STATE COLLEGE — DuBois Central Catholic will look to make history as it takes on Williams Valley in the PIAA Class A state championship game at Penn State’s Beard Field Friday at 11 a.m.
The District 9 champion Lady Cardinals are making their first appearance in a title game in program history as it is also the first championship game bid earned by any girls sport in school history.
While DCC is set to make its first ever title game appearance, the District 11 champion Lady Vikings have gotten accustomed to making a trip to State College in mid-June.
Friday will mark the fourth title game appearance for Williams Valley in as many seasons as they are four-time defending D-11 champions and have represented the East side of the bracket in the Class A final four years in a row.
The Lady Vikings will be facing a new opponent in the championship for the first time during their impressive run, as West Greene had made three title appearances in a row before being knocked out by DCC in the state semifinals Tuesday.
The Lady Pioneers got the best of Williams Valley in the last two meetings, winning 11-7 last season and 9-8 in 2017 for back-to-back crowns.
Those two wins came after the Lady Vikings had topped West Greene 3-2 for the title in 2016.
That was the second state championship in four years for Williams Valley as it had also won in 2013.
DuBois Central is looking to be the first District 9 team to win a Class A state title since Elk County Catholic did so in 2015 with a 7-0 win over Conemaugh Valley.
While the Lady Cardinals have won their past two games by one run, defeating Claysburg-Kimmel 6-5 in nine innings in the quarters and West Greene 3-2 in the semis, Williams Valley has dominated its three PIAA games.
The Lady Vikings got the tournament started by defeating D-1 champ Bristol 14-4, then beat D-2 champion Old Forge 14-0 in the quarterfinals and topped District 3 champion Millersburg 14-1 in the semifinals Tuesday.
Friday’s matchup will feature a pair of teams with a lot of talent up and down the lineup at the plate as well as a two-pronged arsenal in the circle.
DuBois Central is averaging 13.8 runs per game this season while allowing just 1.9 runs per game, as Williams Valley has scored 11.4 runs per contest and allowed 1.8 runs a game.
The Lady Vikings are led at the plate by their four seniors in Mya Achenbach, Kenna Ferron, Grace Hoffman and Jamie Neiman along with a group of talented juniors and sophomores.
Achenbach is hitting .479 and is second on the team with 10 doubles adding six home runs, 35 runs batted in and 36 runs scored.
Ferron is batting .440 with a team-high 42 runs scored and has driven in 23 runs while Neiman is averaging .441 with 25 RBIs and 26 runs as Hoffman is batting .341 with 20 RBIs.
Juniors Maddy Bordner and Stevie Unger are both near the top on the team in every offensive statistical category this year for Williams Valley.
Bornder leads the team with nine home runs and is second with 37 RBIs while posting a .473 batting average and scoring 32 runs.
Unger is just one homer behind her teammate with eight and leads the team with 48 RBIs, 15 doubles and a .535 batting average along with 24 runs.
Sophomores Alex Bogle (.394 avg.), Emma Crisswell (.447 avg.) and Tori Rabuck (.333 avg.) also contribute at the plate for the Lady Vikings.
Bogle has scored 31 runs and driven in 25, while Crisswell has scored 22 runs and recorded 17 RBIs and Rabuck has 28 runs scored and 24 batted in.
Crisswell and Unger have split the time in the circle for Williams Valley throughout the season.
Unger pitched a complete game in the Lady Vikings’ first round and semifinal games, while Crisswell pitched a complete game in the quarterfinals.
On the season the duo has pitched all but four of the innings in the circle for Williams Valley as Unger has thrown 74 innings and Crisswell has pitched 70 1/3 innings.
Both pitchers rely on the strikeout, as Crisswell has struck out 108 on the year and Unger has added 100 strikeouts.
The pair have allowed a combined 43 earned runs this year as Crisswell leads the way with a 1.99 ERA and Unger has a 2.18 ERA.
On the other side, senior Ashley Wruble and freshman Morgan Tyler have split time in the circle all season.
Tyler has been the more dominant pitcher, as she has struck out 105 over 63 innings posting a 1.33 ERA with 20 walks and just 12 earned runs.
Wruble has a 1.67 ERA has she has allowed 14 earned runs over 58 2/3 innings of work with 56 strikeouts and just 16 walks.
The duo have allowed just one home run apiece on the year, while at the plate the DCC bats have pounded out 28 homers this season.
Sophomore Mia Meholick leads with way with seven of those home runs and also has a team-high 12 doubles, posting a .512 batting average with 41 RBIs and 37 runs.
Wruble is second on the team with both six homers and 10 doubles while she leads the way among players with at least 10 at-bats with a .643 batting average and is tied for the team-high with 47 runs scored and leads the team with 46 RBIs.
Freshman Avery Sickeri has five home runs and has posted a .570 average while driving in 33 runs and scoring 47 which is tied for the team-high.
Junior Mia Cogley (.530 avg.), sophomore Chelsea Busatto (.500 avg.) and sophomore Shyanne Lundy (.579 avg.) are also all hitting above .500 on the year for DCC.
Junior Shayleigh Gulvas, who hit just her third homer of the year which proved to be the game-winner Tuesday, along with junior Jordy Kosko seniors Alyssa Bittner and Carley Semancik round out the arsenal at the plate for the Lady Cardinals.
While DCC had eight hits in a 3-2 win over West Greene in the semis, two and three hole hitters Sickeri and Wruble went a combined 1-for-6 as they will look to get back on track and lead the Lady Cardinals on their quest for a first ever state title.