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Trojans' girls are cut down at pass by Shaler, 3-2

June 19, 2004|By DAN KAUFFMAN

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - It was one of those games Chambersburg softball coach Harvey Staver and the Trojans' players and fans will look back on and think, what if?

The importance of the game - the PIAA Class AAA state final - will only make those thoughts linger longer.

Shaler took advantage of several Chambersburg mistakes and some fortunate bounces as the Titans cut down three Trojans runners at the plate to pull out of Shippensburg University's Robb Field with a 3-2 victory and the championship.

Chambersburg (25-4) was washed away in its quest for a third state title - the first since 1997 - , seeking its third state title and first since 1997, in a sea of could haves, would haves and should haves.

"We're disappointed, no doubt about it," Staver said. "We made some mistakes today, but I'm proud of these kids."

Becky Brensinger led off the game with a single to center and took second on a groundout. With two outs, Shaler shortstop Julie Stampfle dropped Lindsay Trittle's pop-up.

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Brensinger failed to run on contact, allowing center fielder Nataly Valeriano back up the play and force Brensinger at third to end the threat.

"She thought there was one out," Staver said. "She could have scored."

Shaler (17-5) capitalized on its break in the bottom half. Lis Sorce led off with an infield single, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on Valeriano's bloop single.

Ashley Sconga followed by poping a bunt just over Chambersburg starter Rachelle Everhart's head for an infield single. After the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt, Everhart's wild pitch scored Valeriano.

The Titans added a run in the second. With one out, Niki DeRenzo singled and took third on an infield error off Stampfle's bunt. Sorce followed with a bunt to the first-base side to score DeRenzo while reaching safely when nobody covered first.

"We didn't get the breaks early in the game. They had a couple bloops, a couple bunts where we were out of position, and those are the breaks," Staver said.

Shaler starter Angela Mastrean kept Chambersburg off the board until the fifth. Brensinger led off with an infield single, Melissa Swartz singled and Hinton reached on a fielder's choice as Brensinger beat the throw to third. With one out, Tritle singled to right-center, scoring Brensinger and Swartz with Hinton and Tritle alertly taking extra bases.

The tying run, however, would stay out of the Trojans' grasp.

First, Everhart hit a grounder back to Mastrean, who threw home to get Hinton for the second out, while Tritle took third.

Then, after the first pitch to Smith, Tritle tried to steal home on the throw back to Mastrean, but came up short.

"She went on her own," Staver said. "We had one big inning, but we couldn't get the tying run in. If we had, I think you'd have seen a different outcome."

In the sixth, Smith led off with a bloop single and took second and third on two groundouts. The first pitch to Brensinger got past catcher Megan Lynch and rolled several feet away. Smith tried to score, and appeared to be interfered with by third baseman Jen Popinski as Lynch retrieved the ball and tossed it to Mastrean, who tagged out Smith at the plate.

"I didn't notice the interference," Staver said. "I must have been looking at the ball or something."

Brensinger got things started again for the Trojans in the seventh with a single to center and took second on Melissa Swartz's scarifice.

Hinton was retired on a foul popup that Popinski caught while crashing into the fence for the second out.

Mastrean walked Emily Swartz on four pitches before getting Tritle to hit a soft liner to Stampfle to end the game.

"We've got a young team, and a lot of them are coming back, and you know what their desire's going to be, don't you," Staver said.

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