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Juniata clips Bucs, 1

Sep 25, 2023Sep 25, 2023

Jun 6, 2023

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSSJuniata's Savannah Marshall gets tagged out by Burrell's Braelyn Jones as Savannah slides into third base during a state playoff game, Monday.

By CJ Gill

Sports reporter

[email protected]

MIFFLINTOWN — For the first time in school history the Juniata softball program participated in the PIAA state playoffs on Monday afternoon. As District 6 champions, the Indians hosted District 7 third place Burrell in front of a large home crowd to kick off the Class 3A state tournament.

The Indians shut out the Bucs in a nail-biting opening round matchup. Elizabeth Gaisior struck out 18 Burrell hitters on her way to a complete game, one hit performance. This win marks the first time in school history the Juniata softball program has won a state playoff game.

"Yeah they’re a pretty calm group…sometimes it drives us a little crazy because we feel like they are too calm, but in games like this it's great," coach Erin Cressman said.

Katie Armstrong was just as dominant in the circle for Burrell. The senior ace struck out 11 Juniata batters while only giving up one run on four scattered hits.

"They have a very good pitcher and we have a very good pitcher and [Burrell] got to put the ball in play, and it comes down to making a couple plays behind our pitcher, which we didn't," coach Rick Nealor said.

Gaisior, Savannah Marshall, Shay Armstrong, and Mackenzie Lyter each had hits for the Indians. Juniata was also able to draw three walks in the outing, adding extra pressure on the base paths.

Pinch runner Kalynn Brown scored the first run for the Indians after Mackenzie Lyter started the bottom of the fifth inning with a triple into right field. Following a Riley Lyter strikeout, Brown was able to score on an error committed by Armstrong in the circle. The Indians bats looked to score more with the top of the order coming to bat, but were only able to plate one run in the inning.

"We did a good job getting on base, making things happen, putting the pressure on and getting a run in," Cressman noted.

The closely contested game ended in dramatic fashion. With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Pyper Ferres broke the no-hitter with a double into right-center field. Ferres advanced to third on a throwing error.

However, the first hit of the night for Burrell also closed the door on the Bucs as Ferres attempted to steal home as Gaisior walked back to the circle. Gaisior remained alert, throwing out Ferres and ended the game with a wild finish. Burrell was half a base path away from tying the game and extending its season.

"I’m just glad that [Gaisior] was paying attention and we were able to get her out," Cressman said on the final play.

Juniata moves on to play in the state quarterfinals on Thursday against District 7 champion, Avonworth. The time and location is still to be determined. Burrell finishes its season with an impressive 14-7 record.

Juniata 1, Burrell 0

Burrell -0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-1-2

Juniata -0-0-0-0-1-0-X-1-4-0

Juniata: WP: Elizabeth Gaisior, CG, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 18K

Burrell: LP: Katie Armstrong, 6IP, 4H, 1R, 3BB, 11K

Burrell (0): Jenna Morrison 0-2 BB, Bella Stewart 0-3, Katie Armstrong 0-2 BB, Braelyn Jones 0-3, Pyper Ferres 1-3, Sabrina Hoover 0-2, Christina Gural 0-2, Cassidy Novak 0-2, Reese Falgione 0-2.

Juniata (1): Regan Lowrey 0-3, Elizabeth Gaisior 1-3, Alexea Frontz 0-2 BB, Savannah Marshall 1-2 BB, Shay Armstrong 1-2 BB, Sophia Smith 0-3, Mackenzie Lyter 1-3, Riley Lyter 0-2, Cheyenne Kirk 0-2.

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