Montgomery earns first D4 playoff win since 2011 - 2018 NTL and District 4 News -

Montgomery earns first D4 playoff win since 2011.

By: Chris Masse | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | May 24, 2018


MONTGOMERY — Emily Snyder ended the game, throwing a perfect pitch. She closed out Montgomery's first playoff win since 2011 by spotting a fastball on the inside corner which froze Bucktail's final hitter.

Not every pitch Snyder threw Wednesday was that perfect. It just often felt that way.

Snyder owned the playoff stage, throwing a three-hitter and matching a career-high with 14 strikeouts as Montgomery edged Bucktail, 3-2, in a well-played District 4 Class A quarterfinal. Snyder surrendered just one hit over the final six innings and Montgomery (12-6) earned a spot against defending champion Northeast Bradford in Friday's semifinals at Turbotville's Moser Complex.

"I think I was hitting my spots pretty well and this is one of the better games I've pitched," Snyder said. "I like the pressure."

That is good because Bucktail (8-10) did its best to apply some as Myka Poorman threw a five-hitter against a team which had scored 45 runs in its last three games. Snyder, however, looked untouchable after the first inning and when Riley Fry hit a clutch, two-run, two-out double in the third inning to put Montgomery up, 3-1, which felt like the margin was 13-1.

Bucktail scored a sixth-inning run without a hit, but Snyder struck out the last four hitters and fanned the side in the seventh on 13 pitches. The Bucks scored a two-out run in the first inning when Poorman singled and scored on Emily Cross's single, but Snyder dominated from there and ended Montgomery's seven-year playoff win drought.

"I feel more confident. I have a good defense to back me up and it's been going pretty good," Snyder said. "I feel like I've made a ton of improvement. I just keep practicing more and more and learning new pitches."

Coach Chris Glenn has played a role in her development, as have assistant coaches Harry Overdorf Sr. and Harry Overdorf Jr.

Overdorf Sr. was a pitching coach at Lock Haven University and still throws for the Jersey Shore fastpitch team. He can literally show Snyder ways to improve, and she has taken those lessons in stride.

Snyder has struck out at least eight batters in nine of her last 17 games and has allowed just two runs in her last four games. This is a young team that has made big strides and Snyder has helped power that surge.

"She was a little nervous in the first inning, but after that she was the same old Emily and was really hitting her spots," Glenn said. "I owe that all to the pitching coaches. The vast amount of experience these guys have with pitching is unbelievable. It's a big plus having those two."

Bucktail won four straight games to reach the postseason for a second straight year and nearly made the semifinals again. It has been quite an ascension for a program that before last season had never made the playoffs. The Bucks pushed Montgomery hard, but Fry's two-run double changed the game's complexion.

Montgomery had tied it in the second inning when Morgan Tupper (2 for 3), hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a Breanna Segraves bunt and scored on a passed ball. An inning later Abby Stryker drew a one-out walk and Bucktail intentionally walked Snyder with two outs after she doubled in the first inning. Fry then delivered the biggest hit of her young scholastic career.

The sophomore third baseman tattooed a ball into deep center field, easily scoring Stryker and Snyder as Montgomery went up 3-1. Fry entered the game with a .490 batting average and shined in her first playoff game.

"Riley has great hand-eye coordination and very seldom does she strike out," Glenn said. "She tagged that thing. That was a nice shot so all that hard work paid off. If there is anyone I want up that can put the ball in play it's Riley. She's a tough out."

Montgomery missed on opportunities to extend its lead in the fourth and sixth innings. Cross, who was injured in the first inning, never missed a batter and made a super play on a wild pitch that bounced off the fence, beating Tupper to home in the fourth. Two innings later, Poorman worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam.

The Raiders, though, never buckled and are semifinal bound for the first time in seven years despite having no seniors. The Raiders have won eight of their last 10 games, including four straight, and are a win from reaching states for the first time since 2010.

"The girls work hard. From the beginning of the year they have never griped about practice," Glenn said. "You can talk to them and they always listen and they want to get better. I haven't been happier in my entire coaching career. I'm lucky enough to coach a great group of kids and I have a great group of coaches. I absolutely just love it here."