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Big 5th lifts Lancers to league title

Central erupted for eight runs and beat CAPA for its ninth championship in the last 11 years.

Defending champion Central continued its decade-long domination of Public League softball yesterday, scoring a 10-5 win over CAPA at Temple University's Ambler campus for the overall league title and the top spot in District 12.

It was the Lancers' ninth league title in the last 11 years and their fourth consecutive district crown since the league joined the PIAA four years ago.

The win also marked the last Public League game for Central coach Frank Greco, who started the softball program at the school 22 years ago. He said he was "not retiring, but stepping down from softball."

"I've been the only coach, and I've been very fortunate," Greco said as his players held up a huge banner declaring themselves the 2008 league champions. "I've had a great group of girls over the years."

The Lancers (14-2) will go to the PIAA Class AAAA state playoffs on June 2, when they will face the second-place team from District 1 at the Ambler campus. CAPA (13-2) will play the District 1 Class AAA runner-up as part of an afternoon doubleheader that day.

The District 1 playoffs are still going on.

Central, which trailed, 4-2, going into the bottom of the fifth inning, had only six hits off losing pitcher Amanda Whalen but collected four of them in that inning. That, coupled with some sloppy play and four walks, led to the Pegasus' undoing.

Winning pitcher Liz Donnelly, who allowed only three hits, got one of the two extra-base hits of the game in that inning, a run-scoring double to left-center.

"I just kept running," Donnelly said. "I knew how bad we wanted the win."

Donnelly said she was confident her team could come back after CAPA touched her for four runs in the second inning. The Pegasus got the runs on a single by Whalen, a couple of walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch.

"I knew I had to get my head on straight," Donnelly said. I was sure we'd get the runs back, but I had to shut CAPA down."

She did so until the sixth, when CAPA tacked on a run. Over the remaining five innings, Donnelly struck out six, two of them to end the third inning, when CAPA got a runner to third with one out.

The Pegasus were playing with a young lineup by the time the game ended. Three starters were out because of injuries suffered in earlier games, then two more, Amanda Miller and Toni Palmer, were hurt yesterday.

"We had six freshmen out there," coach John Hacker said.

CAPA 040 001 0 - 5 3 4

Central 100 180 x - 10 4 1

WP: Liz Donnelly. LP: Amanda Whalen. 2B: CAPA: Whalen. C-Donnelly.