2019 Central Dauphin wins PIAA title

With local High School sports canceled we are taking a look back at some of the great highlights from 2019:

Here are the highlights from the 2019 Central Dauphin Class PIAA 6A softball title game held at Penn State.

Nothing could stop Central Dauphin from winning its first PIAA softball title.

Not the wind, rain nor lightning could stop them.

A three-hour weather delay couldn’t stop them. Actually, a pair of three-hour weather delays.

And a skilled Hazleton team couldn’t stop them as Central Dauphin held on to claim the PIAA Class 6A softball championship with Thursday’s 3-1 victory at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Softball Park.

District 3 champion Central Dauphin (25-2), playing in its first PIAA softball championship game, sent head coach Ken Williams out a champion as Williams had previously announced that he would be retiring after this season.

Central Dauphin’s two seniors, Samantha Gress and Tyler White, made key contributions to help the Rams best District 2 champion Hazleton (23-2), which was making its second state title game appearance.

The game, originally scheduled for 11 a.m., was moved to 2 p.m. due to inclement weather. The game was stopped around 4 p.m. for a second weather delay when Hazleton, trailing 3-1, had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

When play resumed around 7:15 p.m., Hazleton’s Julia Mrochko pounded a comebacker right to Gress who flipped the ball to first baseman Nicole Sellers for the final out.

STARS:

Gress was stellar in the circle, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts in seven innings. She carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Gress went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. White went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Mrochko was 1-for-4 with a run scored.

GAME-DECIDING MOMENTS:

The Rams took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as White plated Bella Culp with a sacrifice fly.

Central Dauphin tacked on two more runs in the top of the third as Hazleton pitcher Aleah Kost struggled early. She allowed three runs on five hits with five walks and six strikeouts in defeat.

Gress was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, and White followed with an RBI double to deep center field. Jillian Kendra drove in White with a two-out double to push the Rams ahead 3-0.

Hazleton snapped Gress’ shutout in the bottom of the sixth as Mrochko scored from third on a passed ball by catcher Hailee Beaver-Beaston with Olivia Wolk at the plate. Mrochko, the second batter of the inning, reached on a single for Hazleton’s first hit of the game.