Jun. 11—ALLENTOWN — Some of the big plays and talent that made the 2021 softball season one of the most memorable in Hamburg history were on display Thursday at Patriots Park.
But the Hawks were unable to come up with a key hit in an 8-0, season-ending loss to Tunkhannock in a PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal.
The Hawks had six hits off winning pitcher Kaya Hannon, but stranded nine runners to close out a record-setting year.
“It was exciting,” said Hamburg senior All-Berks first baseman Avrie Schiffert. “This was the furthest we made it.”
The District 3 runner-up Hawks (21-5) earned the school’s first PIAA softball victory and set a record for wins in a season. But District 2 champion Tunkhannock (22-2) scored three runs in the first inning off losing pitcher Haley Gravish to take control early.
Gravish also enjoyed a few shining moments before being relieved in the sixth inning by freshman Hailey Strunk, one of several underclassmen hoping to build on what Hamburg accomplished this season.
Gravish struck out six, including the top three hitters in Tunkhannock’s lineup in order in the fourth inning.
The Hawks also turned a double play in the sixth inning when Gravish, after moving to shortstop, fielded a grounder and threw to Schiffert for the out. Schiffert then fired a strike to third baseman Katie Behler to nail a runner trying to advance.
Hamburg nearly turned another double play in the seventh.
“We did the best we could,” Schiffert said. “Timely hitting is the best kind of hitting and we didn’t get that today.”
Leadoff hitter Kylah Reading, a freshman All-Berks outfielder, went 2-for-3 and also drew a walk. Senior catcher Alison Gassert went 2-for-2 with a double and walk.
But it wasn’t enough to keep Hamburg’s season alive.
“The kids achieved a lot,” said Hamburg coach Zena Edwards. “They worked hard and they had a great year. It’s a good experience.”
Tunkhannock will continue its season Monday in the PIAA semifinals against District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic.
Tunkhannock got an RBI double from Paige Marabell, a run-scoring triple by Nicole Howell and a run-producing sacrifice bunt by Hannon in the first inning.
The Tigers finished with 10 hits with Howell going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Every other starter in the Tunkhannock starting lineup had one hit.
Hannon struck out eight three days after throwing a nine-inning shutout in a 1-0 win over Danville.
But there were few tears and no regrets from the Hamburg players or coaches.
“It was a great year,” Lutz said. “I’m proud of the kids. They did a great job.”