There were no tears in the eyes of Eastern York softball coach Brad Rohrbaugh after his team’s season ended and he consoled his heartbroken players in the dugout.
Instead, Rohrbaugh chose to smile and reflect on the Golden Knights’ successful season, despite losing, 3-0, to Honesdale in the first round of the PIAA Class 4-A playoffs on Monday at York College.
“I’m not sad,” Rohrbaugh said after the loss. “Yes, I am a little hurt about (the loss), but you know what, it just didn’t go our way today. I have got to build on the accomplishments of this team. And it was a lot, they did a lot.”
One of those accomplishments was winning the District 3 Class 4-A title on Friday, May 31. The victory gave the Golden Knights the first District 3 softball championship in school history, but it also created a challenge for Rohrbaugh and his staff.
“You come back from a win like we had Friday, it’s tough to get (the players) refocused and ready to roll,” Rohrbaugh said. “Tonight, our bats were silent. You can’t win games with one hit.”
Honesdale takes lead: With the game tied, 0-0, in the top of the fifth, District 2 runner-up Honesdale was threatening with runners on second and third with no outs, after an error put the runners in scoring position.
Eastern York pitcher MaeLynn Leber, coming off consecutive shutouts, retired the next two batters with a throw home on a ground ball and a strikeout.
Leber, however, wasn’t able to work her way out of another jam. Honesdale infielder Rachel Daub delivered a two-run double to put the Hornets up, 2-0.
“Maelynn threw one of the best games she has thrown this year,” Rohrbaugh said. “She kept us in that game. I am extremely proud of her effort”
Eastern offense stifled: Rohrbaugh and his coaching staff tried to motivate the Golden Knights (14-8) after the Hornets got on the board, but their offense couldn’t come up with the clutch hitting it had in its previous two games.
“We got after them and told them, ‘This is only two runs, let’s get our bats going,’” Rohrbaugh said. “Saying it and having it happen are two different things.”
Leber had a chance to help herself out and drive in a run in the bottom half of the fifth. With runners on the corners, Leber popped up a ball into foul territory that was chased down by Honesdale infielder Alexa Jones to end Eastern York’s two-out rally.
The Hornets added another run in the top of the seventh after a hard-hit ball rolled to the warning track. The run eventually scored when a sacrifice fly by Honesdale infielder Brooke Gardas pushed the advantage to 3-0.
Freshman pitcher dominant for Honesdale: Honesdale freshman pitcher Marissa Gregory was dominant from start to finish. She struck out two batters, allowed one hit and walked four hitters. Eastern York infielder Kelsey Felix had the only hit with a single in the second inning.
Gregory finished off Eastern York in the bottom of the seventh to complete the victory.
After the game, Rohrbaugh continued to sing the praises of Leber, who led Eastern York to the district title and state playoff berth in her junior season.
"I can’t say enough about her performances this year and I am looking forward to what she is going to do next year,” Rohrbaugh said.
Praise for his seniors: As for the seniors, Rohrbaugh couldn’t adequately express enough how much coaching this group meant to him and how important they all are, and will continue to be, in his life.
"It was such a privilege to have worked with this group of seniors,” Rohrbaugh said. “I am extremely proud of what they accomplished.”
Rohrbaugh said he wasn’t sure if any of the seniors will continue their softball careers in college, but said there could be a chance this wasn’t the final game for all of them.
As the sun set on Spartan Softball Stadium and on the Golden Knights' season, Rohrbaugh said this will be one of the teams and seasons he will always remember.
“My hat is off to those 13 girls because of the season we had,” Rohrbaugh said. “We put a district championship in the (trophy) case at the school. They won their division (York-Adams Division II). They achieved a lot and I am extremely proud of what they accomplished. I have the memories and they will be there forever and a day.”
OTHER PIAA SOFTBALL
Delone Catholic 15, Neumann-Goretti 2 (6 innings): At Arcadia University in Glenside, the York-Adams League champion Squirettes had no trouble claiming a six-inning, mercy-rule victory in their PIAA Class 3-A first-round contest.
Delone's Maggie Rickrode pitched a complete-game four-hitter, striking out 15 without a walk. She also had two doubles and two RBIs. Lauren Little (two triples, four RBIs, two runs), Meredith Wilson (three hits, triple, two RBIs, two runs) and Emma Schneider (two hits, two runs) also excelled for Delone.
District 3 runner-up Delone improved to 20-4. District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti finished at 3-10.
Delone will next take on District 4 champion Bloomsburg (16-8) on Thursday at a site and time to be determined. Bloomsburg earned a 2-1 victory over District 2 champion Mid-Valley on Tuesday.
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.