CALIFORNIA – After learning that her team had spent roughly three hours on a bus at California University’s Lilley Field Wednesday for what turned out to be no reason at all, Big Macs softball coach Michele Moeller had a message for her players.
“I told them, ‘It’s not like we haven’t been here before. The only difference is now we don’t need a two-and-a-half hour bus ride, and we weren’t waiting around for four hours.’” Moeller said. “This is definitely better, and I think they all agreed.”
Top-seeded Canon-McMillan’s WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal against fourth-seeded Hempfield was postponed Wednesday after the previous game on Lilley Field started 57 minutes late and then was delayed at 6:20 p.m. in the top of the fifth inning because of rain and lightning.
Canon-Mac will play Hempfield today in the same location at 4 p.m., which means the Big Macs (19-1) will have a slightly easier trip than last year – when they had to drive to St. Francis University on consecutive days to complete a 6-1 win over Central Mountain in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals, not to mention endure a rather lengthy delay because of thunderclaps.
“I certainly prefer this route than what we had last year,” Moeller said. “That was a lot tougher to do, to come back and finish that after you’re up. Because as much as you want to play every inning, when you get up on a team like that, then they stop the game, it’s hard to recapture that same thing.”
Veronica Rothka made a clutch play at shortstop to preserve last year’s win.
This year, Canon-McMillan will be looking to get retribution against a Hempfield team that’s the only squad to beat the Big Macs – 17-6 April 5.
The game, which will be preceded by the Class AAA semifinal between Greensburg Salem and West Allegheny, is also a rematch of the 2012 WPIAL Class AAAA final, which Canon-McMillan won, 4-1.
“We’ll approach it the same way (Thursday),” Moeller said. “My biggest fear was having to start the game then stop it, regardless of which way it was going. I know Greensburg Salem and West Allegheny are going to have to come back, and trust me, I know how that feels.
“I’d much rather just start it new. But they’ll be fine, I’m sure.”