Two-run walk-off gives Chartiers-Houston WPIAL softball crown

| Thursday, May 31, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

Chartiers-Houston junior Piper McLaughlin wasn't about to be denied a second straight WPIAL Class A softball title.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, McLaughlin slammed a two-run double to lift the Bucs to a 3-2 victory over Carmichaels before 1,907 fans Thursday at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field.

“I hit the ball and just kept running,” McLaughlin said. “I wasn't aware of the (winning) run coming around, I just kept going.”

It gave Chartiers-Houston its ninth in school history.

The Bucs (23-1) will play District 9 runner-up Brockway on Monday in the PIAA first round. Carmichaels (22-2) will play District 5 champ Fannett-Metal in the PIAA first round Monday. Sites and times for both games are to be determined.

The Mikes took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth when Lindsey Osborne's second double of the game brought home Morgan Berardi, who had reached base on an error.

But Bucs No. 7 hitter Kelly Dufresne opened the bottom of the ninth with a single and took second on a groundout. No 9. hitter Megan Kraushaar singled to left and Samantha Elliott, in to run for Dufresne, moved to third. A pop up to short set the stage for McLaughlin, whose drive to center caromed away from Carmichaels center fielder Megan Bayles to bring home the tying and winning runs.

“Our bottom of the order has done the job all year, making things happen,” Chartiers-Houston coach Trish Alderson said. “We‘ve been blessed to have a lot of good players and a lot of support over the years.”

Carmichaels had several opportunities until breaking through in the seventh. The Mikes had four runners reach third base in the first six innings, but Bucs pitcher Kayla Briggs kept the runners stranded.

“I think Kayla pitched a great game,” Alderson said. “She remained calm, even when we were making some mistakes.”

Carmichaels left 12 runners on base yesterday.

“We played a heckuva game, I thought we had it here a couple of times,” Carmichaels coach Dave Briggs said. “We had our chances, but we just couldn't finish it. We always seemed to be one big hit away from going up big on them.”

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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