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Bellefonte softball advances to D6 5A title game

BELLEFONTE – The stage was set for Bellefonte’s lone senior Tori Reichert as she stepped to plate in the bottom of the seventh during Thursday’s D6 Class 5A semifinal game.

Reichert didn’t want it to be her final at-bat as the Red Raiders trailed, 1-0, with two outs. Instead, the senior drove a ball back up the middle and brought in two runs as Bellefonte defeated Hollidaysburg, 2-1, to advance to the championship game.

“I trust us. We put together some really good at bats. The last few days we talked about it’s going to come down who can execute when it matters. We walked, got a base hit and then next thing you know we’re tackling Tori (Reichert) at first base. I’m so happy for them. Especially Tori, in what could’ve been her last game. I’m super happy for her,” Bellefonte coach Travis Foster said following his team’s comeback win.

Prior to Reichert’s walk-off hit to send the Red Raiders back to Saint Francis University where they’ll meet the Wildcats of Central Mountain, junior Madison Melius battled and earned a base hit.

Melius worked a double-digit pitch at-bat and managed to come out with a single and setup the scene for Reichert.

“May be the at bat of the year. She’s such a one-pitch focused kid,” Foster said about Melius’ at-bat. “She doesn’t let the moment get too big for her. She got a pitch that she liked, and she hit it hard.”

Hollidaysburg struck first in the pitcher’s dual as the Golden Tigers pushed across a run in the bottom of the fifth. Despite trailing behind for the majority of the game, Bellefonte refused to quit and it paid off big time.

Up next for the Red Raiders is the top-seeded Wildcats of Central Mountain. Bellefonte fell, 8-7, earlier this season in a meeting between the two powerhouses.

“They’re good. They’re the number one seed for a reason. All you can do is ask for a chance to compete and we get our chance,” Foster said about next week’s district title game.

Foster and his team will have a little less than a week to prepare.

“At this point in the year you just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s not time to change things and go crazy, you fine tune the things you didn’t do well in the game before. We trust what we’re doing,” Foster said.

Hollidaysburg 000 010 0–1 3 3

Bellefonte 000 000 2–2 2 3

Hollidaysburg top hitters: Sydney Shay 2-2; Briana Dawson 1-3.

Bellefonte top hitters: Madison Melius 1-3; Tori Reichert 1-4.

Records: Hollidaysburg 9-11, Bellefonte 12-5

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