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A date with destiny! Juniata captures first TVAA softball championship

By Kenny Varner


It seems almost fitting that the top teams from each division of the Tri-Valley League locked up for the third and final time this season.

This time it was for all the marbles as  the 19-1 Juniata Indians’ softball team met up with the 18-2 Susquenita BlackHawks for the TVL crown.

Both teams split the season series with Juniata winning their first meeting 11-0 back on April 20th.

The Blackhawks returned the favor on May 1st, winning in a thrilling 2-0 contest. Susquenita’s other loss came against East Juniata 2-1.

The Indians made history as they captured their first TVL softball title, winning 1-0 in an epic pitchers duel.

An RBI single by Lexi Frontz in the first would be the game winning hit for the Lady Indians.

Juniata pitcher Liz Gaisior went up against Susquenita hurler Ayahna Fleisher. The two combined for three hits and a combined 20 strike outs. Gaisior tallied 11 while Fleisher finished with nine.

It was an instant classic as both pitchers took center stage.

The night also belonged to the Juniata defense as it was nearly flawless on the field when tested.

“We talked about it. We spent the entire two hour practice doing nothing but bunt coverage. Because I know we are going to see it the rest of the way this season,” said Juniata coach Craig Bubb when talking about the defense. “I knew we were going to see it today and they did it. We defensed it perfectly. It makes you feel good when the game plan works out the way it’s supposed to. And Liz takes care of everything else.”

In the first inning, the Juniata defense behind Gaisior handled three successful ground outs, sending the Blackhawks down in order.

The Indians scored first in the bottom of the inning.

Gaisior walked to lead off the game and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She was replaced by courtesy runner Kalynn Brown.

Lexi Frontz smoked a shot into right field, scoring Brown on the play.

The veteran hurler took control of the top of the second, striking out the side.

In a very fast moving game, the Lady Hawks also had a 1-2-3 inning, keeping the Indians off the base paths in the second.

Gaisior was untouchable in the third, again striking out the side for the second inning in-a-row.

With one out in the third, Gaisior helped her own cause fighting off pitches before sending a screamer into left center for a stand up double.

Frontz joined Gaisior on base as she was intentionally walked. Both would be left stranded.

Susquenita started to rally in the fourth, Braelyn Printz reached on a Juniata miscue to start things off.

Fleisher roped her team’s first hit of the game, a hit down the middle, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.

Defensively, Juniata was able to shut down the Blackhawks without a run.

In the sixth, the Indians second baseman Ashley Piper robbed Printz of a possible hit as she alertly picked up a liner that hit between and first baseman Sophia Smith. Seeing that Smith wasn’t able to get back to the bag in time, Piper beat out the runner and ran to first base for the unassisted out.

Gaisior struck out 2-of-3 in the inning, sending the Blackhawks to its last at bats still trailing.

In the final stanza, Juniata made sure that they would add another banner to its District 6 championship banner, sending Susquenita batters down 1-2-3 to take home the hardware fought 1-0 victory.

Juniata 1 , Susquenita 0

SUS  000 000 0 – 0 1 0

JUN  100 000 x – 1 2 1

Multiple hitters: JUN – None. SUS –  None.

HR: JUN –  None. SUS –  None.

3B: JUN –  None. SUS –  None.

2B: JUN – Gaisior  . SUS –  None.

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