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Frazier blanks Leechburg for first-round victory

| Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 11:00 p.m.
Frazier baserunner Monica Joseph slides across home during their WPIAL A playoff contest versus Leechburg on May 15, 2012 in Hempfield Township. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

Andrea Lash didn't have to be overpowering Tuesday.

The junior right-hander let her teammates do their jobs, and Frazier's defense responded with an outstanding effort in a 3-0 first-round victory over Leechburg (15-5) in the WPIAL Class A first round at Hempfield.

With the win, Frazier advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face No. 2 Sto-Rox at a time and site yet to be determined. Sto-Rox defeated Avella, 14-0, on Tuesday.

Frazier made the most of two hits, scoring a single run in the top of the third inning and adding two more in the sixth.

Lash scattered five hits and struck out three.

Frazier (12-5) committed a first-inning error, but played flawless defense after that.

“The girls played great defense,” Frazier coach Paul Harvey said. “(Leechburg) hit some balls hard, but everything they hit, we were there.”

Frazier took a 1-0 lead when Brittany Strothers reached base on a one-out bunt single in the top of the third inning and came around to score when Monica Joseph's bunt was thrown past the first baseman and into foul territory.

The Commodores added two more in the sixth on a Lash sacrifice fly and a Kelsey Dillon RBI double.

Leechburg's Rachel Klingensmith and Kenzie Young opened the bottom of the sixth inning with back-to-back singles and advanced on a passed ball.

But Lash got Miranda Reesman and Paula McCorkle to pop out before Erin Stollenwerk lined out to center to end the threat.

Frazier's Alexis Livingstone had a strong game at shortstop, highlighted by a backhand snag of a grounder and strong throw to first base to record an out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“Andrea has pitched a lot of good games for us this season and we usually play great defense,” Harvey said. “I think we've only committed 29 errors in 18 games.”

Young pitched strong in defeat, striking out 13 batters. She twice threw away bunt attempts, however, and both times Frazier took advantage.

“She's a pretty good pitcher,” Harvey said. “We didn't put a lot of balls into play, and we had to play a little small ball.”

Frazier started just two seniors, but won a first-round playoff game for the third straight season.

Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.

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