Big inning costs BVA
A year ago, Belle Vernon Area finished first in Section 3 AAA while rival Elizabeth Forward was a close second, one game back.
What a difference a year makes.
Today, the Lady Warriors (8-1, 5-1) sit atop the section standings while BVA (2-7, 1-5) is at the bottom of the section after Thursday's 6-1 EF win at Tom Rodriguez Field in Washington Township.
“I know they've been struggling, but it is always a battle when EF and Belle Vernon get together,” EF coach Harry Rutherford said. “(BVA coach Tom Rodriguez) and I have been going at it for a lot of years and we're friends. It's a good rivalry and whenever we play, nobody can take anything for granted and we certainly didn't today.”
EF did all its scoring in the top of the fifth, getting six runs on four hits, the two biggest being an RBI triple by Caitlyn Arico and a two-run home run by McKenna Kern.
“That was a big inning and we finally put our hits together,” said Rutherford. “We had our shots earlier, but couldn't break through.”
Rodriguez, meanwhile, looked at the inning as one that maybe should never have been.
“They hit the ball real well, but all of their runs were unearned,” he said. “We had an error that really killed us that inning.”
The error Rodriguez talked about came with one out and Ashley Baker on third base after doubling and moving up on a wild pitch.
Lexie Ribarchak hit a slow grounder back to BVA pitcher Lacey Washowich. Baker broke for home and Washowich bobbled the ball, then threw high to the plate.
“We should have had that out for sure,” said Rodriguez.
EF tallied five more runs on a bunt, a two-run single by Katie Shinayski, then the triple by Arico and homer by Kern.
BVA had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Nicole Ashcraft singled with one out for the Lady Leps' first hit of the game off winning pitcher Portia McBride.
With one out, Molly Gauden singled to put runners on first and second and Deanna Hileman lined a single through the box to give BVA its only run.
For the game, McBride pitched a five-hitter with nine strikeouts and one walk.
“I can't figure it out why we are not hitting,” said Rodriguez, who shuffled his lineup and put a couple new faces in it. “We had five hits again. That's about all we seem to be able to get.”
Ashcraft and Gauden each had two hits for BVA.
EF, which had nine hits, got four singles from Shinayski.
Washowich struck out six and walked just one.
“Really, the pitching wasn't that bad, other than the one inning,” Rodriguez said. “We just need to hit more. You can't win scoring one run.”
Yough 1, Southmoreland 0
The Lady Cougars (5-3, 3-3) scored the lone run of the game in the top of the first and made it stand up in Section 3 AAA.
Macy Mularski pitched the shutout, scattering five hits, while teammate JoJo Sterner had a double.
Serra 7, Monessen 5
The Lady Greyhounds (5-3, 3-3) scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning, but their comeback effort fell short in Section 2 A.
Serra (5-2, 4-2) banged out 17 hits and scored four runs in the fourth inning after Monessen took a 2-0 lead in the first.
Five of Monessen's six hits in the game came on bunts.
Trinity 8, Ringgold 1
The Lady Rams (3-4, 2-4) managed just five hits off winning pitcher Tiffany Clark in the Section 2 AAA game.
The first-place Lady Hillers (6-0, 6-0) got a three-run double by Olivia Gray in the second inning to give the winners a 4-0 lead, and teammate Hali Justice added three hits.
Frazier 13, California 0
Andrea Lash pitched a two-hit shutout as Frazier (6-1, 5-1) rolled in Section 2 A.
Alexis Livingstone and Paige Hotz each homered for the winners.
Elle Scales doubled for California (2-6, 1-6).
Greensburg C.C. 3, Charleroi 0
The Lady Cougars (2-3, 2-2) failed to score in the Section 4 AA game against first-place GCC (5-1, 5-0).
Jenny Tilghman scattered seven hits on the mound for Charleroi, but spotted GCC a 2-0 first inning lead and that was enough.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.