Pine-Richland, Hampton softball preparing for playoff push
Although Hampton versus Pine-Richland is a local rivalry, the softball meeting last week had less to do with a win or loss and more with getting ready for the playoffs.
The teams sought good competition without tipping their hands before a potential playoff meeting.
The Lady Rams took care of business, 10-0, in five innings thanks to a good pitching performance by Izzy Tortorice and a stellar fielding performance all the way around.
Pine-Richland coach Patti White issued a challenge to her team before the game: “No errors.”
The Lady Rams met the challenge.
“First and foremost, this is all about the team,” Tortorice said. “I could not throw the way I do without the team.”
In addition to being good, Pine-Richland got a few breaks. In the fourth inning, the three outs came in the form of line drives hit straight at first base (Julia Frazier) and Tortorice, all of which were caught.
“(In the two games prior to Hampton), we were not hitting well, so we came in and didn't fool around,” White said. “I wanted to see hits, runs and I did not want to see errors.”
With the playoffs bearing down, Pine-Richland is in good shape, and White wants it to stay that way.
“I like how this team warms up before each game and focuses on fundamentals,” White said. “I also liked our accuracy throwing to first base.”
Pine-Richland can clinch a playoff berth by winning one of its final two games or Seneca Valley losing its final two section games.
For Hampton, it will take a win against Highlands on the road next week to secure the postseason.
Hampton coach Ron Fedell used the game against Pine-Richland to see some good nonsection pitching and hitters.
“I wanted to see some new players and get them some action versus a good Quad-A team,” Fedell said. “I was glad to be able to scratch out a hit, and we got to try to make a couple of plays at the plate from the outfield.
“It's about learning and getting better, and hopefully it helps us in section play.”
Aiding the scoring effort for Pine-Richland were Cayla Vorndran, who hit an RBI single, and Hannah McNulty, who knocked in three runs with her double. Julia Frazier, Ivaska Sigita and Tortorice knocked in runs for Pine-Richland.
Pine-Richland will close the regular season with games tomorrow at 4 p.m. at home against Latrobe and 4 p.m. Monday against Mars.
Hampton will head to Fox Chapel today for a game at 3:30 p.m., then visit Plum on May 6, for a game at 3:30 p.m. Hampton will finish the regular season against Shaler at 3:45 p.m. on May 8 at home.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.