Shaler's Dream Softball Season Ends
Santoni, Matthew, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
SHIPPENSBURG -- Shaler's young Titans had a remarkable run through the WPIAL and PIAA softball playoffs. Unfortunately, they have nothing to show for it.
Two weeks after losing the WPIAL championship by one run, Shaler was upended in the PIAA Class AAAA title game Friday by District 11 runner-up Parkland, 5-1, at Shippensburg University's Robb Field.
Despite missing a chance for a gold medal again, Shaler coach Skip Palmer is not disappointed with his Titans (16-6), who feature four underclassmen and no seniors in their starting lineup.
"I'm not frustrated at all," Palmer said. "I'm proud of my girls. I'm so proud of what they've done, what they've accomplished. I told them there's no guarantee, but I'd like to be back next year. I've got my whole starting squad coming back, so I'm not frustrated at all."
The title game appearance was Shaler's fourth since 2004. The team previously won gold medals in '04 (AAA) and '06 (AAAA). That '06 squad is still the only WPIAL team to win a AAAA state title. The classification was introduced to PIAA softball in '05.
Parkland claimed its fourth state softball championship in school history. The victory also sent Parkland coach Glen Ray into the sunset on a high note. After 26 years of coaching, he's retiring from the Parkland bench.
"You could dream about it or imagine 'What if,' but all the 'what ifs' usually don't happen," Ray said of ending his career with a state title. "But this time, it did."
Ray's team was on its heels to begin the game. Shaler took advantage of some Parkland mistakes in the first inning.
Shaler center fielder Gina Goss led off with a single against starter Deanna Stinner, a Division I recruit who is going to St. Joseph's University.
Then, freshman Jessie Vannucci reached base on an error. …