McKeesport girls secure playoff berth
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Losing consecutive games by a total of three runs after starting the season 10-0, McKeesport second-year softball coach Missy Conrad could sense her team's frustration was at an all-time high.
It just happened that Woodland Hills provided the perfect opportunity to vent mostly because the Wolverines were next on the Tigers' schedule.
McKeesport unloaded for 18 hits, including a pair of home runs by Vanessa Falce and one by Jess Beitler, as the Tigers got back to their winning ways with a convincing four-inning 17-1 victory over Woodland Hills in a Section 2-AAAA game that clinched a second consecutive playoff berth.
“I told them to forget about Friday (12-11 loss to West Mifflin), forget about Monday (4-2 loss to Elizabeth Forward) because those losses didn't hurt us,” Conrad said. “Pretty much these kids don't like to lose, and they wanted to come back out here and get a win. We needed to take our frustrations out on somebody. It needed to be done.”
McKeesport got a monster game out of its freshman shortstop. Falce went 3 for 4 with four runs scored, a double, a two-run homer, a solo homer and five RBI. Falce has four home runs this season.
“She didn't do anything Monday, so I told her at the beginning of the game that she was slacking by only having one hit and that I needed more from her today,” Conrad said. “She came up with the big hits and was very clutch for us.”
It wasn't only Falce who brought the bats. All nine starters managed at least one hit off a pair of Woodland Hills pitchers.
Beitler went 3 for 3 with two doubles, a solo home run and two RBI; Courtney Patterson added three singles and two RBI; Kai Gooden was 3 for 3 with three RBI; Dom Clark had a single, triple and two RBI; and Katie Barry knocked in a pair of runs.
“They lost the last two, so they were ready to go,” Woodland Hills coach Tony Paganico said. “They are a good team and are very well coached. There is no doubt about that.”
Beitler picked up the win as she scattered four hits over four innings. Beitler had a no-hitter into the third before Abby Trolanowski singled to left. Autumn Porter accounted for Woodland Hills (4-6, 4-6) only run with a RBI single in the fourth.
“When we play at home, we seem to play tight,” Paganico said. “In all honesty, I think it is because mom and dad are in the stands. Maybe we should just play away all the time.”
It probably wouldn't have mattered where this game was played. McKeesport put up five runs in the top of the first off of starter Kelsey Geyer on the strength of two-run singles by Barry and Gooden.
The Tigers added three more in second to chase Geyer. Reliever Kirsten Terry didn't fare much better. Despite pitching well in their first meeting three weeks ago, Terry allowed 10 hits and nine runs over the final three innings including back-to-back tape-measure shot homers by Falce and Beitler in the fourth.
“We are hitting, but we need to hit all the time, every game,” Conrad said. “I am happy how we responded to the losses.”
McKeesport (11-2, 8-0) will have a chance to take a giant step to clinching the outright section title at home Saturday when the Tigers play Plum (9-2, 8-1) at home in a noon start. McKeesport won the first meeting, 5-1, two weeks ago.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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.
- Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
- Adams couple faces fight in quest to drill on land near Mars schools
- Cedar Point attraction mishap injures 2 riders
- Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
- LaBar: Cesaro is WWE’s next Cinderella story
- Former Gateway coach Smith is ‘perfect fit’ for Penn State football staff
- Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
- Steelers WR Wheaton wants to produce after injury-plagued rookie year
- Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
- Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Huntington on same page