UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- This was one that literally had a wild finish.
The Neshannock High School softball team had to go to eight innings before winning the PIAA Class AA championship Friday on a wild pitch. Madison Altmyer sprinted home from third base to give Neshannock a 4-3 victory against Warrior Run and the first softball title in school history. Neshannock was the only WPIAL team in the PIAA softball finals.
"I don't ever remember winning a game like that," Neshannock coach Tracy Kimmel said.
It was an unlikely ending at Penn State's Beard Field, especially given the way Warrior Run's Taylor Parker had pitched. She had walked only one previous batter and struck out eight.
The score was tied, 3-3, from the third until the eighth, when Altmyer led off with a triple. Neshannock's Allie Fischer then tried a slap bunt, but Parker threw out Fischer at first and Altmyer stayed at third.
Then on the first pitch to Katie Burrelli, Parker lost it as the ball went sailing over the head of catcher Lynn Vermilya. It bounced off a wall behind home plate as Altmyer was racing home. Vermilya grabbed it, ran back toward the plate and dived for Altmyer, who slid in safely.
"That's a tough way to lose it," Warrior Run coach Garth Watson said.
After the game, Watson kept referring to the play as a passed ball. The official scorer ruled it a wild pitch.
Altmyer watched the pitch go over Vermilya's head "and I figured it was now or never," Altmyer said.
"I thought the catcher was going to throw it to the pitcher," Kimmel said. "They would've had her out, but they didn't do that."
The win overshadowed a terrific performance by Parker, who also had three hits.
For Neshannock (24-1), Amanda Furst, the only senior on the team, was the winning pitcher and her sister, Rayanna, had three hits. Marissa DeMatteo had two hits for Neshannock. The Lancers took a 2-0 lead in the first, but Warrior Run (24-3), the District 11 champion from Schuylkill County, tied it in the second. Both teams scored single runs in the third.
It stayed 3-3 until things got wild.
"We've won close games all year," Kimmel said.
First Published June 16, 2012 4:00 AM