McKEES ROCKS – Despite being the lone Class A team in WPIAL softball to go unbeaten in section play this season, Burgettstown saw co-champions and second-place teams from other sections receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs while the Blue Devils were forced to play.
Seeded fifth in the playoffs, Burgettstown showed something of a chip on its shoulder against Frazier, the third-place team from Section 2-A, Monday at Fairhaven Park.
Burgettstown pounded out 15 hits and got a solid pitching performance from Kate Tarr to rip Frazier, 11-2, and set up a showdown today with Shenango (14-3), which was seeded ahead of the Blue Devils and given a bye despite finishing second in Section 4-A, at 5 p.m. today at South Side Beaver in the second round.
“The girls were a little miffed about it,” admitted Burgettstown head coach Mark Deer of his team’s seeding. “They took it a little personal, and I think it came out in our play.”
Tarr scattered six hits and struck out five while also delivering a two-run single in the second inning off the right field fence.
“Kate pitched very well,” said Deer. “She kept it simple and let her defense do the work for her.”
Every Blue Devils batter had at least one hit on the day with Tarr, Cassie Carnes, Caley Ritts, Sami Scopel, Morgan Ellek and Taylor Cullison all collecting two hits apiece.
Cullison and Ritts both had doubles, and Burgettstown scored at least one run five of the seven innings, including putting four runs on the scoreboard in the seventh.
“It was a nice performance offensively,” Deer said. “We have been swinging the bats well lately. We put some pressure on them early with the bunt and picked up some big hits with runners on base.”
South Fayette 8, Ambridge 3: South Fayette jumped on Ambridge with some clutch hitting early on and cruised to an 8-3 WPIAL Class-AAA opening round victory.
The Lions missed out on the postseason last year, but despite only having one senior and one junior, South Fayette enterd these playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
South Fayette (14-1) advanced to today’s second round, where it will face Elizabeth Forward at 2 p.m. at Baldwin.
The Lions used singled by Sara Jubas and Emily Bryan in the first to score a pair of runs, but Ambridge (5-7) scored one run and loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning.
Pitcher Ashley Iagnemma got Jill Loftus to bunt into an inning-ending double play.
“That was the big play of the game,” said South Fayette head coach Vic Iagnemma. “We were having a bad defensive first inning and that changed the momentum and really settled us down.”
That turned out to be Ambridge’s best chance to stay in the game.
SF exploded for four runs in the second, chasing Ambridge starting pitcher Kelly Haslett.
Jubas crushed a double to left to make it a 4-1 game and came around to score herself on an RBI single off the bat of Bryan. Two batters later Bailey Kormick delivered an RBI single of her own to give the Lions a 6-1 lead after two innings.
After allowing the first inning run, Iagnemma settled down and got in a groove, retiring 10 consecutive batters before issuing a fourth inning walk. The junior allowed only five hits while striking out nine.
“I think we were nervous as a team,” said Vic Iagnemma. “We are a young team and this is new to mostly all of the girls. It took us an inning or so, but we settled down nicely.”
Bryan added some insurance for the Lions in the fourth inning, smacking a solo homer to right center to put the finishing touches on an outstanding afternoon.
South Fayette finished with 10 hits, with Jubas, Bryan and Kormick providing a majority of the production. The three combined to go 8-for-11 with a double, homer, two walks, five runs scored and five RBI.