According to coach Joe DiFilippo's calculations, his Hatboro-Horsham softball team is two-thirds of the way toward its goals for the year.
"We said we wanted to win the Suburban One League Continental championship, the District 1 [Class AAAA] championship, and the PIAA championship," DiFilippo said after his team clinched the district title last week. With the conference and district titles in hand, the Hatters will open their bid for a state title Monday in a first-round game against Governor Mifflin, the third-place team from District 3, at Spring-Ford High.
The Hatters are one of 14 area teams in the running for state crowns in four classes.
Joining the Hatters in Class AAAA will be Pennsbury, Neshaminy, Spring-Ford, and Souderton from District 1 and Archbishop Ryan and Northeast from District 12.
Hatboro-Horsham (22-2) is looking for its second state championship in school history. The Hatters won it all in 2008 after finishing as runners-up in 2006. They made it to the semifinals last season, one of the reasons for DiFilippo's optimism this year.
As usual, the Hatters will look to the pitching of Meg Shaffer, a strong hitting lineup, and usually strong defense against the Mustangs.
Shaffer, a junior, did not allow an earned run in the Hatters' three district playoff wins. Pennsbury scored five runs in the district championship game, but errors, uncharacteristic of the Hatters, figured in all of them.
"She hits 95 percent of her spots and is always around the plate," said DiFilippo. "That's why she gets close calls."
Governor Mifflin (15-8) reached the semifinals of the District 3 tourney, losing to eventual champ Central Dauphin.
Pennsbury (20-3), the No. 2 team from District 1, is expected to have little trouble in its opener with Northeast (13-2), the District 12 second place team, at Spring-Ford.
Souderton (17-5), the fifth-place team from District 1, opens against Central Dauphin (20-3) at Lebanon Valley College in Annville. Central Dauphin defeated New Oxford (23-3) for its first District 3 title since 1998.
Souderton has been this area's surprise team, thanks in part to pitcher Liz Parkins, who has been on a roll in the playoffs. She had 30 strikeouts in her last two games.
Neshaminy (18-4), the Suburban One League's fourth representative in the state playoffs, has the task of tackling District 11 champion Easton at Patriots Park in Allentown. Easton comes into the playoffs having beaten Pleasant Valley, 9-8, in the district final.
Spring-Ford (19-7) travels to Sunbury to play District 4 champion Williamsport. Ryan, the top-ranked AAAA team from District 12, goes to to Temple's Ambler campus for its opener against New Oxford.
Class AAA. Pope John Paul II, in its first year of competition after the merger of Kennedy-Kenrick and St. Pius X, opens the state tourney at West Chester East against Donegal, the second place team from District 3. Donegal is 18-6 while the Golden Panthers are 13-9.
Lansdale Catholic, which won the Catholic League championship and is the top team from District 12, draws a tough opponent in Bethlehem Catholic at Allentown. Sophomore Joelle Morey pitched a three-hitter for Bethlehem Catholic to beat Southern Lehigh, 4-1, in the district title game.
Pottsgrove, which pulled off the upset of the District 1 playoffs when it knocked off top seed Nazareth Academy, meets Manheim Central at Millersville University in its opener. Manheim Central is the District 3 champ. It beat Donegal in the final.
Class AA. Christopher Dock, the District 1 winner, faces Masterman, the District 12 representative, at Temple's Ambler Campus.
Class A. In Class AA, District 1 champ Bristol meets GAMP, the District 12 representative, at West Chester East.
The Inquirer TOP 10
Records are through Friday.
Last week's rankings in parentheses.
1. Hatboro-Horsham (1) 22-2
2. Pennsbury (2) 20-3
3. Neshaminy (4) 18-4
4. Owen J. Roberts (9) 19-5
5. Spring-Ford (10) 19-7
6. Souderton (8) 17-5
7. Bishop Shanahan (6) 15-3
8. Downingtown W. (7) 15-7
9. Nazareth Ac. (5) 17-2
10. North Penn (10) 14-8
- Don Beideman