As Loyalsock third baseman Kendall Watkins collided with shortstop Allie Pagana, the ball dropped in front and both players tumbled down. Seconds later, they rose up, brushed themselves off and resumed working.
Two batters later, the whole team went down as Williamsport finished erasing a two-run, sixth-inning deficit and took a one-run lead. This time, the entire Loyalsock squad rose up. And just two days after suffering a painful defeat, Loyalsock reigned supreme in the 8-team Williamsport Tournament at Elm Park.
Cellina Salvatori and Allison Czap highlighted two late four-run innings, combining for four hits and four RBIs, Kayla Gee delivered a gutty pitching performance and Loyalsock overcame two deficits while rallying for a 9-6 championship win over Williamsport. Both backyard rivals took turns landing big blows in this heavyweight style final and the Lancers (9-4) finally delivered the knockout one in the bottom of the sixth while capturing their first Williamsport Tournament title of the 21st century.
"Most girls wouldn't have gotten back up after that collision but not only did they get up, they got up and made plays," Loyalsock coach Craig Weaver Sr. said. "We played games Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and then two today and it speaks volumes about what kind of our girls are on this field. There was no quit."
Muncy finished fourth after losing to Mifflinburg, 9-1 in the consolation game. Montoursville split two games, losing 4-2 to Troy before beating Towanda, 6-1.
Loyalsock (9-4) beat three likely Class AA, AAA and AAAA playoff qualifiers the last two days, edging Mifflinburg in Saturday morning's semifinals, 3-2. It was a huge boost for a team that had lost two straight controversial games. Following Thursday's loss, Loyalsock had a meeting and talked about the season's second half starting. The first half was gone, the record was 0-0 and a new season was about to begin.
The Lancers like the way this one has started.
"We knew we needed to come out and do something big after those losses. Winning these three games really got us there," said Salvatori who had late-game, go-ahead hits in both games. "We're really happy we got them. I think winning this is our turning point."
"This was big for us," Czap said. "I think that losing (all-staters) Amanda (Daneker) and Ashleigh (Bair) was huge and maybe some people doubted us but I think seeing us beat these three good teams we played this weekend will make people more aware of Loyalsock."
Williamsport, which beat Muncy 11-1 in its semifinal, led until the fifth inning when the Lancers scored four two-out runs and took a 5-3 lead on Salvatori's two-run double. The Millionaires answered in the top of the sixth, delivering four straight hits to start the inning, then going ahead on a two-out double steal of home and second. It was a sudden turn of events but Loyalsock never flinched.
After Pagana reached on a two-out error and Kay Kay Lupo walked, Gee, Watkins and Czap delivered clutch hits that produced four runs and put Loyalsock ahead to stay. Gee (3 for 4) ripped a first-pitch single before Watkins hit a go-ahead single to center field. Czap followed by hitting a two-run single to left field and giving the Lancers a 9-6 lead.
Czap caught all 14 innings Saturday and tied the game at 5-5 the previous inning when she hit an RBI single. The four-year starter broke out of a recent funk in a big way and helped Loyalsock score eight two-out runs over the last two innings.
"I like those situations a lot. It just gives me more confidence to get hitting and get some RBIs," Czap said. "I've been in a slump the last few games and I think this game was really big. I'm back like I was at the beginning of the season."
Gee threw all 14 innings Saturday and ended the game with a 1-2-3 inning. Watkins caught the final out at third and soon was engulfed by happy teammates, celebrating a championship that could point to bigger things down the road.
"I knew we were going to come strong with the bats. We're strong like that," Salvatori said. "We come back and we fight. We don't get down. We stay up and we come together as a team and we score."
Williamsport has done the same thing since starting 0-5. The Millionaires briefly evened their record after thumping Muncy and delivered 22 hits in yesterday's games.
This season has been a big comeback and that is one reason Williamsport remained unfazed after Loyalsock took its first lead. McKenzie Tebbs (2-for-4), Shataya Buxton and Chloe Jennings all reached base to start the sixth inning before semifinal winning pitcher Taylor Brooks hit a RBI single. Brooks later stole home on a bizarre delayed double steal and had three steals in the final.
"I'm not disappointed," Williamsport coach Quint Bower said. "When we started off 0-5 and we needed to turn something around we put a three-game winning streak together and I told the kids if we win 2 of 3 games this weekend we're back on track and we played some good softball this weekend."
Brooks had five hits yesterday and helped Williamsport build a 2-0 first-inning lead when she hit a lead-off single and scored on Meagan Horne's two-run single. Horne had four RBIs in two games and seven different players had hits against Loyalsock while all nine starters reached base. McKenzie Tebbs went 2 for 4 and her third-inning two-out RBI single put Williamsport ahead 3-1.
Williamsport beat Muncy in five innings in the semifinals, scoring five third-inning runs to take a 7-0 lead. The Millionaires collected five straight hits to start that inning and pinch-hitter Brianna Fisher ended the game with a walk-off single, highlighting the team's depth.
"These victories this weekend felt good," Bower said. "It was a play here or there in that (championship) game and that could have gone either way. You never like to lose, but to lose to a quality team and a well-coached team, I can go home and not lose any sleep over that."
Emily Shnyder had RBI hits for Muncy in both its games while Cayla Treaster threw a gem against Towanda as Montoursville (7-6) took a big step toward reaching the playoffs and exceeded last year's win total.
Loyalsock 9, Williamsport 6
Williamsport201 003 0-6 10 2
Loyalsock100 044 x-9 12 1
Mikayla Bower and Shataya Buxton. Kayla Gee and Allison Czap. W-Gee, (9-4). L-Bower, (3-4).
Top Williamsport hitters: Taylor Brooks 3-4, RBI, 2 R, 3 SBs; Bower 1-3, RBI, R; Meagan Horne 1-4, 2 RBI; McKenzie Tebbs 2-4, RBI, R. Top Loyalsock hitters: Kay Kay Lupo 1-2, 2 R; Gee 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R; Allison Czap 2-4, 3 RBI; Cellina Salvatori 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Kendall Watkins 1-4, RBI, 2 R; Allie Pagana 1-4, 2 R.
Records: Loyalsock 9-4. Williamsport 5-6.
Mifflinburg 9, Muncy 1
Mifflinburg140 220 0-9 12 0
Muncy000 100 0-1 1 2
Hannah Boop and Molly Davis. Amanda Kustanbauter, Emily Shnyder (4) and Crystal Good. W-Boop. L-Kustanbauter, (8-3).
Top Mifflinburg hitters: Kayla Kline 3-5, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R; Mackenzie Noll 3-5, HR, 5 RBI; Kylie Kuhns 1-3, 3B; McKenzie Kyler 2-4; Morgan Kyler 2-3, 3B, 2 RBI. Top Muncy hitter: Shnyder 1-3, RBI.
Records: Mifflinburg 12-3. Muncy 9-3.
Williamsport 11, Muncy 1
Muncy000 10-1 3 4
Williamsport025 04-11 12 0
Kustanbauter, Shnyder (3), Katherine Ebner (5) and Good. Brooks and Tebbs. W-Brooks, (2-2). L-Kustanbauter.
Top Muncy hitters: Good 1-2, 3B, R; Shnyder 1-2, RBI. Top Williamsport hitters: Brooks 2-4, 2B, RBI, R; Kaitlin Caringi 2-3, 2 RBI, 2 R; Bower 2-4; Kayliah Moore 1-2, R; Brianna Fisher 1-1, RBI; Samantha Fischer 1-2, 2B, 2 R, RBI.
Loyalsock 3, Mifflinburg 2
Mifflinburg001 000 1-2 5 2
Loyalsock010 200 x-3 4 1
Chelsea Mitchell and Davis. Gee and Czap. W-Gee. L-Mitchell.
Top Loyalsock hitters: Pagana 1-3, 3B; Watkins 1-3, 2 R; Elizabeth Haller 1-3, 3B; Salvatori 1-2, 2B, RBI, R; Kariann Reisch 1-2.
Troy 4, Montoursville 2
Montoursville002 000 0-2 6 1
Troy000 040 x-4 6 1
Cayla Treaster and Kelsey Stine.
Top Montoursville hitters: Janelle Konkle 2-4; Stine 1-3, R; Kim Foster 1-2; Hanna Cioffi 1-2. Top Troy hitters: Stephani 2-3; Mattocks 1-3, HR.
Records: Troy 8-2. Montoursville 7-6.
Montoursville 6, Towanda 1
Towanda 2, Archbishop Wood 0