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Jeannette grad pushes Gannon to softball playoffs yet again

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 11:06 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Gannon University
Kirstie Cortazzo and her Gannon University teammates return to the post-season today.

It's no coincidence.

Jeannette High School graduate Kirstie Cortazzo has been with the Gannon University Softball team for four years and the team has now made the NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs four consecutive seasons.

The Knights clinched their fourth straight post-season spot by sweeping Seton Hill in a road double header on Sunday and, as usual, Cortazzo was a big factor.

Game one actually began on April 22. That day, Cortazzo, a senior shortstop, clubbed a two-run homer in the first inning as Gannon built a 9-0 lead before rain and lightning halted the game in the fourth inning.

When the game resumed on Sunday, Cortazzo picked up right where she left off as she nailed a two-RBI double. Once the game was finished, Cortazzo went three-for-four with four RBIs and two runs scored.

Gannon then took game two 4-2 as Cortazzo brought home a run with a sacrifice fly.

Gannon was scheduled to play Edinboro earlier in the week but results were not available at press time. The post-season is scheduled to open today in Quakertown, Pa.

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Delaney in, too

Kirstie isn't the only member of the Cortazzo family currently in the college softball post-season. Her sister, Delaney Cortazzo, and her Fairmont State teammates are in the Division II Mountain East Conference (MEC) tournament, which also opens today.

The Fighting Falcons swept Wheeling Jesuit in a double-header on Sunday to close out the regular season, taking game one 7-2 and game two 7-3.

The team enters the playoffs riding aboard a seven game winning streak. Fairmont is 29-15 overall and 18-10 in the MEC.

Cortazzo, a freshman outfielder with the Fighting Falcons, has been used primarily as a pinch runner this season. She played that role in Sunday's game two win, scoring a run on a passed ball. She also scored runs in both games of a double header sweep of West Liberty on Saturday.

Despite not starting a game, Cortazzo has appeared in 22 contests and scored 10 runs.

Fairmont is set to take on either Notre Dame College or Wheeling Jesuit tonight at 7:30.

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Big game for Ault

In Division III baseball action, Jordan Ault, a senior catcher at Bethany College, had a combined four hits in two wins over the weekend.

In a 4-3 win over Thiel on Saturday, Ault had two hits and an RBI. Then, in a 12-11 extra-innings victory over Thiel on Sunday, the local product added two more hits and an RBI.

Bethany entered the week 17-13 overall and 12-8 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference.

The Bison are scheduled to play two games on the road against Thomas Moore this weekend.

Weightman, Bonnies 2 of 3

Jeannette grad Brian Weightman, a senior outfielder on the Division I St. Bonaventure baseball team, walked and scored a run in a 10-9 win over Dayton on Friday.

Weightman is his hitting .269 with a .372 on-base percentage and a .375 slugging percentage, to go with 10 RBIs and 14 runs.

The Bonnies are 10-24 overall and 4-12 in the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference, but they did take two-of-three from Dayton over the weekend.

They are scheduled to host a three- game series with Rhode Island this weekend.

Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.

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