Get our newsletters

Williams’ walk-off hit propels Council Rock South to state finals


The stakes couldn’t have been any higher for Shannon Williams.

Williams, a junior on the Council Rock South softball team, was at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in a scoreless game. Courtesy runner Paige Brady stood on second, representing the winning run.

On the line was a trip to the PIAA Class 6A championship game.

Williams connected on the first pitch for a ground ball that scored Paige Brady and lifted the Golden Hawks to a 1-0 win over Downingtown East on Monday in the state semifinals at Spring-Ford’s Rams Field.

“It pretty much was the biggest hit of my life,” Williams said. “I just went into it thinking that I wanted to get it on the ground so I could at least move the runner over. I didn’t want to pop up and send it into extra innings. My main goal wasn’t to get a big hit, just to put it on the ground and run.

“It was so exciting to see Paige cross the plate. At the time I was in the moment, so I was kind of in a daze. At first I wasn’t quite sure if she made it over so I just kept running.”

Winning pitcher Lexi Waring reached base on a walk in the fateful frame and was replaced by Brady, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kelly Delise.

“The whole game we really didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Waring, a junior. “We were locked in the whole game. We just kept picking each other up and when it came down to that last at-bat, Shannon pulled through. She did a great job, and Paige did a great job running.

“It was such a relief when Paige scored. There were so many emotions.

“Coming into the game I was a little nervous, but I knew (if) we lose we were going home, so I wanted to just give it my all and not think too much ahead. I took it one batter at a time and trusted my defense. They had my back. They made the plays. It’s been that way all year.”

Helen Woloshyn had two hits and Grace Stepp and Waring also singled for CR South.

Waring, who has not surrendered a run in the state tourney, gave up three hits, struck out eight Cougars and walked one for the day.

It is the first state appearance for the Golden Hawks, and they are long past the “just happy to be here” phase.

“We wanted this from the beginning of the season,” Williams said. “It’s always been in the back of our heads. We worked towards it all season and now it’s finally here. We’re believing more and more as we’ve gone through the season that we can actually do it.

“A lot of the starters have been working together for a few years and we’ve been playing travel together since we were really young. We’ve grown up together and we’ve put it all together. It’s all been building up to this.”

Williams is the shortstop, her first year at that position.

“I’m kind of in a transition,” she said. “I was playing catcher but I’m mainly moving over to utility infield. Before I was a catcher I played in the field a lot so it’s just a matter of getting back into it. I love playing in the field. It’s so much fun, and I love connecting with my teammates.”

CR South, the District One fifth-place team, topped District 11 champion Liberty, 1-0, in the opening round, then went on to defeat Warwick, the third-place team from District Three, 1-0.

“We work well under pressure and we never give up, and there’s a lot of pressure in low scoring games,” Williams said. “It’s tough, but we persevere.”

The Golden Hawks are 22-3 for the season. A 16-1 regular season drubbing by Pennsbury was avenged with a 13-9 triumph in the second round of District One play, while a district tourney loss to Downingtown East (11-6) in the quarterfinals was redressed on Monday.

The remaining loss was in the regular season, a 1-0 loss to North Penn, who also happens to be CR South’s opponent in the state final.

“Having played them before I think we’re in a better position than if it was a team we never faced before,” Waring said.

This is the third time in four years that North Penn (25-3), the District One third-place team, has reached the state final with two victories including last year.

“I’m excited to get another chance at North Penn,” Williams said. “Our team is really good at never giving up. Every game, every inning, we won’t give up. They’re an incredible team and they have the experience of being there before, but we’re an incredible team, too. It’s just a different perspective. We’re coming in fresh.”

The game will be held at Nittany Lion Softball Park at Penn State on Friday at 4 p.m.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.