After Pennsbury beat Souderton, 5-0, Thursday at Spring-Ford in near-100-degree heat to advance to the PIAA Class AAAA softball semifinals, a Falcons fan folded his chair and said, "Now that was a workmanlike win."
That was probably the best way to sum up the Falcons' 22d victory in 25 games this season. Pennsbury, seeking its sixth state championship under coach Frank McSherry, got the hits when it needed them, played near flawless defense, and received a one-hit pitching performance from sophomore Val Buehler to put down the Indians, the surprise team of the season.
The Falcons, the No. 2 team from District 1, will play District 7 champ Latrobe on Monday, time and place to be set.
Souderton, which came from nowhere at the beginning of the season to grab the fifth and final playoff spot from District 1, finished 19-5. Behind a late 11-game winning streak and Liz Parkins' standout pitching, the Indians made their first trip to the state playoffs since 2006.
After yielding a leadoff single to Pennsbury's D'anna Devine, Parkins struck out the side in the first inning. But with one out in the second, sophomore Mackenzie Obert drilled a ball into the right-field corner that she turned into an inside-the-park homer.
"I think Coach told me to stop at third, but I didn't hear him," Obert said of the slight hesitation she made at third before streaking home.
The Falcons were aggressive. Devine singled three times and stole second twice and third once. She scored twice, once in a three-run third inning. Obert's homer was the Falcons' only extra base hit.
"We wanted to be aggressive," McSherry said. "We knew Parkins is a tough pitcher, so we wanted to put pressure on their defense. That was a fine performance by Val [Buehler], too.
Buehler allowed only one hit, a one-out double by Brit Beebe in the fourth inning, but Beebe was stranded at second. Buehler also struck out one batter.
Parkins, a senior headed to Shippensburg, fanned eight and did not walk a batter.
"It was a tad disappointing to lose after we had been playing so well," she said. "We made solid contact with our bats but didn't get the hits.
Souderton coach Courtney Hughes will lose only Parkins and catcher Mollie Burrell to graduation.
"Liz Parkins brought a lot of things to this team, but mostly she brought chemistry," Hughes said. "She's always the happiest."
Pennsbury 0130001 - 571
Souderton 0000000 - 011
WP: Val Buehler. LP: Liz Parkins. 2B: S-Brit Beebe. HR: P-MacKenzie Obert.