Blue Devil softball team captures District title

Showalter’s sixth-inning triple breaks a 1-1 tie

Playing+up+two+classifications%2C+the+Bellwood-Antis+softball+team+captured+the+programs+second+District+6+championship+Wednesday+at+University+Park.

Susan Zong

Playing up two classifications, the Bellwood-Antis softball team captured the program’s second District 6 championship Wednesday at University Park.

If there is anything besides academics that the Bellwood-Antis community takes pride in, it is sports. It’s simply tradition.

The Bellwood-Antis softball team added to that tradition Wednesday.  All of the hard work and dedication paid off to get them to their goal of a District 6 Championship.

The Blue Devils traveled to Penn State and came out with the District 6-AAA title with a 5-1 win over Bellefonte at Beard Field at University Park.

This team just continued to battle, every inning, every at bat, and every pitch they just battled! In the end their perseverance paid off!”

— Coach Jim Payne

After they were ousted from the semifinals two years ago by Philipsburg-Osceola the Blue Devils wanted some redemption. B-A chose to play up a classification, despite an enrollment that’s barely bigger than a Class A school.

According to the Centre Daily Times, this was the first time since 1992 that no Centre County team claimed a district softball crown and only the third time that’s happened since 1976, when the playoffs began. The Lady Raiders have 17 District titles alone.

“A few years before our class started playing, Bellwood softball wasn’t what it is now,” said senior catcher Jacqueline Finn, the program’s all-time hits leader. “Now, we’re kind of in the same realm as those teams that win Districts every year.  I think we can compete with anyone, which is why our team motto is tradition.”

After the rain stopped holding the game off and finally cleared (the noon start was pushed back to 1:30), the Blue Devils got started. It was tied 1-1 heading into the sixth inning when Maddie Miller walked and Edyn Convery was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Caroline Showalter then smashed a bases-loaded triple to drive drive in all three base runners ans make it 4-1.

“There was a lot of pressure because I knew I had to get them in.  I like it because of the pressure,” said Showalter.

Showalter also added, “It feels good to make school history.”

Starting pitcher Taylor Shildt finished with a four-hitter.  The junior settled in and struck out five batters.  In a pitchers battle, Shildt retired 15 of the last 16 batters she faced.

“She is using all of her pitches to her advantage,” said B-A coach Jim Payne of Shildt. “She is focused and continues to hit her spots and keep the hitters off balance!”

“I was really ready.  I mentally prepared myself for it for a week,” said Shildt.  “I didn’t think about the pressure.  I just tried to relax and pitch the way I know I can pitch which is to let the pitches do the work.”

Wolfe and Jacqueline Finn also hit RBI doubles. Wolfe’s made it 5-1 in the sixth.

I was really ready. I mentally prepared myself for it for a week.”

— BA pitcher Taylor Shildt

“Earlier in the game I was worried, but I had a feeling we’d score that inning.  I don’t know why.  I knew it was time,” said Wolfe.

According to Payne, the team is special because it refuses to give in.

He said, “This team just continued to battle, every inning, every at bat, and every pitch they just battled! In the end their perseverance paid off! They all did extra time in the cage and it paid off today!  This title was earned, not given!”

“Every year we set a goal and it’s always Districts and it’s nice that we finally did it,” said Convery.

The softball team improved their record and finished with 16-6 overall.