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Trojans travel new route to states

June 05, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Chambersburg softball coach Harvey Staver has his Trojans back where they usually are: In the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament.

The road to get there, however, was a little bumpier than usual.

With a starting lineup featuring seven juniors, many in their first year at the varsity level, Chambersburg (19-4) had to recover from Tuesday's shocking six-inning, 11-0 loss to Governor Mifflin in the District 3-AAAA semifinals - the first time the Trojans have lost by the 10-run rule in Staver's 23 years - to qualify for states with a 4-0 shutout of Carlisle on Thursday, getting the third and final District 3 spot.

"We're a really young team in some ways," Staver said following Thursday's victory. "We've made crucial mistakes at some times, but we're starting to get better. ... We're trying to get them to play with a little more savvy. We just lose our composure when things don't go their way."

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Chambersburg plays District 6 champion Hollidaysburg in the first round today at Hess Field in Boalsburg, Pa., just outside State College, at 2 p.m.

The Trojans have been led all season by junior pitcher Allee Rife and senior catcher Emily Swartz.

Rife's one-hit shutout of the Thundering Herd improved her record to 11-4. She posted a 1.13 ERA in 93 innings prior to the District 3 tournament, allowing 58 hits and 26 walks while striking out 105.

"It's been Rife the whole way in the playoffs, and probably will be unless something happens," said Staver, who can turn to Jill Monn if necessary. "As long as we support (Rife) defensively, we'll be OK."

Swartz led Chambersburg with a .420 average from her leadoff spot entering district play, having scored 26 runs, driven in 18 and stolen 10 bases. Rife hit .373 with 19 RBI from the cleanup spot. They anchor the lineup, with Tara Cole (.218), Jordan Sanders (.297) and Sam Napier (.350) rounding out the top five.

"Swartz and Rife have been our two big sticks," Staver said. "Jordan hits real fast pitching real well, and our other good stick has been Sam, which has been a surprise. I didn't know how good she could be. Cole is another speedster. ... Right there is a pretty good crew."

The Trojans came through when they had to in order to earn their place in the state tournament. Now they have to raise their level another notch.

"We have leadership (in Emily and Allee)," Staver said. "These other kids haven't been exposed to the type of competition we're seeing. Hopefully we can eliminate that now. I hope we've played enough games so that's not a problem."

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