The Tunkhannock softball team heads to Penn State’s Beard Field for a 1:30 p.m. game Thursday against unbeaten Beaver for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A state championship.
Tunkhannock, the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 and District 2 Class 4A champion, has won 23 of 24 games since a season-opening loss to Williamsport. Pittston Area, the second-place team in WVC Division 1, handed the Lady Tigers their only loss since the opener.
Beaver, the District 7 champion, is 20-0.
Pitcher Payton List, who is committed to Virginia Tech on a softball scholarship, leads the way for Beaver.
List has 217 strikeouts while posting an 0.44 earned run average and giving up just 38 hits and 39 walks in 111 innings. She also leads an offense that bats .342 and averages 8.7 runs per game. List is batting .419 with 14 extra-base hits, 5 of them homers, all of them team-high totals.
There are four players, including List, with between 23 and 25 runs batted in.
Sophomore third baseman/outfielder Kayla Cornell has 25 RBI to go along with a .400 average. Senior second baseman/catcher MacKenzie Boyd has a .406 average and 24 RBI. Senior first baseman Emilee Hohenshel has driven in 23 runs while batting .385.
Both teams are pursuing their first state titles.
Tunkhannock has won games in three of the last four state tournaments, reaching the finals twice. Its only previous appearance had been a loss in 1999 before reaching the 2017 final, then the 2018 quarterfinals. The Lady Tigers lost to Mount Pleasant, 5-3, in the 2017 final.
Beaver reached the quarterfinals in Class 2A, in the previous four-classification system, in its earlier appearance in 2014.
Tunkhannock’s championship game appearance is the first of three by District 2 teams at Penn State.
The Wyoming Area baseball and Mid Valley softball teams play state championship games Friday at 1:30. Wyoming Area faces New Castle in Class 4A and Mid Valley takes on Mount Pleasant in Class 3A.