Dallastown had a feeling of déjà vu after its District 3 Class 6-A semifinal on Tuesday.
After last year's campaign ended at the hands of Warwick, 11-6, in the district quarterfinals, the Wildcats couldn't get past the Warriors this season, either.
Last season, Amanda Herr, who now pitches for NCAA Division I St. Joseph's, eliminated Dallastown with a victory on the mound, while helping herself out with a home run at the plate. In this year's semifinal, it was a young pitcher who led top-seeded Warwick (18-3) to the District 3 final with a 4-1 victory over the Wildcats.
Warwick sophomore Katelyn Minney tossed seven innings and struck out seven batters while allowing one run on two hits. She improved to 10-3 and impressed her coach after she caught a line drive right back at the mound and didn't flinch.
"(Minney) is a lot like (Herr), she never gets rattled," Warwick coach Mark Hough said. "She just came in smiling, sat down and ate a Snickers bar."
Although her team battled a pitcher who was on her game, Dallastown coach Leanne Potts-Jones said the umpires were part of the problem for the Wildcats on Tuesday.
"The umpire took that game away from both teams," Potts-Jones said. "The umpires ruined that game."
After two runs scored on an error in the first inning, Dallastown senior Kelsie Merriman struck out a pair of batters before a single loaded the bases.
Merriman walked in two more runs with the bases loaded on pitches that she and Potts-Jones believed were strikes.
Following the fourth run, the Warwick lineup turned over and Merriman struck out Minney and closed the first inning with four walks and three strikeouts. Through her final five innings, Merriman didn't allow another run and scattered three hits while adding another three strikeouts.
"I've had her (on the team) for four years, I would lay my life down for her," Potts-Jones said of Merriman. "You put her back against the wall and she will knock it out of the park every time."
In the top of the second, Dallastown responded with its lone run on an RBI double by sophomore outfielder Ashton Crump, which scored senior infielder Brianna Rufo. Crump had both of Dallastown's hits. She added a fifth-inning single to go 2 for 3 at the plate.
Third-place game up next: Dallastown will now need to win in the 6-A third-place game to earn a bid to the state playoffs. The fifth-seeded Wildcats (15-7) will face third-seeded Chambersburg (16-6) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Hershey High School. Chambersburg lost its district semifinal to second-seeded Central Dauphin, 3-1.
Potts-Jones said her team, which needed a seventh inning walk-off home run to reach the semifinals, likes the pressure of needing to win.
"That's what they do, they prefer to be down," Potts-Jones said. "They will come out firing."
If facing the end of their season wasn't enough pressure, the Wildcats were dealt another blow. Potts-Jones said after the game that freshman outfielder Tessa Thompson will miss the remainder of the season with an injury. She added that the team will miss her bat in the lineup.
With four seniors on their roster, the Wildcats are not taking the chance to compete in the state playoffs lightly.
"Dallastown doesn't make it there often," Potts-Jones said. "These girls want to give the seniors one last trip to states and see how far we can go from there."
Kutztown 5, Delone Catholic 4: At Millersville, a seventh-inning rally by Delone fell just short in the District 3 Class 3-A title game.
Delone trailed in the game 5-1 entering the final frame before scoring three runs to account for the final score. Lauren Little had an RBI double to start the rally and two more runs scored on bases-loaded walks. Delone, however, couldn't plate the tying run.
The Squirettes had just two hits in the game, but did draw eight walks.
Delone's defense, meanwhile, committed nine errors, leading to four unearned runs. Maggie Rickrode pitched a complete game for the Squirettes allowing eight hits. She struck out seven without a walk.
Olivia Kardohely pitched a complete game for Kutztown.
Top-seeded Delone fell to 19-4. Third-seeded Kutztown improved to 19-5.
In the first round of the state playoffs on Monday, Delone will face the District 12 champion at a site and time to be determined.
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.