McKeesport softball extends season-opening win streak to 5
By Keith Barnes
Published: Friday, April 5, 2013, 11:00 p.m.
Coming into this season, the McKeesport softball team had not won its opener in more than a decade and, since 2004, had lost at least three of its first five games on six occasions.
This year has been different. Not only did the Tigers win their debut against St. John Villa Academy (N.Y.) in a preseason showcase in Myrtle Beach, S.C., they opened the season with four consecutive victories, including one in their first section game against Oakland Catholic.
Make that five straight victories.
McKeesport (5-0, 2-0) rode a perfect game and 3-for-4 showing at the plate from starting pitcher Jess Beitler to a 15-0, five-inning victory over Penn Hills (0-2, 0-2) on Friday at Universal Park. It was the first perfect game for the junior right-hander in WPIAL play.
“I was doing good with location and my curveball,” Beitler said. “And I hit pretty well, too.”
Beitler belted two triples as part of the Tigers' 15-hit attack, reached base in all four plate appearances and drove in three runs. But it was her performance on the mound that kept Penn Hills from even coming close to being a serious threat.
Staked to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, Beitler nearly struck out the side on nine pitches. She fanned the first two batters and was 0-2 on her mound opponent, Witney Larko, who wound up grounding out weakly to second on the ninth pitch of the inning.
Beitler struck out eight and did not allow a ball out of the infield. She did not throw a ball until her 11th pitch, and of her 50 pitches, 38 went for strikes. She did go to three-ball counts on two batters, but one hit a grounder back to the mound and the other she fanned to lead off the fifth.
“She had really picked it up this year,” McKeesport coach Missy Conrad said. “She worked hard over the summer, worked hard over the winter, and her pitching is better than where it was. And we have a lot better hitters than we did last year at this time.”
In their first five games, the Tigers have averaged a stunning 10.0 runs, posted three shutouts and 10-runned three opponents. In its first two section games, McKeesport has scored 26 runs (13.0 per game) and has not been scored upon.
“This was one of the first games where we came out hitting inning one to inning five,” Conrad said. “I think the trip down south helped us because we were able to get some games in while the teams up here — some of them are only in their second game, so that definitely helped us.”
While Beitler was a dual threat, eight of the nine starters had at least one hit. Leadoff hitter Dom Clark was 3 for 4 and scored three runs, Vanessa Falce homered and drove in three and Kasey Dansak had two hits, including a triple, and three RBI.
Still, beating up a pair of 0-2 teams won't mean much if McKeesport can't carry it over into next week. The Tigers will play four section games, including April 13 against Plum, which potentially could be for a share of the section championship.
“We just keep going at practice every day and focus on the same things,” Conrad said. “Our next thought is Woodland Hills on Monday, and, when we get to Friday, then we'll look at Plum and start to talk about that.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport center part of Cal’s digital storytelling class project
- Driller preps for Forward decision
- Experience the best teacher for Clairton student
- Versailles fire displaces couple on Third Street
- Library tax adds to West Homestead budget
- Steelers defense’s rapid decline looks similar to that of Steel Curtain’s
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger comes to Haley defense again
- Starkey: NHL stuck in stone age
- Help on deck to help Jeannette deal with Monsour, nearby buildings
- Pirates general manager Huntington is searching for right player, deal
- Penguins’ Neal apologizes, vows to be better