Bandy's dandy as York stops Maine West
When the state tournament started two weeks ago, York softball coach Drew McGuire said his team was clicking at the right time.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, sophomore Brook Bandy might have been clicking as well as she ever has.
The Dukes' left-hander fired a 2-hitter and shut out No. 2-seeded Maine West 2-0 in the semifinal of the Class 4A Resurrection sectional.
Bandy gave up a leadoff infield single to Maine West shortstop Holly Wengerski and then didn't give up another hit until Renee Pond bunted safely with one out in the top of the seventh inning.
Bandy got the next batter on a liner back to the mound and threw to her classmate at first base, Isabella Jaeger, to double up the runner and send the Dukes into the sectional final for the first time since 2003.
No. 3 seed York (21-14) will face No. 1 Trinity (28-4) for the title at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"We're excited," said Jaeger, who went 2-for-3 with 1 run and a double. "It's exciting to play defense behind Brook the way she is pitching."
Bandy struck out six and gave up only 1 walk, to Brie Montmarquette to lead off the fifth inning.
But Bandy's defense came up big that time, too, when Jaeger caught the next batter's pop and threw to junior second baseman Taylor Pankua, who was covering first base to double up the runner.
"We're clicking as a team," Bandy said. "And it's nice when your team supports you with a couple of runs early in the game."
Gracie Sullivan, the Dukes' only senior starter, began the second inning with a walk and Pankua (2-for-3) followed with a single to center.
"We had been getting some timely hits in the sixth and seventh innings," said Sullivan, who went 2-for-2 with a walk. "But this time we started hitting in the second and third innings so that was good."
Juniors Hannah Latimer and Olivia Spaeth each reached on a fielder's choice before a run scored when sophomore Audrey Kosman reach on an error, making it 1-0.
Warriors ace Ariel Valles (12-5) then struck out the next batter to minimize the damage.
"Ariel stuck it out and came back strong after they got some timely hits for the 2-0 lead (after three innings)," said Warriors coach Amy Gonzales about her Harvard-bound pitcher. "I'm proud of these kids. It's going to be hard to graduate our seniors. They were a huge part of our program and we'll miss them."
Bandy wasn't missing on many of her pitches Wednesday.
"I was just trying to hit my spots and getting ahead of all the batters," she said.
"Brook probably pitched her best game of the season," McGuire said. "Maine West is a great team and really fought hard. Brooke had a great day and we were able to put some runs on the board for her early."
Bandy's 2-run cushion came in the third inning when Jaeger led off with a double to right-center.
After Valles got the next to batters on a pop to second baseman Erin Feldkamp and grounder to shortstop Wengerski, Sullivan singled to the right-center gap to bring home Jaeger.
But West center fielder Abbey Herling made a nice throw to Wengerski to catch the runner trying to stretch the hit to a double.
The 2-run lead proved plenty for Bandy, who improved to 13-7.
"We made a couple of mistake that cost us, and in these games you can't have a whole lot of mistakes," Gonzales said. "But York is a very good team. We hit the ball but they made a lot of good plays when they needed to."
Now the Dukes will try to makes the plays against a Trinity team that has belted a state-record single-season 60 home runs this spring.
"They will be tough," McGuire said. "They are the top seed, the favorite. But that's why you play the games.
"Hopefully we can keep them off the bases and scores some runs ourselves. Obviously, they are a great team. We respect that. But we will be ready Saturday."
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