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CR South, Wood, Faith two wins away from state titles


The final four went three of four in reaching the Final Four.

Three of the four remaining area softball and baseball teams won their Thursday PIAA quarterfinal, earning them berths to the state semifinals on Monday.

Boyertown hosted a Class 6A softball quarterfinal doubleheader. In game one, SOL Patriot champion Council Rock South (22-3) battled District Three Warwick. For the second time in as many rounds, the Golden Hawks flew away with a 1-0 victory. Pitcher Lexi Waring fanned 14 in the two-hit shutout.

“For two games in a row, she has been so, so good,” commended South head coach Scott Molle. “She has been dialed in at the right time.”

Speedster Helen Woloshyn led off the first with a bunt, stole second, advanced on a fielder’s choice and scored on catcher Grace Stepp’s sacrifice fly. The run held.

Molle acknowledged that Warwick catcher, Division I commit Bella Smithson, had one of the best throwing arms South had seen all year. “We held Helen off a little bit and in the fifth pitch of the at-bat, I had her steal, just so they thought she wouldn’t go,” Molle shared. “It worked.”

“In the district tournament, we hit well but when you get into the state tournament, you face some really, really good teams and pitching,” Molle continued. “We manufactured runs our last two games.”

Warwick hit a leadoff triple in the middle of the game. “You could see Grace was paying attention to the runner and the runner wasn’t paying too much attention to Grace,” Molle noticed. “The pitch came inside, it was a strikeout and Grace threw down to third for her sixth pickoff the year.”

Waring was one of only four underclassmen named to the SOL Patriot first team and it is easy to see why. In South’s last four games – all deep in playoffs –Waring has struck out 42 while she and the Golden Hawks defense have yielded just three runs, two unearned.

Waring scuffled somewhat late in regular season. After a throwing motion tweak, “playoffs started and she was good,” Molle said. “The last four games, she has been dominant. We’ve been riding that.”

This is CR South’s first-ever appearance in states. A big motivation on Thursday for this tight Golden Hawks team was playing for senior third baseman Avery Tumolo, scheduled to return on Monday after a two-week absence. South takes on Friday’s Downingtown West-Downingtown East winner in the semifinals.

“As we got into winter workouts, you saw their drive, determination and work ethic,” Molle remembered. “These guys play together. They win as a team and lose as a team. They don’t have give-up in them and it’s special to see because you don’t see it often.”

In the nightcap, SOL Liberty champion and District One finalist Quakertown (23-3) had its season end to District Three champion Central Dauphin 11-1. Central Dauphin plays North Penn in Monday’s semifinal.

In Class 4A softball, Archbishop Wood (13-7) outlasted District Nine champion St. Marys 5-4 in 10 innings at Central Columbia High School. UMBC-signee Parker Krause walked off the game with a run-scoring double. Allie Higdon’s RBI double tied it at 4 after St. Marys pushed across a top of the 10th run.

St. Marys tacked on a run in the eighth; Maura Yoos countered with a triple and scored on Higdon’s ground out to knot it at 3.

Krause and Yoos, both first team all-PCL picks, are hitting .500 on the year.

This is believed to be Wood’s first time in the PIAA semifinals. The Vikings play District Seven champion Elizabeth Forward in Monday’s semifinals.

In Class A baseball, Faith Christian (21-0) advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 2018. After topping Nativity BVM 1-0 in Monday’s opening round, the Lions had a much easier time in the quarterfinals, whipping District Two champion MMI Prep 11-0 in six innings.

First baseman Grayson Weikel had a monster day, falling a triple short of hitting for the cycle while driving in five. Catcher Kendri Beltre had three hits and two RBIs while left fielder Jagger Verbit and third baseman Chase Gieser each added a pair of hits and a run batted in. Junior Reid Miller threw a complete game, three-hit shutout while striking out nine Preppers.

Faith will play District Six champion Bishop McCort in Monday’s semifinals.

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