Gateway softball's rally falls short in high-scoring loss to rival Plum
Last year, when the Plum and Gateway varsity softball teams faced off in a section game on the Gators' home field, the visiting Mustangs jumped out to a sizeable lead.
However, Gateway stormed back and scored an 11-10 victory.
On Tuesday, the teams again met at Gateway, and Plum again raced out to a big lead. The Mustangs put eight runs on the board in the top of the first.
And like last year, the Gators fought their way back. This time, however, they were not able to come all the way back, and Plum escaped with a 15-13 victory.
“You can't spot anyone eight runs in the first inning,” Gateway head coach Chuck Myers said.
“My hat's off to the girls. We made some mistakes in the first inning, and (Plum) hit the ball well. I was mad, and they knew it. After that, they regrouped and played (Plum) tough to the end.”
With the loss, Gateway fell to 7-6 overall and 7-4 in Section 2-AAAA play.
The Gators have clinched a spot in the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Gateway wraps up its section slate Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at section champion McKeesport (11-0).
The Tigers clinched the section title on Saturday with an 11-5 victory over Plum.
The Mustangs closed the books on their section schedule Tuesday at 10-2.
Gateway freshman Madison Lewis, who suffered a broken finger early in the season, was cleared to play Tuesday, and she pitched and hit against the Mustangs.
“I'm really happy to go into the playoffs being able to use two pitchers (Lewis and junior Danielle Kochka),” Myers said.
“If we can cut down on some of the errors and mental mistakes, we'll be OK. We showed again (Tuesday) that we can hit the ball.”
Gateway collected 12 hits and 10 walks off a pair of Plum pitchers.
Senior Laura Hudec went 3 for 5 with five runs batted in, while freshman Ufuoma Ogagen reached base five times on three singles, a walk and an error.
Gateway scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate with two outs, but the Gators weren't able to convert.
Gateway had chances to put more runs on the board in the game.
The Gators left the bases loaded in the second, and double plays snuffed out bases-loaded situations in the fourth and sixth innings.
Gateway left runners in scoring position in the third and fifth innings.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.