For Northern Tier Sports Report
ERIE – The Penn State Altoona softball team won its third Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship in program history on Saturday, capping an impressive postseason run that saw the Lions go 6-1 in the playoffs, including knocking off the defending champion and number one seed in back-to-back games to wrap up the title. 

Entering championship Saturday of the double-elimination tournament, third seed Penn State Altoona (25-12) needed to defeat number one seed Penn State Behrend (23-19) twice on its home field to win the AMCC, and the Lions did just that. In game one, Penn State Altoona earned a 10-2 eight-run rule win over Behrend, then closed the deal with a 9-4 victory in game two. 

With its AMCC championship win, Penn State Altoona earns the conference’s automatic qualification to compete in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Lions will head to an NCAA regional later this upcoming week, with the announcement of the full schedule and matchups expected to come on Monday from the NCAA office. 

Game One: #3 Penn State Altoona 10, #1 Penn State Behrend 2 (Final/6 innings) 

Penn State Altoona snapped a nine-game losing streak to Behrend with a convincing win in the opening contest of Saturday’s AMCC championship series. The Lions put six runs on the board in the top of the first, en route to a run-rule-shortened win over the top seed and tournament hosts. 

Five different Penn State Altoona hitters finished with a multi-hit game. 

Towanda’s Maddie Maynard went 3-for-4 at the plate for Penn State Altoona with three runs batted in, and Karli Storm was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI, a run scored, and a walk. 

Gianna Hoppel was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a walk, Madison Peters was 2-for-3 with two RBI, a run scored, and a walk, and Alyssa Fisher went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Hanna Lauck finished with two runs scored, one RBI, and one walk. 

In the pitching circle, Peters tossed a complete game to earn her 18th victory of the season. The right-hander allowed just two runs on four hits and no walks, and she struck out three batters. 

Penn State Altoona made a statement to start Saturday’s opening game by getting six runs across in the top of the first. With the bases loaded and one out, back-to-back bases-loaded walks drawn by Storm and Lauck brought in the first two runs, and Peters helped her own cause with an RBI single to right. 

After a Behrend pitching change, Maynard drove in a pair with her base hit to left, and Fisher’s RBI single down the left-field line made it 6-0. 

Behrend answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, when Jocelyn McNany’s two-run homer to left trimmed the Penn State Altoona lead to 6-2. 

But Peters and the Lions kept Behrend off the scoreboard the rest of the way, and the Lions added to their run total later in the contest. 

In the top of the fourth, Storm’s two-out, two-run double to left made it 8-2. Penn State Altoona expanded its advantage to eight in the sixth, when back-to-back two-out RBI hits from Peters and Maynard put the Lions’ lead at 10-2. 

Peters retired the Behrend side in order in the bottom of the sixth, and Penn State Altoona survived game one to face the home team one more time for the conference championship. 

Game Two: #3 Penn State Altoona 9, #1 Penn State Behrend 4 

Needing to defeat Behrend once more to claim the AMCC title, Penn State Altoona again established a big lead early in the game, then rode it out to victory. 

The Lions scored five runs in the top of the first and led by as many as seven, posting another emphatic win over last year’s AMCC champions. 

The Lions’ offense continued to find success at the plate, as six different hitters finished with two or more hits. 

Fisher was 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored, while Hoppel was also 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. 

Aubrey Dotts finished 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and Brooke Colledge went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Maynard and Storm both finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, with Storm driving in two runs and Maynard recording one RBI. 

Madison Lucas was 1-for-2 with a run scored. Peters also had a hit and an RBI, and Lauck scored one run and walked once. 

Peters picked up win number 19 in the pitching circle with another complete game. In seven innings, she limited Behrend to two earned runs on five hits and a walk, and she notched two strikeouts. 

Penn State Altoona started game two with another strong top of the first. Fisher opened the frame with a triple down the right-field line, and she scored when Colledge hit a sacrifice fly to center. RBI singles from Storm, Peters, and Maynard drove in three more runs for the Lions, and Lauck came home when Dotts was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 5-0. 

Behrend came up with a two-out hit to get on the board in the bottom of the third. With two away, McNany’s two-run single to left cut the Penn State Altoona lead to three, 5-2. 

But Penn State Altoona answered quickly, getting a run back in the top of the fourth on Storm’s RBI single to right. In the fifth, Fisher’s two-run double to right center and Hoppel’s RBI fielder’s choice gave the Lions a seven-run advantage, 9-2. 

Behrend scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run home run from Sierra Williams, but Penn State Altoona shut down any comeback hopes by the home team, finishing the inning without allowing any further damage to clinch its third AMCC championship win. 

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