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Pleasant Vy. advances to EPC title game

ALLENTOWN - For the second straight game, the Pleasant Valley softball team saw its opponent land the first blow.

Both times, the Bears took the punch and swung right back even harder.

Parkland went ahead 1-0 early in Tuesday’s East Penn Conference semifinal.

The Bears answered with two runs in their next at-bat en route to a 5-2 win, and their first trip to the EPC title game.

“We did the same thing with Emmaus (On Monday),” said winning pitcher Kailyn Getz. “We just had to keep our heads up, don’t give up and keep swinging the bats.”

Parkland’s Maria Moore (2-for-4) produced the game’s first run with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning. The No. 3 seed Trojans (16-6) had two runners on base and no outs after the run scored, but Getz induced two ground balls - the second of which was turned into a double play by her sister, third baseman Danica Getz, to end the inning.

The seventh-seeded Bears (14-6) started the third with back-to-back singles from Hailey Krock and Kailyn Getz. A one-out single from Brianca Pridham loaded the bases before Danica Getz singled up the middle to drive in a pair of runs and give her team a 2-1 lead.

“I’m very happy with the way the girls are playing,” said PV head coach Steve Caffrey, who is in his 34th season, and hasn’t coached a team in a title game since his program played in the Mountain Valley Conference. “The last few games we’ve played as a team, from the bench to the fielders to the batters, everything. I’m really proud of what we’ve done.”

Kailyn Getz scattered seven Parkland hits while pitching a complete game. She walked five batters, getting out of bases-loaded jams in the sixth and seventh with just one scoring.

The junior pitcher also had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4, including a triple, and scoring three times.

“She had a great game,” said Caffrey. “She had ... a big triple to start things off. She’s a player. She just has to work through things, and that’s what she did and she allowed her team to help her out.”

The Bears added two runs in the fifth inning when Kailyn Getz tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a fielder’s choice. An RBI double from senior Danica Getz made it 4-1.

Pleasant Valley manufactured its last run when Rylan Knapp drew a lead-off walk in the sixth and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch. She came around to score on an error.

Parkland, which hosted the semifinal games after weather postponements caused them to move from Pates Park, loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. The Trojans, who reached the semis with a walk-off win in their quarterfinal game, managed to get one across before Getz got them to ground out for the second out. She then recorded her only strikeout of the game to finish it off.

“Hats off to [Pleasant Valley],” said Parkland head coach Barry Search. “They swung the bats, and we didn’t come up with some plays. That’s the difference.”

The Bears entered the playoffs looking to prove something to the teams from the Lehigh Valley, and have done just that in coming from behind to beat both Parkland and Emmaus in the first round.

“A lot of the people down in the Valley,” said Kailyn Getz, “we all believe they look down on us because we might not be as good as them. We just come in with the mindset that we can do it. We’ve been doing it for the past three or four years.”

BEARS ROAMING NEW GROUND ... Pleasant Valley has made just one EPC playoff tournament, Caffrey said. It came during the first season of the league, and the Bears were eliminated by Northampton in the first round. The two wins are the first EPC playoff wins in program history.

UNKNOWN OPPONENT ... The Bears will take on either No. 5 Nazareth or No. 8 Bethlehem Catholic in the EPC title game. The Blue Eagles-Hawks contest was postponed and will be played on Thursday.

Pleasant Vy. 002 021 0 - 5 9 0

Parkland 010 000 0 - 2 8 1

K. Getz and Ratti; Fritzinger, Hunsberger (6) and Stuardi. W - Getz. L - Fritzinger.

Pleasant Valley's Danica Getz slides into home while Parkland catcher Morgan Schultz applies a tag. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS