Good luck to the Girls tonight. Check out a preview of the action courtesy of the Trib HSSN here:
How did Penn-Trafford prepare for its first trip to the PIAA finals? By playing a competitive 5-on-5 wiffleball game.
The Warriors (22-2) are scheduled to battle returning PIAA Class 5A champion Lampeter-Strasburg at 4 p.m. on Friday at Penn State’s Beard Field. That could change because of Thursday’s rain.
“I asked the girls what they wanted to do, and Bailey Perrin said wiffleball,” Penn-Trafford coach Denny Little said. “We did some hitting in the cages and then the pitchers did some throwing, then we let them have fun. The seniors have never lost a game.
“These games are competitive because they hate to lose. They’re a loose bunch.”
Penn-Trafford faces Lampeter-Strasburg (28-1), a team that has outscored opponents 382-89. The Pioneers have reached double digits in 19 of 29 games.
Little isn’t fazed by their gaudy offensive numbers because he feels his team can be just as productive.
“They score a lot of runs, they have a lot left-handed batters and their pitcher is pretty good,” Little said. “She throws around 60, similar to Connellsville’s Mia Burd.
“They’re a lot like us. Basically, we can’t worry what they do. We just have to worry about doing our jobs. We’ve faced a lot of good pitchers this season.”
Lampeter-Strasburg junior outfielder Summer Peters is batting .556 with 50 hits, four doubles, three triples, five home runs and 41 RBIs. Sophomore shortstop Chloe Blantz is hitting .469 with 39 runs, 46 hits, nine doubles, five triples and 38 RBIs.
Senior pitcher Brynne Baker is 23-1 with an ERA of 2.92. She carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against West Chester East and has allowed 168 hits in 1482⁄3 innings. She has struck out 111 and walked 26.
“They’re pretty good,” Little said. “We played them last summer with my underclassmen, so we’re a little familiar with them.
“We have a lot of players who have stepped it up for us this season. If someone has an off-game, someone else picks them up. We’ve done that all season.”
Penn-Trafford can hit. The Warriors sent shockwaves through Penn State on June 3 when they thumped Central Mountain. They clubbed West Allegheny with the long ball.
Brooke Cleland hit two home runs against West Allegheny, giving her nine for the season. Emma Armstrong has seven home runs and Emma Little four.
Cleland also has 39 hits and a .494 batting average, and Armstrong is hitting .427.
Even though this is Penn-Trafford’s first trip to the finals, Little said opening the state playoffs at Beard Field was a positive.
“We know what it is like. We’ll be familiar with the field and how they run things,” Little said. “The players are excited about the game.”