggie Gola, IF; Sammy Gow, IF; Ange Hillan, OF; Kate Kowalski, OF; Lindsay Roberts, IF; Hannah Rubasky, P; Kayley Schinski, IF.
Most valuable player: Sammy Gow, Nanticoke
Player of the year: Becky Demko, Hazleton Area
Second team
Coughlin: Jessica Luton, P.
Crestwood: Alyssa Davies, P; Danielle DeSpirito, IF.
Hazleton Area: Hailey Kendall, OF; Carly Rossi, U; Shannon Salvaterra, P/1B.
Holy Redeemer: Sydney Kotch, IF; Alexis Shemanski, U.
Nanticoke: Kayla Benjamin, OF; Brooke Chapin, P; Katie Wolfe, C.

A reminder of just how tough a title run is
Paul Sokoloski Opinion - Times Leader

The Nanticoke softball team watched in complete disbelief as the ball jumped off the bat of Warrior Run cleanup hitter Jackie Clemens and cleared the wall.
Along with that three-run homer in the third inning, another state championship trip for the Trojanettes pretty much disappeared.
“Man oh man,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “We never saw this coming.”
Neither did anyone else.
Warrior Run opened the game with a hard single off the glove of an infielder, and never stopped hitting Monday until it pounded home a 14-1 victory that ended a PIAA Class 2A semifinal game after five innings.
“I was hitting my spots,” Nanticoke starting pitcher Hannah Rubasky said. “I’ve never seen a team get to every single ball like that and just hit everything.”
So a Nanticoke team just two years removed from winning a state championship and carrying a full roster of players from that 2010 PIAA title game had to settle for finishing one step shy of reaching the promised land again.
It made them realize just how special doing it once really is.
“It doesn’t just happen every year,” said senior shortstop Sammy Gow, who had a remarkable postseason run through her career. “You have to have a lot of talent on the team. You also have to have a lot of luck.”
The Trojanettes would have settled for just a little favorable fate at Bloomsburg University’s Hutchison Field.
Instead, such a luckless day left Nanticoke feeling lousy.
“It’s going to (hurt) for the next couple weeks,” Rubasky said.
The pain started for the Trojanettes with the first batter of the game, when Gow fought back to work an 0-2 count full before drilling a deep shot to left field. It wound up in the glove outfielder Katy Swartz for the first out.
That wasn’t the last break that went Warrior Run’s way.
A base hit bounced off a glove, a two-run double that barely eluded a Trojanettes outfielder, a couple lasers off Nanticoke bats that Warrior Run outfielders speared.
“They had a lucky day,” Rubasky said, “and we didn’t.”
Meaning only that the Trojanettes didn’t catch any breaks.
It was certainly no stroke of fortune the way Warrior Run bats began connecting right from the start, no matter who was pitching for the Trojanettes.
“We’ve been hitting together (as a team) a lot,” said winning pitcher Tay Parker, who triggered the 14-hit, 14-run attack with a two-run triple in the first frame. “Once we started hitting, we didn’t stop.”
All that offense against them made another ride to the state championship stall quickly on the Trojanettes.
“First inning,” Williams said is when he started to worry. “Their first three batters, they hit the ball hard on us.”
It just confirmed how hard it is to win a state championship, even with a team as talented and poised and experienced in the postseason as the Trojanettes were.
“I don’t think this game defines who we are as a team,” Gow said, “won’t take away any of the accomplishments we’ve had throughout our four years here.”
But it will serve as a reminder how special reaching the top of the state even once really is.
Paul Sokoloski is a Times Leader sports columnist. You may reach him at 970-7109 or email him at psokoloski@timesleader.com.

Outfielders are key to Nanticoke’s success
Trio provides significant offense and flawless defense for D2 champ Trojanettes.

John Medeiros - Times Leader

In youth leagues, the best softball players are usually on the infield and those with a few holes in their games take spots in the outfield.
In Nanticoke, coach Gary Williams has himself a group of starting outfielders who excel in all facets of the game. And his talented trio came together by accident.
“I love the outfield,” left fielder Katie Kowalski said. “I was a shortstop until I got hit in the mouth with a ball. Now, I cannot keep my head down on a ground ball.”
“I got hit in the mouth, too,” right fielder Kayla Benjamin said. “We’ve all played on the infield before.”
“We were all probably pitchers at one time,” said center fielder Ange Hillan, who smiled and replied “no” when asked if she had been driven from the dirt by a stray ball as well.
The outfielders have been key to Nanticoke’s success. This group was in the lineup two years ago during the Trojanettes last state championship.
Whether it’s Benjamin going 2-for-2 against Dunmore in districts, or Kowalski getting two hits in the district final versus Lakeland, or Hillan starting a double play Thursday against Kutztown, this group is integral to Nanticoke’s chances. Defensively, they have not committed an error all season.
“We get to use our speed out there,” Hillan said of their defensive work.
Offensively, Hillan is second on the team in runs (28) and batting average (.436), and third in hits (34) and RBI (19). Kowalski is tied for the team lead in homers (4), and is second in RBI (27) and triples (3). They have been entrenched near the top of the batting order.
Benjamin moved from the middle of the order to the No. 9 spot just before the postseason, where her .302 batting average and 20 runs can keep innings going.
“It’s like she’s an extra leadoff hitter,” Kowalski said.
“My job’s to get a runner on base with the top of the order coming up behind me,” Benjamin said. “Coach said this would be better for the team, so I understood.”
Benjamin’s .413 on-base percentage, fifth on the team, makes her dangerous in a spot normally used to hide a weakness.
“On our team, it’s like we don’t have a bottom of the order,” Hillan said.
With no easy outs in the lineup, Nanticoke’s aim is to find its pitches against Warrior Run’s Tay Parker. While the District 4 champion is something of a mystery to the Trojanettes, they have been made aware of the junior, who has fanned 227 this season.
“We know they have a pretty good pitcher,” Benjamin said. “She has a YouTube video, but you can’t really tell anything from it.”
“We know we have to lay off the high ones,” Hillan said. “We have to be selective.”
The only history between some of the players came in a Little League state semifinal in 2009, when Nanticoke-Newport was on its way to a state title.
“I don’t know,” said Kowalski, who played on that state champion. “We beat them, but I don’t remember anything about the game.”
The 15-2 Nanticoke-Newport win was impressive, but it doesn’t matter today.
“You don’t go in there like you’re going to walk all over them,” Kowalski said.
“We need to play our game,” Hillan said. “We know not to take them lightly. This is the state semifinals, obviously they are a good team.”
The Defenders (23-2) will be playing their fourth state playoff game in school history. They are 2-1 all-time in the PIAA tournament. Warrior Run is coached by Garth Watson and has one starting senior, shortstop Carisa Swartz.
Nanticoke (23-3) is seeking its seventh consecutive state playoff victory.

SS Gow delivers under pressure
The Nanticoke senior has a career .636 batting average in the state tournament.

John Medeiros - Times Leader

She is the unofficial face of the franchise, even though she is not a flame-throwing pitcher with hundreds of strikeouts nor a 6-foot slugger who is a three-run homer threat every time she stands in the batter’s box.
No, Sammy Gow -- as described by Gow herself -- is "just one player on the team." That is a recipe for success at any level when a player such as the all-state shortstop is just one of the talented players on the field, as she will be today, when Nanticoke faces Warrior Run in the PIAA Class 2A softball semifinals at Bloomsburg Univeristy.
"I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself," Gow said. "We’re here because of the whole team. Everyone has their own strengths to contribute. I don’t listen to that stuff (the hype around her).
She was the pitcher, but that was back in her Minor Division days. And at 5-foot-6, she will never have a menacing appearance at the plate when she stands in from her leadoff spot.
But Gow is a complete package as far as athletes go, contributing in every way for her team.
"Sammy is our leader. There’s no question about it," her coach said. "She’s a great athlete. She’s like my little coach (out there). Even when you don’t see a lot ... in the boxscore, people don’t see the things that she does on a regular basis for us."
That coach wasn’t softball coach Gary Williams, but was Nanticoke basketball coach Alan Yendrziewski in February, putting into words the intangibles Gow brings to a team.
The four-year starter is a player opponents have noted for years. Gow scored the state-championship winning run in 2010, touching home in front of Kayley Schinski on a double by Maggie Gola in the 11th inning against Philipsburg-Osceola.
She started the inning at second base as part of softball’s tiebreaker. The batter who makes the last out of the previous inning starts the next frame at second base. The fact that runner was Gow is somewhat remarkable, as she has more hits than outs in her PIAA playoff career.
"Sammy is on fire right now," Williams said. "We couldn’t ask for anything more from her."
Gow has hits in all six of her career state playoff games and sports a .636 batting average in PIAA play. She has four multi-hit games. And this season, her average is an off-the-charts .875 in two games, raising her season number 46 points from a level she was not satisfied with to its current .350.
"I’ve been in a slump for a while," Gow said. "I tried to practice with my dad to get out of it. For a little while, I lost confidence but my teammates really picked me up."
Gow is also the keystone of one of the best defensive teams in the state. Hit a ball in the hole or up the middle and, if she gets a glove on it, the batter is likely out. It all comes from the work she’s done in the backyard with her father for years, as well as being part of a team with all her friends.
"We all have a lot of confidence," Gow said. "We’ve all been together for so long. Most of us have been playing together since we were 9."

Nanticoke Area ready for Warrior Run
By Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area softball coach Gary Williams doesn't need to put a lot of thought into what needs to be done for his Trojanettes to get past Warrior Run in today's the PIAA Class AA semifinals.
In fact, a quick look at the scouting report for Warrior Run defines the Defenders' top strength right away - junior pitcher Taylor Parker.
"The key is going to be how we adjust to her," Williams said. "It's really going to come down to whether their pitcher can dominate us or not."
Baker is coming off a one-hitter over Christopher Dock in the quarterfinals and she enters with six no-hitters this season.
"She's strictly a power pitcher," Williams said. "She throws in the low 60s. She likes to throw a rise ball and she goes up and outside."
With that in mind, Nanticoke Area will move to the back of the batter's box as it did against Pine Grove pitcher Ethel Santai.
Against Kutztown, the Trojanettes went back to what Williams called "their comfort zone" in the box and handled Kutztown pitcher Meghan Donat with little trouble.
While Parker is certainly a person the Trojanettes are preparing for, Warrior Run is most likely prepping for a Nanticoke Area offense that connected for 14 hits in the quarterfinals.
Senior Sammy Gow has been exceptional in the past two games, with a combined seven hits, including a pair of doubles and a triple. She sparked a six-run first inning for Nanticoke Area against Kutztown.
Not to be outdone, the Trojanettes defense continues to hold steady behind starting pitcher Hannah Rubasky, who enters with a 35-1 career record.
"I think that one through four they are a very good hitting team," Williams said of Warrior Run. "But it's hard to tell what kind of defense they have because Parker is so dominant. I'm not sure how much they've been tested."

Nanticoke ace carries on winning tradition
Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Citizens' Voice File Nanticoke Area pitcher Hannah Rubasky has a career record of 35-1.

Hannah Rubasky is finally having her moment.
After waiting three years to guide Nanticoke Area's softball team on the mound, the senior ace is taking it all in and enjoying a run that she dreamed the Trojanettes would once again make.
Rubasky and the Trojanettes are one victory away from returning to the Class AA state title game for the first time in two years. Nanticoke must first get past Warrior Run on Monday in the semifinals at 4 p.m. at Bloomsburg University.
The winner will play the survivor of the Martinsburg Central/Neshannock semifinal for the state championship on Friday at 3 p.m. at Penn State University.
"I'm enjoying every second of this," Rubasky said. "It's fun, and interesting, to finally be in charge as the pitcher."
Rubasky was a back-up to standout pitcher Sarah Bertoni the past three seasons. Bertoni guided the Trojanettes to the 2010 state championship, was back-to-back MVP in the Wyoming Valley Conference and went onto to become a star at Millersville University.
Rubasky, who arguably would have been a starter for any other conference team, patiently waited her turn as Nanticoke's ace.
"Sarah was a great pitcher, and I knew my day would eventually come," Rubasky said. "It was hard sitting and waiting, but I just had to be patient."
Rubasky did get some starts for Nanticoke through the years before taking over for good as a senior. She enters the state semifinals with a remarkable 35-1 record.
"With how tough ouroffense is, I think Hannah often gets overlooked," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. "She throws a great screwball that's practically unhitable. She has a pretty good curveball and she's just an all-around battler."
Rubasky surrendered nine hits to Pine Grove in the opening round of the state playoffs, which Nanticoke won 5-4. She scattered 11 hits Thursday to Kutztown in an 8-4 victory for the Trojanettes, making her hits total higher than she's used to in league play, but she's handled the contact well.
"I had a rough day against Kutztown because I wasn't getting the outside pitch," Rubasky said. "But my breaking pitches have been working really well for me."
Nanticoke's offense gave Rubasky some breathing room right from start as it opened with six runs in the first inning against Kutztown. And Rubasky helped her own cause by providing an RBI single in the inning.
"It felt really good to go out and pitch with that kind of cushion," Rubasky said. "I always know I can count on our offense to get things going and make things easier. And if things aren't going well on offense, I know I have a great defense behind me."
The scouting report on Warrior Run focuses heavily on junior pitcher Taylor Parker, who threw a one-hitter against Christopher Dock and enters the semifinals with six no-hitters and 220 strikeouts this season.
While Rubasky is a tremendous threat in the circle, she's just one of the many components that make up Nanticoke's strong lineup. And it suits her just fine.
"Maybe it will work out in our favor because they will take us lightly," said Rubasky, who will play at Division II Concordia University in White Plains, N.Y. "I'm good with that. We are so focused right now and we just want to come out and play clean and get back to the state final."

Nanticoke reaches state semifinals
John Medeiros - Times Leader

Nanticoke scored six times in the first inning as the Trojanettes cruised to an 8-4 victory over Kutztown in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals at Patriots Park on Thursday.
Twelve Nanticoke batters had four hits and the Trojanettes took advantage of three Cougars' errors to take the early 6-0 lead.
Sammy Gow, Ange Hillan and Katie Kowalski (two-run double) had consecutive hits in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 8-1 over Kutztown, the District 3 champs.
Gow finished with four hits, including a double, andtwo runs. Maggie Gola had a single, a double and two RBI. Kayley Schinski had two hits and a run, and Katie Wolfe had an RBI-triple in the first inning.
Hannah Rubasky scattered 11 hits in the win.
Nanticoke advances to the state semifinal on Monday against District 4 champion Warrior Run, a 2-1 winner over District 1's Christopher Dock on Thursday.

An early explosion
Nanticoke scores 6 early to move to state semifinals

John Medeiros - Times Leader

Sometimes, graduation day brings a mix of joy and sadness – the joy from a sense of accomplishment and the sadness in saying goodbye to your friends.
For 13 Nanticoke seniors, their graduation ceremony won’t have that sadness as they will still be together tomorrow and into next week.
The Trojanettes erupted for six runs in their first at-bat, then cruised to an 8-4 victory over District 3 champion Kutztown in the PIAA Class 2A softball quarterfinals at Patriots Park.
“We’ve got a lot of emotions running through us right now because we graduate tonight,” said Nanticoke senior shortstop Sammy Gow, who had four hits, including a double, and two runs. “That first inning was big for us today.”
Nanticoke sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the first, forcing the Cougars’ Meghan Donat to throw 39 pitches. Eight of the first nine reached safely, with the only out coming on a sacrifice fly.
Four hits – Gow’s single leading off, Maggie Gola’s two-run double off the fence in center, Lindsay Roberts’ RBI-single to left and Katie Wolfe’s run-scoring triple to right – were teamed with a walk and three errors leading to a quick 6-0 lead.
“We told the kids we had to jump on this team early,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “We had heard they were a pretty good hitting team, so we stressed to get up early on them. They came through like champs.”
“It was unfortunate. Our pitcher settled down after that,” Kutztown coach Kevin Conrad said. “They picked a good inning to pick on her. And normally we have really solid defense. Other than that first inning, we played them even.”
The Trojanettes could have put on their caps and gowns after that. They had hits in every inning, and finished with 13 hits. The 12 runners left on base would have been a concern any other day, but not this one as the lead reached 8-1 in the fifth.
With two outs in the fifth, Gow singled and stole a base – one of seven stolen bases for Nanticoke. Ange Hillan drove in Gow with a single to right and Katie Kowalski then doubled to right-center to plate Hillan.
“This pitcher doesn’t match up to Ethel (Santai, the flamethrower from Pine Grove that Nanticoke faced Monday),” Gow said. “We were able to get in there and do what we can without the adjustments.”
Even when Kutztown scored, there was reason to celebrate for Nanticoke. After a single by Donat and a double by Taylor Faust in the second inning, Emma Weaknecht lifted a fly to center that Hillan pulled down. In traffic with shortstop Gow and second baseman Kayley Schinski, runner Julia Egland broke from third.
Hillan’s throw to catcher Wolfe was not in time to cut down the run, but Wolfe then fired to Gola at third base to get a double play on Faust.
“When you are up five, six runs, you can afford a play like that,” Williams said.
Kutztown scored in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer by Jodi Weaknecht and a double by Tessa Dorr in the seventh.“We could have folded after that first inning,” Conrad said. “all year long we’ve been getting big hits from multiple people in the lineup.”
Donat had three hits, and Anna Behm and Faust had two hits each for Kutztown.
Gola and Schinski had two hits each for Nanticoke. Eight Trojanettes had hits and six drove in runs.

Winners of its last six state playoff games, Nanticoke will face District 4 champion Warrior Run, a 2-1 winner over Christopher Dock, on Monday at a site and time to be determined.

Nanticoke 8, Kutztown 4 PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal
Nanticoke Kutztown
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Gow ss 5 2 4 0 JWeaknecht 3b 4 1 1 2
Hillan cf 4 2 1 1 Behm ss 4 1 2 0
Kowalski lf 4 0 1 1 Dorr 1b 4 0 1 1
Gola 3b 3 1 2 2 Donat p 4 0 3 0
Briggs pr 0 0 0 0 Egland pr 0 1 0 0
Schinski 2b 5 1 2 0 Faust cf 3 0 2 0
Roberts 1b 4 1 1 1 EWeaknecht lf 3 0 0 0
Wolfe c 4 1 1 1 Zimmerman dp 2 0 0 0
Rubasky p 3 0 1 1 Wehr ph 1 0 1 0
Benjamin rf 4 0 0 0 Rice rf 3 1 1 0
Rothermel 2b 1 0 0 0
Brig ph 1 0 0 0
Lenhart c 0 0 0 0
Totals 36 7 13 7 Totals 30 4 11 3

Nanticoke 600 020 0 — 8
Kutztown 010 020 1 — 4

2B – NAN, Gow, Kowalski, Gola; KUT, Dorr, Faust. 3B – NAN, Wolfe. HR – KUT, J. Weaknecht.

Rubasky (W) 7 11 4 4 0 4

Donat (L) 7 13 8 7 3 2

HEAVY HITTING 6-run first inning sends Nanticoke Area to 8-4 win over Kutztown, berth in semis
Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area entered the PIAA Class AAA softball quarterfinals Thursday anticipating a high-scoring battle with Kutztown.
The Trojanettes' offense built a solid foundation just minutes into the game, while their defense made sure it held up for an 8-4 win Thursday at Patriots Park.
Nanticoke (22-3) will play Warrior Run, a 2-1 winner over Christopher Dock, on Monday in the AA semifinals at a site and time to be announced. Kutztown finishes 20-6.
Senior shortstop Sammy Gow ignited a six-run first inning as she led off with a single, stole second and scored the opening run. It was just the start for Gow as went 4 for 5, including a double, scored two runs and swiped three bases.
"Sammy is on fire," Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said. "She's making great plays in the infield and she's generating our offense."
The Trojanettes followed Gow's lead in the first and turned up the heat on Kutztown pitcher Meghan Donat. Maggie Gola delivered a two-run double scoring Gow and Angela Hillan for a 2-0 lead. Kutztown committed three errors in the inning and Nanticoke Area took advantage.
Kaylee Schinski took first on an infield error with Gola trotting home on the play for Nanticoke's third run. Lindsay Roberts followed with an RBI single, Katie Wolfe smacked an RBI triple to right field and Hannah Rubasky added another run-scoring single to round out the six-run first.
"We told them this game could be a scoring affair," Williams said. "We heard that Kutztown had a good offense so we stressed to our girls to get up on them early and obviously they listened. I'd like to have all first innings like that one."
Kutztown cut the deficit to 5-1 in the second after Emma Weaknecht brought home Taylor Faust on a sacrifice fly. The Cougars tried to put something together on offense in each inning, but their rallying efforts came with two out in each of the final four innings.
The Cougars managed two runs in the fifth thanks to Jodi Weaknecht's two-out home run over the fence in left-center. By then Nanticoke was sitting on an 8-3 cushion.
"We've all been hitting well, but not at the same time," said Gow, who has seven hits in the last two playoff games. "We were in our comfort zone today with batting."
Eight of Nanticoke's batters finished with at least one hit. Gola, Schinski and Rubasky, who picked up the win with four strikeouts, each had two hits. Nanticoke's offense also stole second six times on the Cougars.
"We're here because of our whole team and as long as the team does well, I'm happy," Gow said. "I was in a slump for a while and I was losing my confidence, but I've been working on a lot of things with my dad and I'm starting to come out of it."

Nanticoke Area takes on Kutztown in quarterfinals
Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area successfully altered its approach in the batter's box in the first round of the PIAA Class AA softball championships on Monday.
Now the Trojanettes will test their usual stance as they take on Kutztown at noon today in the quarterfinals at Patriots Park in Allentown.
"We went into the cage (Wednesday) and went back to our normal swing and turned down the speed a little," Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said. "Against Pine Grove we were using a snap swing instead of a big power swing, but we'll have them up in the box more today and keeping their weight on their right side."
Against Pine Grove, Nanticoke Area faced pitcher Ethel Santai, who has been clocked at 61 miles per hour. Santai kept the Trojanettes fairly quiet through the first four innings before they finally started making consistent contact.
"(Tunkhannock's) Ashley Inman was probably the closest we had seen in comparison to Santai's speed," Williams said. "I knew she was throwing 61-62 so we went to an abbreviated swing. But we're used to seeing a lot more finesse pitching."
That's what the Trojanettes are expecting today when they meet up with Kutztown and starting ace Meghan Donat.
She gave up just five hits and struck out four in the Cougars' 7-3 win over Chestnut Ridge on Monday.
"She moves the ball around a lot," Williams said. "She's more of a finesse pitcher than a power pitcher."
Aside from pitching, Williams and the Trojanettes have been preparing for the Cougars' hitting, especially the top of their line-up.
"I understand their top four hitters are very good," Williams said. "And their third baseman (Anna Behm) is a great hitter and a super athlete."

Nanticoke adjusting to rigors of state tournament
John Medeiros

Softball is often looked at solely as a game of pitching and bunting, but you better believe it is also about coaching and adjustments.
Just look at Nanticoke and the latter points are evident.
The Trojanettes (22-3) faced Pine Grove’s Ethel Santai in their first-round game Monday. Santai, who had allowed 12 earned runs and struck out 312 batters this season, was unhittable the first time through the Nanticoke order.
Nanticoke’s first nine batters went 0-for-7 against Santai, who fanned four of the first seven she faced. Pine Grove had a lead and appeared to be cruising right along toward eliminating the District 2 champions.
The Trojanettes are a team built on plate awareness. They have just three players who have struck out more than eight times all season. They stood in against Santai and watched as low strikes were called and the outside corner had a little extra distance from the inside corner.
It was a consistent strike zone, though, which allowed the senior-laden squad to adjust.
“We had worked with them in practice getting ready for her,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “We knew she was fast and she’s tough. We had them move back in the box and work at shortening up their swings because they needed more time to see the ball.”
While the adjustments started to show up in the third inning, it was leadoff batter Sammy Gow who made the most pronounced changes in the batter’s box. The senior shortstop went from standing forward in the box and leaning in over the plate to standing close to the back edge of the box and opening her stance with her front leg pointed toward shortstop.
Gow got a hit her second time up. And her third. And her fourth.
Six other Nanticoke players had hits as well, plastering a pitcher who had opponents batting just .104 against her. The Trojanettes went 9-for-20 the rest of the way against Santai, a whopping .450 average.
“Sammy had been struggling (for her) at the plate,” Williams said of the star shortstop, who is batting .326 this season.
While Nanticoke has won its last five state tournament games, Kutztown (20-5) won its first state tournament game in a decade. The Cougars won the 2002 Class 2A title, then waited 10 years to win another district title. In the interim, Kutztown was unable to make a dent in the tourney despite qualifying as recently as 2010.
The Cougars have eight seniors on the roster, with multi-sport athlete Anna Behm among the team’s leaders. The shortstop is the team leader offensively and in the field for first-year coach Kevin Conrad.
The entire Kutztown squad is dangerous offensively, as the team has scored 223 runs this season (Nanticoke scored 210 runs). The Cougars scored in double figures 12 times, but were also shut out twice and only played one one-run game.
Meghan Donat and Jodi Weaknecht can take turns either pitching or playing third base for Kutztown.
The winner of Thursday’s game at Patriots Park in Allentown gets either battle-tested Christopher Dock, a state semifinalist last year out of District 1, or Warrior Run, the upstart District 4 champion, in the state semifinals Monday.

Trojanettes survive rain, Pine Grove Cardinals, who rallied to win eight games this year, denied final at-bat
Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice

It's surprising that anything could trump the outstanding back-and-forth momentum between Nanticoke Area and Pine Grove, Monday in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA softball tournament.
A late-game rainstorm, however, squashed all potential story lines that built a 5-4 score in Nanticoke's favor through 6½ innings.
And, after nearly two hours of waiting for some kind of let-up, game officials and umpires called the game, leaving Pine Grove without a chance at its final at-bat and allowing Nanticoke (21-3) to advance to the state quarterfinals on Thursday against Kutztown.
Acorrding to PIAA rules, a game is official at the completion of five innings.
Pine Grove had won eight games this season in its final at-bat or in extra innings this year and finishes at 24-3.
"It was a great game to that point," Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. "It's really a shame and I feel bad for Pine Grove and I can certainly understand their displeasure because I would be mad too."
There was no victory celebration by the Nanticoke bench. Instead the Trojanettes seemed relieved that they could finally get a chance to get in their warm, dry bus.
On the other side of the field the Cardinals headed to their bus as well, while coach Alan Felty stood dejectedly against the rock wall next to his team's dugout.
"I didn't even get a chance to talk to them yet," Felty said. "It's ridiculous that it had to end this way. We should have played out the rest of the inning in the rain because at that point the field wasn't even bad yet. I would have liked a fair chance to win - or lose."
Prior to the weather taking center stage, both teams had their turns of getting ahead on the scoreboard.
Pine Grove took the first lead with a run in the bottom of the first as Keandra Koons, who led off the game with a double, scored on Ethel Santai's RBI single. Koons set up the Cardinals' second run in the fourth when she connected with a single that hit off Nanticoke pitcher Hannah Rubasky, allowing Samantha Lengel to score from third.
Nanticoke had trouble getting anything going on offense in the first two innings as Santai, a junior pitcher, fanned four Trojanettes.
"We worked on things to shorten up our swing," Williams said of his team adjusting to Santai. "We had a more abbreviated swing and that seemed to work well for us and I was telling them to get back in the box."
Sammy Gow doubled in the third to give Nanticoke some life at the plate and she had Santai solved by the fifth and sixth innings. Gow, the lead-off hitter, followed Kayla Benjamin's single in the fifth with a double and both girls scored on Ang Hillan's single past second base. Benjamin came in standing up, while Gow slid under the attempt of Pine Grove catcher Kelsey Stine, tying the game at 2.
Maggie Gola nailed a triple to deep right field, scoring Hillan and giving Nanticoke its first lead of the game at 3-2.
Pine Grove came right back in the bottom of the fifth. Amanda Kemmerling and Santai led off with singles before scored on scoring on Samantha Lengel's one-out double to left, putting the Cardinals back on top with a 4-3 margin.
Nanticoke scored what proved to be the game winning run on a fluke play in the sixth inning. Hannah Rubasky singled and tied the score at 4-4 on Gow's triple down the left field line. The throw into the infield went out of reach of any Pine Grove infielder and rolled through the fence opening behind home plate. The ball was declared a dead ball because it was out of play and Gow was waved on to come home by the home plate umpire, putting Nanticoke ahead by one run.
The Trojanettes went down in order in the seventh inning and just as Pine Grove readied for its final shot of taking over, a steady rain began to fall.
Kemmerling faced a 3-1 count when the umpire called the teams off the field, leaving the heart of the Cardinals' order without an opportunity for redemption.
"If you're going to play with a chance for rain, there should be a plan for something like this," Felty said. "I'm not against Nanticoke. My complaint is with the PIAA. It's a real shame to end the kids' season like this."

Championship is goal for Nanticoke
John Medeiros - Times Leader

It’s deja vu all over again for Nanticoke.
A veteran team, the Trojans came into the season with a lofty goal -- a second state championship. Nanticoke won the Class 2A title in 2010 with an impressive run through the District 2 and PIAA brackets.
Six starters this season were in the starting lineup in 2010. Only pitcher Hannah Rubasky, catcher Katie Wolfe and second baseman Kayley Schinski are new to the starting lineup from that championship season.
“We definitely love the feeling of winning and this season has been so successful,” Wolfe said. “It means a lot. For our seniors who didn’t play a lot last time, this is a very special feeling. With 13 seniors on the roster, we have a lot to play for.”
Two years ago, Nanticoke started its pursuit of glory at Blue Mountain High School’s Patton Field against Pine Grove. Today, the Trojans’ path to another state tournament follows that same map.
Absent from the lineups will be both pitchers from that game -- now-college standouts Sarah Bertoni (Nanticoke, now at Millersville) and Hope Spancake (Pine Grove, now at California of Pa.).
Pine Grove (24-2) looks to be a near-polar opposite of the Trojans, with just three seniors and four juniors on the roster. Junior Ethel Santai has 15 shutouts this season and a 0.48 ERA. She has 312 strikeouts and just 25 walks in 175 innings.
Six Cardinals batters have averages above .300, with Courtney Brown, Kendra Koons, Santai and Amanda Kemmerling all providing pop at the plate. Samantha Bertasavage is the team’s leading base stealer and bunter.
Nanticoke (21-3) has been a different team since winning the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I East title in a playoff against Class 4A Hazleton Area -- both literally and figuratively. The new-look Trojans have been more balanced offensively, complimenting a composed defense behind Rubasky.
“It was right before the Hazleton (playoff) game,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said of a rearranged batting order. “Hazleton is so familiar with us that we wanted to change things up. So far, it’s been working for us, so we might as well stick with it.”
It should be an intriguing matchup, as Nanticoke has eight starters hitting above .300, with three -- Ange Hillan, Maggie Gola and Schinski -- batting over .400 for the team that led the Wyoming Valley Conference in scoring with 133 runs during the season.
“Schinski was our best player as far as on-base percentage, so we moved her up,” Williams said of taking the junior out of the No. 9 spot in the order.
Unlike Pine Grove, Nanticoke also has an option 1-A to go along with Rubasky in the circle, as Brooke Chapin appeared in 14 games this season.
Directions to Patton Field at Blue Mountain High School: Take I-81 South to Exit 124A.Take PA-61 South about 13 miles and at the split of PA-61 and PA-443 (the road picks up the 443 designation in Schuylkill Haven), turn left onto PA-443 East, which is West Market Street. Blue Mountain High School with be on the left.

Clutch performance
Tom Brolley - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area's Katie Wolfe got the green light to swing Wednesday afternoon facing a 3-1 count with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Wolfe saw the pitch she wanted to hit, but she only got her bat handle on Alissa Steier's pitch.
The handle was just enough as Wolfe muscled the ball beyond Lakeland shortstop Allison Kraky and just in front of left fielder Sam Amorine.
Wolfe's bloop single plated Angie Hillan with the winning run to give Nanticoke Area a 2-1 victory over Lakeland for the District 2 Class AA title at Wilkes' Ralston Complex.
Wolfe went hitless with two strikeouts in her first three at-bats, but Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams gave her the go-ahead to swing in extra innings if the pitch was right.
"It felt like it was going to be a pop up to shortstop because it hit the handle of my bat," Wolfe said. "I was rounding first and I saw it drop and I was just so pumped up with all these emotions just running through me at the same time."
Hillan and Kowlaski put Steier in a bind to lead of the bottom of the eighth with back-to-back singles.
A throwing error on Kowlaski's single put Hillan and Kowalski at third and second, respectively.
Steier battled back by inducing a Maggie Gola pop out to Kraky before pitching around Kayley Schinski.
Steier then struck out Lindsay Roberts looking before Wolfe's game-winning hit.
"Our pitcher pitched a phenomenal game," Lakeland coach Brian Wagner said. "She almost got us out of that jam. It could've went either way. We could've struck her out but they got that little bloop hit to beat us."
Hannah Rubasky pitched out of her own jam in the top of the eighth inning after Dana Prudente singled and Kraky walked with one out.
Rubasky forced Steier to fly out to right fielder Kayla Benjamin and Rubasky ended the inning with her final strikeout.
Rubasky started the game with seven strikeouts through three innings before finishing with nine.
"Hannah was on with every pitch she had," Wolfe said. "She hit her spots. Wherever we wanted the ball, she threw it there. Her curve, her screwball, every pitch was just working so wonderful today."
The Trojanettes went six innings without a run as Schinski started the scoring with an RBI single to score Sammy Gow in the first inning.
Gow led off the game with a liner to left field before scoring the game's first run.
She finished the game with three hits and Schinski went 2 for 2 with a double.
Shortstop Gow also preserved the Trojanettes lead in the fourth inning with a lunging catch up the middle. She then dove to the bag for an unassisted double play to end the inning.
Nanticoke Area will play the District 11 champion in the first round of the PIAA Class AA Championships on Monday at a site and time to be determined.

Lakeland 000 001 00 - 1
Nanticoke 100 000 01 - 2
2B: Kayley Schinski (NA).
Lakeland IP H R ER BB SO
Steier, LP 7â?? 9 2 2 3 4
Nanticoke IP H R ER BB SO
Rubasky, WP 8 6 1 1 2 9

Nanticoke Area 2
Montrose 0

Citizens Voice

At Montrose, Nanticoke's Hannah Rubasky pitched seven scoreless innings to outduel Montrose's Lacy Neely.
Katie Wolfe went 2 for 3 and drove in a run for Nanticoke Area, while teammates Katie Kowalski, Maggie Gola, Kayley Schinski and Lindsay Roberts each added hits.
Schinski scored a run and drove in another for Nanticoke Area.
Nanticoke Area 000 020 0 - 2
Montrose 000 000 0 - 0
WP: Hannah Rubasky 7IP, 6H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 2SO
LP: Lacy Neely 7IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3SO

Nanticoke gets past Montrose
Times Leader

Kayley Schinski and Katie Wolfe each hit RBI singles in the sixth inning to provide all the offense Nanticoke needed in a 2-0 victory over Montrose in a District 2 Class 2A semifinal contest Friday.
With the win, the Trojans will meet Lakeland in the final, set for Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. at Wilkes University.
Wolfe finished 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the offense while Hannah Rubasky kept Montrose’s bats quiet.
Rubasky pitched all seven innings and allowed just three hits to earn the shutout.
Nanticoke 000 002 0 — 2
Montrose 000 000 0 — 0
WP – Hannah Rubasky, 7 IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 4K; LP – L. Neely, 0 IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K.

Late surge charges Nanticoke
Trojanettes bats sparked in their final three innings in quarterfinal victory.

John Medeiros - Times Leader

The first time through the batting order, Nanticoke managed just a slap single by Kayla Benjamin.
But the Trojanettes learned what they needed to about Dunmore ace Sarah Ross.
No. 3 seed Nanticoke generated five runs on eight hits in its final three innings at the plate in a 5-1 victory over the sixth-seeded Bucks in the District 2 Class 2A softball quarterfinals Wednesday.
With the win, the Trojanettes advance to play at Montrose on Friday.
“We’ve been slow starting lately,” Nanticoke coach Gary Williams said. “We’re just coming off the ball, we’re a little overanxious.
“One of the big things we need to do looking ahead is we’ve got to make adjustments at the plate earlier in the game.”
Nanticoke’s Maggie Gola reached the base of the fence in left-center with her double on the first pitch of the fourth inning. Two batters later, Lindsay Roberts singled to left and took second on an error, putting two in scoring position for Katie Wolfe.
“Once one of us starts hitting, we all get our bats going,” Wolfe said.
The Trojanettes’ catcher fell behind early on two quick strikes, then fouled off three of the next five pitches. The eighth pitch of the at-bat was to Wolfe’s liking and she served it into right field for what stood as the game-winning hit.
“That second at-bat, I was used to what she was throwing,” Wolfe said. “I just stayed off the junk pitches and tried to foul off the ones that were strikes but not in my zone until I got my pitch.”
Ange Hillan added a run-scoring single to close the fourth inning, giving Hannah Rubasky all of the offensive support she would need.
“Hannah did an excellent job,” said Wolfe, her catcher. “She always hits her spots. They were hitting her, but they were her pitches and they couldn’t do any damage.”
Rubasky fanned just one, but allowed only three hits and one walk. She seemed to place most of her pitches perfectly so that the batted balls ended up in shortstop Sammy Gow’s glove.
The senior standout had a role in 10 of Dunmore’s 21 outs, including an inning-ending double play in the second when she made a leaping backhanded grab on a line drive, then threw to second base to double off the runner. She also added a catch while sliding on her knees in foul territory in left field on a fly ball by Julie Cardillo.
“We pride ourselves on defense and she is our rock,” Williams said of Gow, who had six assists and four put outs.
Wolfe got the Trojanettes’ other big inning – the sixth – started with an eight-pitch walk. Singles by Benjamin, Gow and Kate Kowalski gave Nanticoke a 5-0 lead.
Gola had two doubles for Nanticoke, Bronwyn Perrins scored two runs.
Delia Carr singled leading off the seventh inning and scored an unearned run for Dunmore.

Nanticoke 5, Dunmore 1 District 2 Class 2A quarterfinal
Dunmore Nanticoke
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Ross p 3 0 0 0 Gow ss 4 0 1 1
Tallo 3b 3 0 0 0 Hillan cf 3 0 1 1
Gerchman ss 3 0 0 0 Kowalski lf 4 0 1 1
Carr cf 3 1 2 0 Gola 3b 3 1 2 0
Cardillo rf 2 0 0 0 Schinski 2b 3 0 0 0
AKelly 2b 3 0 1 0 Roberts 1b 3 1 1 0
Aronica dp 1 0 0 0 Wolfe c 2 0 1 2
GKelly 1b 2 0 0 0 Perrins pr 0 2 0 0
Knebl lf 2 0 0 0 Rubasky p 3 0 0 0
Cartwright c 1 0 0 0 Briggs pr 0 0 0 0
Benjamin rf 2 1 2 0
Totals 23 1 3 0 Totals 27 5 9 5
Dunmore 000 000 1 — 1
Nanticoke 000 302 x — 5

2B – NAN, Gola 2.
Ross (L) 6.0 9 5 5 4 7
Rubasky (W) 7.0 3 1 0 1 1

At Nanticoke, Brooke Chapin was the winning pitcher, striking out five and allowing just one hit over three innings as the Trojanettes coasted in a first-round win.
Citizens Voice

Chapin also helped her cause with two doubles and four RBIs. Ali Matulewski had a triple for the Trojanettes, while Lindsay Roberts and Kara Voyton each had a double and Gabby Grabowski added a pair of singles.
Nanticoke, the No. 3 seed, will host the winner of the Mid Valley/Dunmore game at K.M. Smith field, Robert St. in Sheatown, Pa. on Wednesday May 23, 2012 at 3:30pm....note the time change.
GAR 000 00 - 0
Nanticoke Area 834 00 - 15
WP: Brooke Chapin 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5SO. LP: Nicole Krzywicki 3IP, 11H, 15R, 12ER, 4BB, 1SO
2B: Brooke Chapin (N) 2, Lindsay Roberts (N), Kara Voyton (N). 3B: Ali Matulewski (N).

Trojanettes claim division crown
Sam Matta - Citizens Voice

The first inning of Sunday's WVC softball playoff game between Hazleton Area and Nanticoke Area told the whole story.
The Trojanettes overcame a defensive lapse in the top half of the inning and scored the only run they would really need in the bottom of the inning.
Nanticoke Area added another run in the fifth in a 2-0 victory over the Cougars to capture the Division I East championship at Coal Street Park.
Nanticoke Area turned an easy ground ball by Hazleton Area's Lexi Wolk into a two-base throwing error in the top of the first inning.
And when Wolk reached third on a sacrifice bunt from Abby Sachse, the pressure didn't seem to faze eventual winning pitcher Hannah Rubasky. She knew her defense would come up big.
Rubasky and her teammates avoided trouble when Wolk was tossed out at the plate on a grounder hit to shortstop Sammy Gow, who had a terrific defensive game. Rubasky then got Shannon Salvaterra to ground out to short to end the threat.
That set the tempo, especially when Nanticoke Area scored in its half the inning.
"My defense behind me was so good, I can't say enough about them," said Rubasky, who allowed just two hits.
Rubasky said she had a chip on her shoulder after losing to the Cougars in the second meeting between the two teams. Nanticoke Area won the first meeting.
"I guess you can say I had a bone to pick," Rubasky said. "I was determined to do my best. After they beat us the last time, we came in really focused."
Nanticoke Area's sharp defense made several big plays throughout the game.
"When these kids came to us a freshman we stressed defense to them, and it showed every single year," said Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams. "You know (Hazleton Area coach ) Vince Trivelpiece has done such a great job with his team. They're a very young team, they've gotten better each game, and they played a heck of a game against us."
Nanticoke Area pushed across the first run when Maggie Gola doubled to plate Katie Kowalski. Then, in the fifth, Nanticoke Area made it 2-0 when Lindsay Roberts tripled to score Katie Schinski.
Wolk broke up Rubasky's no-hit bid with a single in the third.
Nanticoke Area opens play today, May 21, 2012in the District 2 Class AA tournament. The Trojanettes (14-2) host GAR at 4:30.
Hazleton Area hosts Scranton at 4:30 Thursday in the opening round of the District 2 Class AAAA tournament.
Hazleton Area 000 000 0-0
Nanticoke Area 100 010 x-2
Hazleton Area IP H R ER BB SO
Demko, LP 6 8 2 2 1 5
Nanticoke Area IP H R ER BB SO
Rubasky, WP 7 2 0 0 0 4

Nanticoke four times a champ
Nanticoke tops Hazleton for D-I East crown

John Medeiros - Times Leader

It was just 10 days ago that Hazleton Area limited Nanticoke to four hits in a shutout win by the Cougars.
Sunday, in a playoff for the WVC Division I East championship, Nanticoke had four hits in the first two innings of what became a 2-0 victory over Hazleton Area in front of about 300 people at Coal Street Park.
“Since they beat us 7-0, we wanted another chance against them,” Nanticoke senior Lindsay Roberts said. “That game was the first time we lost to Hazleton in our whole career. We didn’t want it to happen again.”
While both teams already knew their District 2 playoff fortunes, the division crown was especially meaningful to the Trojanettes.
“It’s very cool. It’s special to win the division all four years,” senior Maggie Gola said.
Hannah Rubasky, fresh off a one-hitter against Crestwood on Saturday, allowed just two hits to the Cougars on Sunday – both by Lexi Wolk. Nanticoke played another flawless game defensively behind Rubasky, taking opportunities away from Hazleton Area.
“She cost us the game, that shortstop,” Hazleton Area coach Vince Trivelpiece said of Nanticoke’s Sammy Gow. “Hannah pitched a great game and Sammy made every play.”
Gow was part of an out in each inning, finishing with seven assists and two put outs.
Meanwhile, the Trojanettes’ bats were locked in against Becky Demko, who threw a no-hitter Friday against Crestwood. Gola gave Rubasky all the support she would need after Kate Kowalski reached on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the first.
With one strike on her and two outs, Gola ripped the next offering down the left-field line for a double, plating Kowalski.
“She threw me a change-up. I hate change-ups,” Gola said, smiling. “I was expecting an outside high one.
“I knew I was going two. I knew the run is going to score, so I’m going to take advantage of it. You’ve always got to be aggressive out there.”
“We’ve got charts on each other,” Trivelpiece said. “Gola hasn’t hit a change-up against us … ever. And she really got that one.”
The Trojanettes loaded the bases in the second and fourth innings, but Demko escaped unharmed each time. In a close game, those opportunities looked as if they could come back to haunt Nanticoke.
“Bases loaded, one out and Demko gets a strike out and a fly out,” Trivelpiece said. “She really made them earn it.”
The Trojanettes did, doubling their lead.
With two outs in the fifth, Kaylee Schinski hit a two-strike single to center. Lindsay Roberts launched the next pitch into right-center field for a triple to give Nanticoke a 2-0 lead.
“My other two at bats she threw me the same thing,” Roberts said. “When I saw it, I knew I had it.”
And Roberts shot it into a gap between the outfielder, who were shading her to pull.
That was all the support Rubasky would need. The senior twice retired eight in a row, and threw 60 of her 77 pitches (78 percent) for strikes.
“She was awesome. She was on today,” Roberts said of Rubasky. “She was really focused, and our defense was really good agains today.”
“She hit her spots and she knows we have her back no matter what,” Gola said.

Both teams advance to the District 2 tournament. Nanticoke hosts GAR today in Class 2A, while Hazleton Area hosts Scranton in Class 4A on Thursday.
Nanticoke 2, Hazleton Area 0
Hazleton Area Nanticoke
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Wolk cf 3 0 2 0 Gow ss 3 0 0 0
Sachse 2b 2 0 0 0 Hillan cf 2 0 0 0
Trivelpiece 2b 3 0 0 0 Kowalski lf 3 1 0 0
Salvaterra 1b 3 0 0 0 Gola 3b 3 0 1 1
Demko p 3 0 0 0 Schinski 2b 3 1 1 0
JRossi c 2 0 0 0 Roberts 1b 3 0 2 1
Donlin rf 2 0 0 0 Wolfe c 2 0 1 0
CRossi dp 2 0 0 0 Perrins pr 0 0 0 0
Kendall lf 2 0 0 0 Rubasky p 2 0 1 0
Browdy ss 0 0 0 0 Briggs pr 0 0 0 0
Matlwski ph 1 0 0 0
Benjamin rf 3 0 2 0
Totals 22 0 2 0 Totals 25 2 8 2

Hazleton Area 000 000 0 — 0
Nanticoke 100 010 x — 2

2B – NAN, Gola. 3B – NAN, Roberts.

Hazleton Area
Demko (L) 6.0 8 2 2 1 5
Rubasky (W) 7.0 2 0 0 0 4

Trojanettes seek one more run at crown
Paul Sokoloski Opinion - Times Leader

They walked into Nanticoke’s softball lineup as sophomores two years ago, and didn’t stop winning until they were parading around town celebrating a state championship.
Maggie Gola and Katie Kowalski figured it was going to go on like that forever.
And why not?
They were just two of the 13 sophomores who helped the Trojanettes capture the 2010 PIAA Class 2A title, meaning Nanticoke expected to be collecting gold medals for years to come.
“I look back on it, we were sophomores and we did it,” said Gola, whose two-run double in the 11th inning lifted the Trojans to that 3-1 state championship victory over Phillipsburg-Osceola two years ago. “We had key positions that were sophomores.”
Suddenly, they are all seniors now, and still looking for that second state title.
“We hope we can do it again this year,” Kowalski said.
They are off to a good start.
The Trojanettes went to 4-0 on the season Wednesday by pummeling Pittston Area in a mercy-rule, 20-5 victory. Kowalski blasted a long, run-scoring triple and Gola added a three-run double in a 10-run second inning that put Nanticoke ahead 15-0 and put the team’s starters on the bench for the day.
“All the seniors coming back, we really want to try this year,” Gola said. “We’re out for blood.”
Especially after the way last year ended in tears.
The Trojanettes thought they were invincible and played like it, 10-running team after team while stacking up a 20-0 record. Then they lost the District 2 final to Elk Lake 2-1.
They never made it back to states.
“We might have come in a little over-confident,” Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said.
It is why the Trojanettes are taking nothing for granted now.
They don’t have Sarah Bertoni anymore, their power pitcher from that state title team, and their sparkplug catcher Amanda Cardone and talented shortstop Jenn Harnischfeger both graduated following that 2010 state final.
But the rest of the team looks pretty much the same, starting with spunky leadoff hitter Sammy Gow.
“Our defense and our offense have been the same from year to year,” Williams said. “If I say our pitching has dropped off, it’s just a little.”
This year’s Trojanettes feature Hannah Rubasky, Wednesday’s winner, and Brooke Chapin – “Elite pitchers,” Williams called them – in the circle.
But the Trojanettes are circling the day when they can form another motorcade around town.“We’d like to end our career with a state championship,” Kowalski said. “It’d be nice.”
But you can’t win it all in April.
That’s the message Williams tries to get across when he maps out his strategy for each year.
“We break our season into threes,” Williams said. “The (regular) schedule is the first round. Then we focus on the playoffs. Then we’ll think about the state tournament.”Still, the thought is sitting somewhere in the back of his mind, especially with how strong the Trojanettes look at season’s start.
“Definitely,” Williams relented. “That’s why we have high expectations. These are the majority of our starters from 2010.”
And they have one last chance to recapture the magic that disappeared last year.

Trojan Softball capsule
Times Leader

Coach: Gary Williams, 22nd season
2011 Record: 15-0 WVC; 20-1 overall; Lost in D2-2A final

Home Field: K.M. Smith Elementary
Key Players Lost: P Sarah Bertoni

Key Players Returning: RF Kayla Benjamin; P/1B Brooke Chapin; 3B Maggie Gola; SS Sammy Gow; IF Gabby Graboski; CF Ange Hillan; C Ashley Horoschock; LF Kate Kowalski; IF Ali Matulewski; OF Brodwin Perrins; 1B Lindsay Roberts; P/3B Hannah Rubasky; 2B Kayley Schinski; C Katie Wolfe

Battery: Hannah Rubasky, Brooke Chapin and Katie Wolfe, Ashley Horoschock

Coach’s Outlook: We have 13 seniors on the roster this season. We’ve always got high hopes here, but this feels like 2002, 2003, 2004. That group won a state title (in 2003) and there were eight seniors on that team. This is a tight-knit group like that, and very talented. Any kid who isn’t a starter on this team could probably be a starter somewhere else. Those two groups, the 2002-04 teams and this one, are very special. That’s why I’ve stayed here 22 years.