Beaver Area softball repeats as WPIAL Class 4A Champion

Gwen Catherine

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CALIFORNIA ― It can be argued that the thing Amy Haggart’s team does worst also happens to be the thing it strives to do most. Through 19 games this season, the only visible flaw with the Beaver Area High School softball team is its ability to celebrate.

After putting on a dominant display of their talents Friday afternoon at California University of Pennsylvania’s Lilley Field against Elizabeth Forward in the WPIAL Class 4A championship game, the top-seeded Bobcats’ lone shortcoming was exposed. As freshman catcher Sami Springman corralled in a weak pop-up just a few feet down the first-base line to secure her team’s 6-0 victory, there were little to no jumps for joy; there was no rush out of the dugout or a dogpile in the pitching circle.

Despite the Bobcats capturing their second consecutive WPIAL title, their reaction was as if it was business as usual. Winners of now 40 in a row, success has become an expectation.

“It’s been the expectation since the end of last year,” Haggart said. “Coming into this year, we knew it was going to be a little bit harder of a battle for us because we did lose five great seniors. But some of the returning players from last year and three freshmen stepped it up big time for us. …These kids have fought for the entire year.”

No. 1 Beaver Area (19-0) wasted no time pouncing on No. 2 Elizabeth Forward (16-3) to defend its District 7 crown. Following a scoreless top half of the first inning, Kayla Cornell gave the Bobcats a 2-0 lead with a two-out double in the bottom end of the frame.

Two-out lightning would go on to become the theme of the day for the Bobcats, who plated all six of their runs with just one out to spare. In the third inning, sophomore Chloe List made the score 3-0 with a triple to center field. Beaver Area then gained three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a two-run double from Sami Springman, followed by an RBI single from Hanna Crowe.

Beaver's Chloe List reacts after hitting a triple during the WPIAL Class 4A  championship against Elizabeth Forward, Friday, June 3 at California University.

Beaver’s Chloe List reacts after hitting a triple during the WPIAL Class 4A championship against Elizabeth Forward, Friday, June 3 at California University.

“That’s just them,” Haggart said of her team’s ability to hit in the clutch. “They’ve been like that for two years now.”

Numerous Bobcats had an impact offensively, but as has been the case for most of their 40-game win streak, it was senior Payton List who led the way. On the mound, the Virginia Tech commit was once again brilliant, striking out 14 while walking none in her complete-game, two-hit shutout.

Although the numbers show she was in control from start to finish, the senior was involved in the contest’s most dramatic moment, which came in the bottom of the second inning when she was hit by a pitch on her left elbow.

Before List made it all the way to first base, the pain began to set in. After being examined by the Beaver Area training staff, the 2021 Beaver County Times Girls’ Athlete of the Year was removed from the game temporarily, leaving the hundreds in attendance to wonder if she’d return for the third.

While some believed her day was over, those inside the Bobcats’ dugout knew there was no chance the senior star was finished.

Beaver's Payton List throws during the WPIAL Class 4A  championship against Elizabeth Forward, Friday, June 3 at California University.

Beaver’s Payton List throws during the WPIAL Class 4A championship against Elizabeth Forward, Friday, June 3 at California University.

“There was no doubt that she was coming back out,” Haggart said. “She has a pretty decent bruise on her arm right now, and I think she got hit right up near the nerve and it’s giving her some problems. But I knew she just needed that little amount of rest.”

List battled through the pain for the remainder of the contest, displaying just how much winning means to her and her teammates. Toward the end of the game, the senior was unable to completely straighten her left arm. During the postgame ceremony when her team was presented with the first place trophy, List quickly had to pass it off to a teammate because the weight was simply too much.

A red circular welt from the ball could be seen on her elbow from yards away. But List didn’t seem to care. She and her teammates were more focused on the gold medals around their necks.

“It was really impressive to see her fight through all that pain,” said Springman, List’s catcher. “It just shows you how tough she is.”

The Beaver Bobcats pose with the WPIAL Class 4A  championship trophy after defeating Elizabeth Forward, Friday, June 3 at California University.

The Beaver Bobcats pose with the WPIAL Class 4A championship trophy after defeating Elizabeth Forward, Friday, June 3 at California University.

“The first thing that went through my mind when I got hit by that pitch was, ‘I’m definitely ge
tting back out on that mound and pitching for my team again,’” Payton List said. “We all had to fight through stuff throughout the season. That’s what it takes to win a championship.”

From List’s toughness to other returning starters once again coming through, to the newcomers stepping up in their first time on the big stage, Beaver Area showed why it’s the victory-producing machine that it’s come to be. After the game, each player’s answers were consistent with where the club’s attention was. A WPIAL championship was nice, but the job was far from over.

“It feels good to win, but we’re not done yet,” Taylor Young, who went 3-for-4 win a pair of runs scored, said.

“We have a lot more winning to do,” Chloe List added.

“Today was fun,” Payton List said, “but we are focused on something much bigger, and it’s been that way from the start.”

The main goal of course is a state championship, which is now four wins away. If Haggart’s team can make it happen once again, maybe then, fans in attendance will be treated to a true celebration.

Contact Noah Hiles at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter @_NoahHiles.

This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Business as usual: Beaver softball repeats as champion in WPIAL Class 4A



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