SLIPPERY ROCK — Whether it’s baseball or softball.
From Little League ... through the scholastic and collegiate ranks ... up to the professional and Olympics levels.
There’s one absolute.
Makennah Dyke delivered a complete-game, 4-hitter Thursday afternoon, leading Bald Eagle Area High girls softball team to a 4-1 win over Wilmington in the PIAA Class AA Quarterfinals.
“’Kennah Dyke’s tough!” gushed 1st-year BEA Head Coach Curt Heverly.
At Slippery Rock University, Dyke dealt an 88-pitch gem that included 64 strikes. The senior right-hander struck out 6, walked 1, retired the first 10 hitters she faced, then 11 of the last 13.
Dyke weathered Wilmington’s best — and ultimately, lone — scoring opportunity in the 4th frame.
Cassidy Marett and Lexi Donati drilled back-to-back, 1-out base hits. Clean-up hitter Courtney Cohen coerced a grounder through the middle that glanced off the glove of BEA shortstop Haley Giedroc for an RBI-single.
However Dyke did not fold, retiring Alanna Elliott on a pop-up and mound counterpart Kayleigh Shenker on an inning-ending fielder’s choice grounder.
“How many hits did (Dyke) give up, three or four?” Heverly rhetorically asked. “It doesn’t matter. One run the last game, one run this game. She’s not overpowering, but the seventh inning, she’s toughern’ nails. Unbelievable!” Heverly praised.
BEA (21-4) was aggressive offensively, tallying twice in the 1st frame.
’Kennah Dyke drew a 1-out walk, advanced on Shenker’s wild pitch, then scored on Mikala Smith’s RBI-double. Logan Fischer flared an RBI-single for the Eagles’ 2-0 edge.
In the 3rd MaKenzie Proctor produced a leadoff single, was sacrificed into scoring position by Moreta Dyke, then scored on Morgan Nyman’s double.
Back-to-back leadoff singles from Olivia Andrews and Proctor, Moreta Dyke’s second sac, and Andrews’ heads-up baserunning — scoring from 2nd base on an ill-fated pickoff attempt — afforded BEA an insurance run.
“We call it getting to ‘Championship Sunday,’ which is this Sunday, ’cause we knew there weren’t anymore Sundays,” Heverly related. “We wanted to be on the field for the last Sunday, and we made it. We’re just so happy!”
The setback short-circuited a splendid season for the Lady Greyhounds (17-4), who garnered the District 10 title, but were out-hit 12-4 by Bald Eagle Area.
“We didn’t hit the ball at all (Thurs)day,” lamented 2nd-year Lady Hounds’ Head Coach Tom Reed.
Shenker, a senior righty, tossed 114 pitches (77 strikes), including a 32-pitch 1st-frame. She fanned 4 and walked 1. She actually tossed a 3-pitch 3rd inning, retiring Smith, Marissa Tobias and Fischer on a pair of pop-ups and a liner to 1st baseman Ashley Houk.
“Shenker was a little ragged the first couple innings, she wasn’t hittin’ spots, puttin’ the ball over the middle of the plate, and paid for it,” Reed assessed, later praising, “But Shenker stepped up this year, replacing Abby Sotter.”
Marett, Shenker, Elliott, Houk, Cohen, Linzy Borowicz, Rogel and Jessica Schlumberger are seniors.
“Outstanding season! Seniors, I’m gonna miss ’em all. I wish ’em the best of luck, every one of ’em, one through eight. Phenomenal!” Reed praised.
Elliott (Slippery Rock), Cohen (Westmister) and Rogel and Marett (Edinboro) are hoping to play at the next level, Reed noted.
Reminding Reed many of his coaching counterparts would readily have traded places with him and his team’s season, he acknowledged, “Oh, sure, sure! But it hurts right now.”
PIAA CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS
BALD EAGLE 200 001 0 — 4-12-0
WILMINGTON 000 100 0 — 1-4-0
BALD EAGLE AREA — Giedroc, SS, 4-0-1-0; Makennah Dyke, P, 2-1-0-0; Dillon, PR, 0-0-0-0; Smith, 2B, 4-0-1-1; Tobias, 3B, 4-0-2-0; Fischer, RF, 4-0-1-1; Andrews, LF, 4-1-1-0; Proctor, DP, 3-1-2-0; Woodward, PR, 0-0-0-0; Moreta Dyke, 1B, 1-0-1-1; Nyman, C, 3-0-2-1; Peters, RF/PH, 1-0-1-0. Totals: 30-4-12-1.
WILMINGTON — Rogel, 2B, 3-0-0-0; Marett, CF, 2-1-1-0; Donati, 3B, 3-0-1-0; Cohen, C, 3-0-1-1; Barnhard, PR, 0-0-0-0; Elliott, SS, 3-0-0-0; Shenker, P, 3-0-0-0; Boyer, LF, 3-0-1-0; Borowicz, RF, 3-0-0-0; Houk, 1B, 2-0-0-0. Totals: 25-1-4-1.