WEXFORD – No stranger to postseason play, Chartiers-Houston knows how to find a way to win, even when faced with top competition.
The Bucs faced a good-hitting opponent in Mohawk in the WPIAL Class AA softball quarterfinals Monday at North Allegheny High School.
Though Mohawk banged out seven hits off pitcher Kayla Briggs, Chartiers-Houston made the most of its opportunities in an 8-4 victory.
Chartiers-Houston catcher Toni Spossey made a big difference as the Warriors were forced to play things safe on the basepaths for most of the afternoon, while the Bucs stole bases and advanced runners with well-placed bunts.
“Sometimes, they were supposed to run and didn’t,” said Mohawk coach Pam Beatty. “We just tried to get people there. We knew they were a good team and were going to make some plays.”
Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson credited Spossey’s throwing ability as being a factor.
“We knew they had speed and a really good team,” she said. “We knew they were going to put the bat on the ball and score some runs. We were hopeful that we were going to score more.
“Obviously, Toni has a great arm back there, so I’m sure that had something to do with it.”
The Bucs (17-0) advance to face unbeaten Riverside in the semifinals Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.
For a while, that appeared to be in jeopardy as Mohawk (14-4) put two runners on base in each of the first two innings and loaded the bases in the third, only to come away empty.
After the Bucs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Spossey scored Briggs on a groundout, Mohawk opened the second with a single by Hannah Morrow and a double by pitcher Jaki Bender. But since Morrow didn’t attempt to steal, she failed to score on Bender’s shot to left-center, and Briggs worked out of trouble with a pair of strikeouts and an infield popup.
The Bucs tacked on a run in the second on an RBI-double by Briggs, but the Warriors again threatened in the third.
Shelby Brown hit a one-out single but again did not attempt to move up. Lucia Fee reached on an error and Briggs loaded the bases by hitting Devon Giancola, who was attempting to bunt.
With the bases loaded and one out, Morrow chopped a ball to third base and the Bucs threw home to record the second out. Briggs then struck out Bender to strand three more runners.
“We had runners on, but we couldn’t get the timely hit when we needed it,” said Beatty. “She caught us off guard at times and got some easy outs.”
After the Bucs made it 3-0 on a Megan Kraushaar sacrifice fly that scored Spossey, Mohawk finally got a timely hit, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the fourth on a single by Giancola and sacrifice fly by Morrow.
But C-H answered in the bottom of the inning as Briggs singled, went to second on a sacrfice and scored on Spossey’s double into the left-field corner. Haley Sutton followed with a double to the same spot to score Spossey and was driven in by Casey Craig’s sacrifice fly.
“I thought we went through the batting order, we started hitting the ball well,” Alderson said. “I thought our hitting really came through today.”
C-H tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Mohawk scored once in the seventh, but it was too little too late.
Spossey finished with two doubles and two RBI, and Briggs had three hits and two RBI.