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High School Softball - Schuylkill League Champonship
Williams Valley 5, Pottsville 3
Vikes reach another milestone

ORWIGSBURG • If you traveled through Tower City after the May 17 game, you may have thought there was a fire erupting – sirens could be heard for miles.

The “fire” turned out to be a joyous celebration of the Lady Vikings, who once again etched their softball team into the record books of Williams Valley Junior-Senior High School. 

Last year Tri-Valley and Williams Valley slugged it in the semis before the Lady ’Dawgs defeated Pine Grove, 3-2, to earn the title. This year, Williams Valley beat out AAAA Pottsville, 5-3, in extra innings to earn the league title. 

For Cassidy Pinchorski, it was a great gift to give to their longtime head coach, Lee Reiser. 

“It was the best feeling ever. The crowd we had was unbelievable. It felt like another state championship. It was Coach Reiser’s birthday and it was a great win and a great present. We wanted to do something our school had never done – it was our goal and it felt awesome to accomplish it,” the senior said.

“These are great kids,” Reiser said. “They have been setting milestone after milestone and they wanted this one for the school.” 

Reiser said not only is he proud of the girls for their athletic abilities, he also is proud of their work ethic. 

“When it was raining on Friday, we were all sitting around in the dugout waiting to see if we would play.  I looked around and the girls were all studying for their finals.”

Taking one step at a time, seniors Pinchorski and Kylie Doyle led the way with clutch hits down the stretch when the game was knotted at 3-3.

The ’Vikes had to slug this one out against a good quality team that wanted to win this game just as badly. 

Things initially looked promising when Pinchorski singled. Tianna Yanoscak ripped an RBI single to right-center to give the Vikings the lead, which remained until the bottom of the third, when Rayanne Hawk and Doyle hit back-to-back doubles. With one out Katie Whelski threaded an RBI single to left field and just like that the Vikings led 3-0. 

Pottsville rallied right back. A couple of hits and stolen bases mixed with a Viking error at third allowed the Tide to make it 3-3 by the bottom of the third.

It took an extra inning for the Vikings to shake loose with a couple of crowd pleasing hits to quiet the Tide. Doyle started the top of the eighth with a scalding hit past third base for a leadoff single. Pinchorski then lined a deep gapper to left that rolled to the fence, sliding home to the delight of the Viking fans for a 5-3 lead. 

Pottsville, last at bat, got a runner to second base with two outs, but Pinchorski made the last out of the inning on a routine play to secure the championship. 

“I definitely think the key to the win was our defense,” Hannah Nestor said. “Cassidy pitched a great game and we got out of a few jams with our defensive plays. We play in a tough league and it just feels awesome to win this championship, especially in such a good game.”

Her sister Haley agreed that Pottsville has a solid team. “The key to our victory was our ability to keep our heads in the game and the intensity up towards the end when things got close.”

Even though they’ve been to states, this is the team’s first Schuylkill League championship.

“It feels great to win the League championship because no Viking team ever did it before,” Maura Kreiser said.

“This was one of the toughest games we were in. I hope we can continue to play like this and keep the season going,” she added.

Rayanne Hawk agreed that it definitely was a team victory: “Everybody contributed to winning. We’ve been working so hard – to accomplish another victory like this is amazing.  I know we made Coach Reiser’s birthday a memorable one!” 

LEAGUE SEMIFINAL: Williams Valley 8, North Schuylkill 2, May 13. It took Williams Valley some warming up after three innings of a hitting drought – the Vikings were held to just one hit and didn’t score during that entire stretch. 

Meanwhile, the Division 1 wildcard Lady Spartans had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. The Spartans also threatened in the next inning, with runners on second and third. A spectacular heads-up defensive play by Kreiser picked off the lead runner at third to end the threat. 

Things started to heat up in the fourth with Hawk’s leadoff single. She advancing to third on a passed ball and a throwing error. Pinchorski doubled to plate Hawk and tie the contest at 1-1. Yanoscak walked. With two runners on base, Kreiser ripped a triple to make it 3-1.

North Schuylkill got a run back in the top of the fifth, but the ’Vikes plated three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Hawk, who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI, doubled. 

“Once one of us hit, we all started hitting. It got us going and we didn’t stop,” said Kreiser, who also picked off a courtesy runner at first base in the top of the fifth. Pinchorski singled at the bottom of the inning and Whelski doubled to score Hawk. Caitlyn Pinchorski was the pinch runner for her sister and scored on a Yanoscak RBI single.

In the bottom of the sixth, Hawk and Hannah Nestor earned doubles, each scoring a run to secure the victory. 

Pinchorski was the winning pitcher, striking out nine batters and giving up just two hits.

Tri-Valley 14, Lourdes 2, May 13. With a solid pitching performance, Taryn Wilson also proved to be the offensive spark, going 4-for-4 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. On the mound, she allowed just three hits while striking out 10 batters.

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