Waltman throws a 2-hit shutout.

By: Mitch Rupert | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | May 30, 2018


TURBOTVILLE — The initial swings against Warrior Run’s Madi Waltman were late. North Penn-Liberty hitters flailed at the best of her velocity for the better part of seven innings Tuesday at the Moser Complex.

When they were able to catch up, Waltman went to the rise ball where she collected five of her 11 strikeouts. The sophomore was sublime in the District 4 Class AAA semifinal yesterday, twirling a two-hit shutout as the Defenders earned a spot in next week’s state tournament with a 9-0 win over North Penn-Liberty.

Warrior Run advances to today’s district championship game against Loyalsock at 3:30 p.m. at the Moser Complex. The Defenders split two regular-season games with Loyalsock, winning the first one, 7-1, on April 18, and falling in the second one, 10-6, on May 8.

“We kind of go by what they’re chasing,” Waltman said. “We don’t usually have a set plan. We use what they did in their former at-bat as leverage.”

And what the Mounties did in previous at-bats wasn’t very much. North Penn-Liberty recorded just singles from Brooke Harvey and Mariah Kshir. Harvey’s one-out single in the top of the fourth inning broke a string of 10 batters retired in a row to start the game.

Waltman tossed her fifth shutout, but it was just her first of seven innings. The previous four all ended in mercy-rule wins. She struck out two batters in three innings, had at least one strikeout in all seven innings.

“The girls were ready at the plate, they just couldn’t get a hold of the ball,” North Penn-Liberty co-head coach Brandy Heatley said. “We didn’t hit the ball. You have to put runners on base and score runs.”

“She had command of her pitches,” Warrior Run head coach Garth Watson said. “She was spotting. When you have a sophomore pitcher doing that, it’s only upward for the rest of the girls.”

Waltman hadn’t even hit the 10-pitch mark when she was spotted a four-run lead by her offense. She had one of four run-scoring at-bats in the bottom of the first inning to break the game open quickly. Six of the Defenders’ first seven batters reached base, four with hits, one with a walk and one on an error.

Waltman, Meg Herriman (3-4, double, two RBIs), Gracy Beachel and Jade Swartz each drove in a run in that first inning. Waltman added an RBI double in the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth inning. The Defenders were on the precipice of a mercy-rule win over last year’s state qualifiers with nine runs through the first four innings.

Warrior Run sent nine batters to the plate in the first and fourth innings, scoring four runs each time. They attacked Mounties pitcher Savanah Doney early in the count, recording nine of their 14 hits on either the first or second pitch of a plate appearance.

“We’re really aggressive as a team,” Waltman said. “We don’t like to take a lot of pitches and let her get ahead. We’re known for battling and attacking pitches, and five times out of 10 we’ll get a base hit.”

By the time Doney settled in, retiring nine of the final 10 hitters she faced, the damage had been done. The Mounties just couldn’t put together enough offense to match the onslaught of Warrior Run.

“That’s a good team, and they’re hitters,” Heatley said. “We knew what we were up against. We’re tough defensively and we’re usually tougher offensively. It just wasn’t our night.”

“Doney is a good pitcher and we had a gameplan. I think, especially in the first inning, we executed it,” Watson said. “The girls put the ball in play hard. You have to put pressure on the defense early, and that was huge for us.”