Trojans look to avenge last year's semifinal loss vs. Hempfield Area
The Chambersburg softball team has dreamed of a state title since its impressive postseason run last season.
And after a statement district championship win, and a pair of solid outings in the PIAA tournament, Chambersburg must face its biggest challenge yet in a highly anticipated rematch of last year's PIAA semifinal game.
Monday, Chambersburg will meet Hempfield Area - the same team that knocked them out of the state tournament in the third round last season - on the same field at Mt. Aloysius College.
"Our girls are very confident, but not over confident," Chambersburg coach Chris Skultety said. "They have seen them before and they know what is at stake. They've seen the pitcher and everything is familiar. The confidence is there and they know what to expect. We just have to execute and play some defense."
The Spartans return its ace Morgan Ryan, who was named the PA Gatorade Softball Player of the Year after a stellar senior season posting an 18-0 record and a 0.94 ERA.
But the Trojans are no stranger to talented pitching. Through the postseason Chambersburg has worked past some of the best throwers in the state - and boasts three of their own talented pitchers in the circle. Chambersburg's core of Laken Myers, Sammie Bender and Leah Hunt has wreaked havoc on batters throughout the season.
Myers gets the nod Monday after a lights-out performance in the quarterfinals.
"We have most of the team back who was there last year, and we all know what we are going to face," Bender said after Chambersburg's quarterfinal win. "Morgan Ryan is a great pitcher, but I think we have some really great hitters on our team too.
"They were in the same position (as we are now) last year - they lost in the semifinals the year before, so they had that revenge factor too. I think it's going to be a huge game and it's going to be really great to face (Ryan) again."
Skultety said his squad is ready for the challenge of meeting Hempfield Area again, as the team has matured on virtually every part of the field from a year ago.
"I'm not sure if their team speed is quite what it was last year, and I think they lost a couple infielders, and I think that gives us an advantage," Skultety said after the quarterfinal game. "I think we have a little more team speed than them, but they have Morgan Ryan, and that's enough said. She's a hitter, a pitcher and she's the Gatorade Player of the Year for a reason."
Trojans-Spartans at a glance
Game data: Chambersburg Trojans vs. Hempfield Area Spartans ... Monday, 4 p.m. at Mt. Aloysiou College ... PIAA Class 6A semifinal game.
Media: Follow @LindseySquints on Twitter for live updates ... The Chambersburg softball players request all fans in attendance wear neon to show their Trojan pride.
Teams: Chambersburg (20-5) punched its ticket to the semifinal with a 3-1 win over Perkiomen Valley in the quarterfinals. A three-run first inning was enough to eke out the win ... Hempfiled Area enters the PIAA semifinal undefeated with an astounding 25-0 record and claimed a 5-0 win in extra innings over McDowell in extra innings in the quarterfinals.
P.O. pick: Chambersburg by 1