Exeter completed its tear through the Berks Softball League on Thursday night with a championship.
The top-seeded Eagles defeated No. 7 seed Brandywine Heights 4-2 in the championship game at Lyons to capture their first Berks title since 2016.
“This team started working in the middle of last season and they haven’t stopped,” said Eagles coach John Casner, whose team went 11-1 to win Berks I. “This was one of their goals, and they worked hard at it every game.”
Trailing 2-1, Exeter (18-2) orchestrated a game-winning, three-run rally in the fifth inning. After a leadoff single from shortstop Haley Speicher, center fielder Taylor Mentzer followed with an RBI triple, knocking in Speicher and igniting the Eagles’ offense.
“We needed hits at that point,” Mentzer said. “I just wanted contact.”
Mentzer scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a throwing error later in the inning that gave Exeter a 3-2 lead. The Eagles added to their lead with an RBI single from catcher Taylor Knaub, which drove in courtesy runner Alexis Turner to make it 4-2.
“We kept our composure really well,” Mentzer said. “We knew that we could come back.”
In the first county title game of her career, Mentzer went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run. Mentzer, a senior, has led Exeter throughout the county playoffs, hitting a walk-off RBI single in 6-5, eight-inning win over Twin Valley in the semifinals and a two-run home run in a 6-1 win over Gov. Mifflin in the quarterfinals.
“It’s awesome,” Mentzer said about winning the championship. “We all put so much work into this and to have the results come in this game, it’s a really good feeling.”
With the lead, the Eagles remained in front over the final two innings thanks in large part to pitcher Morgan Herb, who allowed just six hits and two runs, both unearned, while striking out nine in seven innings.
“Lights out,” Casner said of Herb. “She hit her spots really well.”
Herb walks just two and threw 75 of her 103 pitches for strikes. At the plate, she went 1-for-2 with a walk.
“I’m so proud of the girls,” Herb said. “It’s just a great feeling.”
Herb allowed her only runs of the game in the third inning as Brandywine Heights (17-5) grabbed a 2-0 lead. Pitcher Meghann Schuster hit a single to drive in second baseman Alyssa Bortz before designated player Elyse Stufflet hit a single, which knocked in shortstop Aubrey Reinert.
Schuster allowed four runs, three of them earned, in six innings.
Outside of its fifth-inning rally, Exeter scored its only other in the fourth as the Bullets committed an error on a groundball hit by Cheyenne Boyles, which allowed Turner to score from third base. A speedy courtesy runner, Turner played a crucial role in the game, scoring two of the Eagles’ four runs.
“It was a team effort today,” Mentzer said. “Everyone did their part.”
The top five hitters in Exeter’s lineup each recorded a hit. In addition to Mentzer, Speicher and catcher Taylor Knaub each recorded two hits for the Eagles.
“We’ve been working so hard this season,” Speicher said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Source: Berkshire mont