Conemaugh Township Indians

Rockwood’s Sam Emert arrives safely at second base on a double to center during the top of the first inning in Wednesday’s District 5 Class A semifinal at Shanksville, beating the tag by Conemaugh Township second baseman Leeah Michalides. Rockwood won, 2-1. See more photos at

Rockwood win over Township earns shot at District 5 title

By: Shawn Curtis

SHANKSVILLE — With a berth in the District 5 Class A title game hanging in the balance, Rockwood coach John Emert played a hunch. Again. 
With his Rockets clinging to a one-run lead over No. 2 seed Conemaugh Township with two gone in the seventh, Emert ordered a base on balls to Kayla Luprek to load the bases with Leeah Michalides on deck.
Two innings earlier with Rockwood clinging to the same lead, a walk to Luprek – who had two of Conemaugh Township’s six hits – loaded the bases and preceded a sharply hit fly ball by Michalides to center, where Kayla Phillippi snared it to quell that Indians rally. In the seventh, a soft fly ball floated over the head of second baseman Katie Miller, but not her outstretched glove.
That over-the-shoulder catch by Miller left three Indians on base, again, and preserved the Rockets’ 2-1 win at Shanksville-Stonycreek High School.
“(Luprek’s run) meant nothing,” Emert said. “We’re up one, if she’s on first, she’s the third run. It really was a no-brainer. She’s been a great hitter for (Conemaugh Township) all year long.”
As for the catch? 
“We had a drill that we went over a lot in the preseason about turning and catching it,” Emert said. “She actually didn’t do it correctly, but she caught it.”  
The Rockets advance to face fifth-seeded HOPE for Hyndman in today’s 5-A title game at Bedford. The Hornets blanked top-seeded Shade 6-0 on Tuesday.
“Rockwood never gets these opportunities,” Rockwood pitcher Sam Emert said of the championship-game berth. “It feels great. I’m excited. The team’s excited. Our confidence is at an all-time high.” 
The Indians’ season ends at 17-4.
“We’ve benefitted in some close games this year,” Conemaugh Township assistant coach Chad Rininger said. “And it seems that the softball gods find a way to even it out through the system. (Rockwood) is a good team, Sam keeps them in it and they got enough hits. We were just one hit shy.”
Indians coach Rod Jarvis attended a funeral service on Wednesday and was not able to be at the game.
“I was hoping to get another game for Coach Jarvis,” an emotional Rininger said. “It’s tough ... Because he couldn’t make it today and we couldn’t bring him a win.” 
Rockwood (12-8) built a 2-0 lead over the first three innings with Sam Emert reaching base and scoring both times on singles by clean-up hitter Kylie Putman. In the first, Emert doubled to center and came home on a Putman single up the middle.
In the third, Sam Emert drew a walk, took second on a walk to Hannah Holt before scoring on Putman’s single to left.
The younger Emert wasn’t too shabby in the circle, either, striking out seven and working out of the two bases-loaded situations along with another multirunner jam in the first.
“Sam’s carried us all year,” John Emert said of his daughter. “She throws strikes. I count on her a lot ... We’ve rode her all year and continue to ride her.” 
That first-inning stress was caused when Abby Roberts worked a one-out walk before a Luprek single moved her to third. Luprek ended up on second thanks to the throw to third.
From there, Michalides lined out to Sam Emert and Brittany Siehl grounded out to Miller at second to end that threat.
Luprek’s single to lead off the fourth led to Conemaugh Township’s lone run when Tara Rosa’s infield popup landed in front of Miller and spun in the dirt, allowing Luprek to score as Rosa reached first safely. 
Siehl fanned five and allowed just three baserunners over the final four innings.