CLAYSVILLE – Casey Craig wasn’t about to panic when the Chartiers-Houston softball team went down in order in each of the first three innings Thursday.
The breakthrough would come, Craig assured herself. Just see as many pitches from McGuffey starter Cassie Weiss as possible, and when you get one you like, drive it.
After scoring one run in the top of the fourth, Chartiers-Houston struck for five in the top of the fifth, an avalanche of runs that included a pair of two-run doubles from Craig and Toni Spossey and carried the Bucs to a 10-0 victory in a six-inning game in Claysville.
“Once somebody starts it, we can get a rally going,” said Craig, who added a two-run triple in the Bucs’ four-run sixth to finish 3-for-4 with four RBI. “It pumps us up.”
The win helped Chartiers-Houston improve to 10-0 in Section 2-AA, 13-0 overall. With only two games to play, the Bucs are assured at least a share of the section title for the fourth consecutive season.
Spossey, a sophomore who transferred this offseason from Trinity and was recently declared eligible by the PIAA, started behind the plate and went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Her single in the sixth scored one of four runs for Chartiers-Houston with two outs in the inning, and it also came up the middle – a spot the Bucs were able to exploit all day.
“Hitting the ball where it was pitched and finding open spots in the field,” Spossey said.
First baseman Piper McLaughlin was 2-for-4 with and RBI and two runs scored; pitcher Kayla Briggs had two hits and scored three runs, the first after never breaking stride and taking advantage of a botched throw on a bunt by McGuffey; and designated player Sam Elliott drove a double to right.
“We had a lot of girls step up because it was a big-time game,” Craig said.
Briggs, who walked four and struck out seven to earn the pitching win, got things started in the fourth by drawing a walk, forcing Weiss to throw nine pitches. McLaughlin beat out a bunt, and Briggs came around to score after McGuffey made one of three errors.
In the fifth, Spossey lined a shot up the middle and Craig sent hers on the ground to center for a 5-0 lead. Elliott’s double, which she made possible by hustling into second, made it 6-0.
“I knew when we walked Briggs … she’s a menace on the basepaths,” said McGuffey coach Bill Loar, whose team dropped to 9-2, 9-5. “We had the miscue at first base, and she scored. But you have to give credit to Chartiers. They out-hit us today.”
Briggs singled with two outs in the sixth to start Chartiers-Houston’s next rally. McLaughlin, like Briggs and many others, punched a shot to center, and Briggs scored after a wild throw to third. Spossey singled for another run before Craig legged out a triple to left center.
“Cassie (Weiss) is great pitcher,” said Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson, whose team has won 37 consecutive section games. “We know that, and we respect that. We told them to see as many pitches as they could, foul pitches off and try to put it in play. She throws hard, so we knew if they could make contact, it’s going to go.”
Weiss struck out six and walked one. … Marlie Mounts, Carae Wagner and Sarah Kleinhans accounted for McGuffey’s hits, all of them singles. … Chartiers-Houston has been scored upon once by a local team this season: during a 7-6 win over Waynesburg April 13.