WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Tuesday's blustery western winds created havoc for Washington Township's right fielders, giving Class A No. 7 Pioneer enough opportunities to make a difference.
The Panthers edged the host Senators 3-1 in a Class A regional, using two seventh-inning unearned runs to break a tie.
"Right field has been a killer for us all year," Washington Township coach Jack Corley said. "(Our fielders) went straight in."
Megan Smith reached base on a two-out error by shortstop Macy Mullins. Ashley Hines overran a fly to right by Lindsey Miller, which resulted in a go-ahead, two run triple.
In the fourth, Pioneer (22-10) tied the game on a triple to right which escaped the clutch of starting right fielder Paige Collins. An out later, Betsy Bingaman sent a sinking liner to right field for an RBI single, and advanced to third when the ball eluded Collins for a two-base error. Hines then replaced Collins in right.
"We are pretty fortunate," Pioneer coach John Bingaman said. "Any ball hit to right was a challenge."
Outside of those plays, the Panthers were unable to mount much of an offense against Washington Township starting pitcher Liz Lustgarten. Lustgarten allowed five hits, but she also had 12 strikeouts. She had a strike out in every inining, including three in the fifth and two in the first, second and sixth.
"(Lustgarten) went up the ladder (with her pitches); we kept swinging at (the high pitches)," Bingaman said. "She did the job against us. She kept them in the game."
Kacie Corley gave the Senators (12-10) a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single in the third. Washington Township only had three total hits, unable to mount much more of an offense.
"Our hitting hasn't always been there," said coach Corley, whose team won the program's first sectional crown last week.
Despite the loss, Corley is optimistic about his team's future. The Senators return six starters.
"We had a great year; we've still got a lot of great players," Corley said. "Our goal this year was to win sectional. Next year it will be to win regional."