Fan Support Fueled Lady Mounties Run – Webb Weekly Online

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Fan Support Fueled Lady Mounties Run

Front row (left to right) – Kendall Cardone, Mikiaya Hills, Maddie Pinkerton, Alizabeth Schuler, Gianna Goodman, Emily Holtzapple.
Back row (left to right) – Carly Loudenslager, Lily Brewer, Jewelana Jasper, Allison Nolan, Sage Lorson, Abby Lorson, Lily Reidy, Emma McLaughlin.
Not pictured – Alyssa Barnes.
(Photo courtesy of Albright Studio.)

The numbers flashed on the scoreboard at Penn State University’s softball field closed the final chapter of South Williamsport’s season but did nothing to take away the excitement, accomplishments, and memories contained in the many pages of the year-long story penned by the young ladies proudly wearing the Mountaineers blue & white.

From the bitter cold days of a preseason scrimmage at Lake Lehman to the scorching heat at far-away Lyons, PA (population 439) and the playoff college sites at Wilkes, Lock Haven, and State College, the team gave its legion of traveling fans plenty to both cheer about and remember, but also to hope for the 2025 season ahead.

Much has been written about South Williamsport softball since the days of their Little League career when many of the current team members played in the 2019 Little League World Series in Portland, Oregon. Many of the same fans that followed them across the county were there to fill the stands in Happy Valley and the PIAA AA State Championship game.

While the chase for PIAA gold turned into silver, falling to state powerhouse Neshannock 12-2, even the sting of a ten-run rule-shortened game didn’t dismay the loyalty of the Mounties fan base, who have made their presence felt throughout the team’s 24-3 season.

Not only do they show up for games, but their support has been there at every turn. Two hundred people turned out at South Williamsport’s final practice of the season, turning the session into a community pep rally. Arriving home from State College in a driving rainstorm, the team was escorted through the South Williamsport streets by a bevy of police cars and fire trucks with their sirens blaring. Appreciative fans waved from homes and businesses as the players waved and cheered those standing in the rain greeting them.

Playing an independent regular season, coach Tom O’Malley’s crew played a highly competitive schedule, paving the way to the state championship. Getting to the playoffs, the team’s 20 games included opponents from five PIAA classifications: 1A, 3 AA, 8AAA, 5AAAA, and 3AAAAA. Along the way, only three opponents scored more than three runs in a game.

The overall strength of the teams played is reflected by their appearances in the PIAA state playoffs. Opponents from Bucktail, Loyalsock, Midd-West, Williams Valley, Central Mountain, and Pittston all qualified for the state tournament, with Pittston reaching the 5A championship game.

As the team lined up to accept their silver medals along the third baseline at Penn State, appreciative cheers rained down upon them. Among them were chants of “we’ll be back,” referencing hopes for next year’s season. Such a scenario is a long way off, and there is more work and improvement to accomplish. Unless it has been experienced, it is hard to comprehend just how hard it is to get to a state championship game. That remains an epilogue to this year’s story.

This year’s narrative has been written, and although second place was not the Lady Mounties’ primary goal, the team they played on June 14 was the better team.

Neshannock, the powerhouse from western PA, closed out its second undefeated state championship season in the past three years. During that time, they have compiled a 74-1 record, losing only to the 2023 state champ Everett in the 2023 state semi-finals. Throughout the 2024 season, MaxPreps has had them ranked as the state’s number-one team among all six of the PIAA classifications.

Those who have seen them play can attest that they are to Pennsylvania AA softball what Southern Columbia is to AA football. They are more than a team — they are a machine.

These Lady Mounties saw that first-hand. While more work lies ahead, the South Williamsport players, fans, and community will all look back on 2024 as a season to truly remember.