By Mark Zimmaro
Conwell-Egan High School will be the first school in Philadelphia Catholic League history to play for a softball state championship.
The remarkable postseason run started on June 6 as the Eagles defeated Williams Valley, 10-4, at home in a come-from-behind 10-4 victory. The Eagles then hit the road and followed it with a 7-5 victory over Southern Huntingdon in the quarterfinal round at Millersville University and a 7-2 win over Claysburg-Kimmel in the semifinal round.
The Eagles will face Neshannock High School in the PIAA Class 2A state championship on June 17 at Penn State University at 11 a.m.
Conwell-Egan’s playoff-opening victory over Williams Valley was doubly-enjoyable. The Eagles hadn’t won a state playoff game since 2013, which had represented the only playoff win in the program’s history. They had also lost to Williams Valley, 15-0, in the first round of the playoffs last year.
“We were pretty confident going in [to the game] but we did remember what they did to us last year,” said senior catcher Angelina Bresnen after the victory over Williams Valley. “And we did start out a little flat, but once Katey [Brennan] stole that home run from them, it really turned things around.”
Brennan, a junior who was awarded the Philadelphia Catholic League Player of the Year, made a diving grab over the fence to prevent a home run with the game tied 4-4 in the fifth inning.
“I knew I was getting near the fence,” Brennan said. “But I wasn’t going to stop because it was a tied game and I needed to catch the ball. I wasn’t going to drop it.”
Teammate Molly Milewski followed with a three-run double to swing the Eagles in front. The Eagles have been on a roll ever since.
“It’s crazy,” Milewski said after the first-round win. “We haven’t won a playoff game since 2013. After the first couple of innings we just woke up and got going.”
They haven’t stopped. Ahlana Sesar sealed it with some superb pitching and has fueled the Eagles to three consecutive playoff wins and into the state championship game for the first time in school history.