HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Southern Columbia, Lourdes could be playoff opponents
It seems strange to think about two teams that are in relatively different places as softball programs, but are vying for the same spot in the upcoming playoffs.
Consistent playoff participent Southern Columbia and upstart Lourdes, while not playing each other this season, and having just one common opponent, are neck and neck for the sixth seed, as it stands now, in the District 4 Class AA playoff race.
And Lourdes is on top so far with a week and a half to play.
The Red Raiders are 13-5 with games at Williams Valley and at St. John Neumann, while the Tigers are 12-6 with games against Shamokin and Montoursville remaining.
But as we'll illustrate, being sixth or seventh seed carries very little difference in the grand scheme of things. Either way, both teams trail a host of teams that have also already qualified for the playoffs.
At the very top, is Warrior Run. The Defenders are the cream of the crop - the two time defending state champs have the best record at 14-2 and a pitcher in Taylor Parker who will be pitching next year for Bloomsburg University. Having seen them in person, there are no deficiencies in the Defenders' game.
A couple Northern Tier teams occupy the No. 2 and 3 seeds so far. Wyalusing and Troy are 11-3 and 10-3, respectively, but using winning percentage, they come out ahead of a pair of very good Heartland Conference Division II teams.
Next on the list are Loyalsock (13-4), which has perhaps the best hitter in the district in Amanda Danneker, and Central Columbia (12-4).
Then comes Lourdes and Southern Columbia, and if you've been filling out the bracket in your head, the local teams could potentially meet in the second round and would avoid playing Warrior Run, Loyalsock and Central Columbia until the final, if either team makes it that far - that sort of negates a possible first-round trip to the Northern Tier.
Both Wellsboro and Towanda have nine wins and could qualify for the playoffs, but are unlikely to win enough games to unseat Lourdes or Southern.
And so far, that's all the area has as far as playoff teams, although Shamokin needs just one win to qualify and Line Mountain hasn't been mathematically eliminated, but needs three wins in four games.
Both Lourdes and Southern Columbia are also well represented in the latest edition of the area's extra-base-hit leaders list.
Doubles - CharLee Rosini, Lourdes, 8; Mallory Tomaschik, Southern Columbia, 7; Kayla Lavella, Southern Columbia, 6; Helena Supsic, Shamokin, 5; Olivia Bonshock, Shamokin, 5.
Triples - Peyton Klembara, Lourdes, 3; Rosini, 3; Caity Funk, Lourdes, 2; Emily Long, Lourdes, 2; Kiana Lukoskie, Line Mountain, 2; Savannah Copson, Line Mountain, 2.
Home runs - Tomaschik, 6; Blair Johnston, Southern Columbia, 3; Rosini, 2; E. Long, 2; Supsic, 2; O. Bonshock, 2.
(Dan MacArthur covers girls softball for The News-Item)