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Hatters advance on clutch hit

Catcher Jessie James stroked a 212-foot RBI double in the eighth as her team moved on to Monday's semifinal.

Hatboro-Horsham senior catcher Jessie James said it was the hardest ball she had hit all season.

The Hatters' No. 2 hitter was talking about her double off the fence at Spring-Ford yesterday that gave the Hatters a 1-0 eight-inning win over Garnet Valley in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAAA softball playoffs.

James' 212-foot poke scored Brittany Schlorff, who got on base on a single, with the game's only run. The win puts the Hatters in a semifinal matchup Monday against the winner of yesterday's quarterfinal game between Owen J. Roberts and Delaware Valley, the District 2 champ.

The Wildcats stunned the top-seeded Hatters in the district finals. The time and place for the semifinal game have not been determined. The PIAA finals are set for June 13 at Shippensburg University.

"I was just looking for a single to get Brittany home," James said of her clutch hit. "I didn't see where it went. I just put my head down and ran. I'm not the speediest person."

Earlier in the game, James had given the Hatters a scare when she went down after being forced out at second base following a single.

"I tweaked my knee a little," James said. "Coming off [knee ligament] surgery, I was concerned."

While James provided the offensive punch for the Hatters (23-2), first baseman Heather Hannum and centerfielder Jenna Phillips turned in critical defensive plays.

In the fourth inning, Hannum turned a liner off the bat of Nicki Spina into a double play with one out and a runner on first. In the sixth inning, Phillips doubled up Courtney Fox trying to go from second to third on a fly ball.

"As soon as I saw the ball in the air, I knew Jenna was going to make that play," said winning pitcher Amanda Sadowl.

Hatters outfielders have thrown out opposing baserunners after making catches in their last three games. It was also the third win for the Hatters over the Jaguars (18-5), the third-place team from District 1, this season. They met during the regular season and in the district semifinals.

Losing pitcher Courtney Spina matched Sadowl with a four-hitter. She struck out six, but her team never mustered more than one hit in an innning.

"We couldn't put the bunt down, and we didn't get the timely hits," said Garnet Valley coach Mike DiLuzio.

Hatboro-Horsham 000 000 01 - 1 4 0

Garnet Valley 000 000 00 - 0 4 1

WP: Amanda Sadowl. LP: Courtney Spina. 2B: HH-Jessie James.