Canon-Mac stopped short of three-peat

May 29, 2014
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Eleanor Bailey / The Almanac
Canon-McMillan’s players had to settle for silver medals after a 9-5 loss to Shaler Thursday night in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game at California University.
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Eleanor Bailey / The Almanac
Brittney Crawford crosses the plate with Canon-McMillan’s second run in the first inning against Shaler and is greeted by catcher Giorgiana Zeremenko.
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Eleanor Bailey / The Almanac
Canon-McMillan players celebrate a fifth-inning rally in which the Lady Macs tied the game, 5-5

CALIFORNIA – There will be no three-peat.

Canon-McMillan, playing one of its sloppiest games at the worst of times, committed five errors and allowed a four-run sixth that broke open a tie game.

The result was a 9-5 loss to Shaler in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game on Lilley Field at California University Thursday evening.

Canon-McMillan (17-4) was attempting to become the first team in WPIAL history to win three consecutive Quad-A titles.

“You can’t recover from five errors,” said C-M head coach Michele Moeller. “I don’t think we did what we needed to do behind (pitcher Tara) Fowler. It just comes back to making five errors in a championship game.”

Both teams have qualified for the state tournament.

Canon-McMillan will play Dubois (17-3) and Shaler takes on Latrobe in the first round of the PIAA tournament Monday at times and sites to be determined.

Canon-McMillan won the 2012 WPIAL title with a 4-1 victory over Hempfield and last year with a 5-2 victory over North Allegheny.

“I try to tell the girls to walk out of games, whether you win or lose, with your head up,” Moeller said. “Your families are still going to love you. I don’t have to tell people (why we lost). The reason’s we made all those errors? I can’t tell you.”

Shaler won the 2005 title in Class AAAA and the Class AAA title in 1982.

“They are a great team.” said Shaler coach Skip Palmer. “But today, we were better than they were. We’ll probably meet them again.”

Shaler scored four runs in the sixth inning, the key blow a two-run single by shortstop Lauren Miller. Fowler also walked two batters.

Abby McCartney and Olivia Lorusso drove in two runs apiece for the top-seeded Big Macs. Gia Zeremenko had two hits and an RBI.

Canon-McMillan had the leadoff runner on in each of the first six innings but went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

The Big Macs opened the game by scoring twice in the first inning. Linda Rush and Brittney Crawford each smacked a single and advanced on an error. McCartney drove in Rush with a sacrifice fly to left and Lorusso drove in Crawford with a sacrifice fly to center.

Shaler came right back, scoring a run in the second and three in the third for a 4-2 lead.

In the second, Lyndsey Lakotos got on an error by shortstop Linda Rush on a hard-hit grounder and came home on a double by second baseman Rachel Nyman.

Shaler took the lead in the fourth. Right fielder Jacey Schott led off the inning with a walk and went to second on a single by center fielder Hayley Dengler. Catcher A.J. Nichols laid a good bunt down and Fowler made a poor flip to first base for an error that allowed Schott to score, Dengler to move to third and Nichols to second. Pitcher Brianna Dobson hit a sacrifice fly that scored Dengler, and first baseman Amanda Sartori drove in Nichols with a single.

Shaler made it 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth, getting a run again with two outs. Schott hit a popup that Amy Bellaire couldn’t handle for a two-base error. Dengler drove her in with a single to right.

Canon-McMillan tied the score in the fifth inning, stringing four hits together. Jada Kemp opened with a bunt single, went to second on a bad throw by Schott and moved to third on a fly out to right field by Crawford.

McCartney tripled to left, scoring Kemp; third baseman Lorusso doubled home McCartney; and Zeremenko singled home Lorusso to tie the game, 5-5.

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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