Frazier softball team advances to WPIAL Class A semifinals
After three straight seasons of frustration in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals at Fairhaven Park, the Frazier softball team finally had a reason to celebrate at the sports complex in McKees Rocks thanks to an uplifting 9-2 quarterfinal victory over Shenango on Monday.
“It was in the back of our mind,” Frazier senior pitcher Andrea Lash said in regards to past defeats at Fairhaven Park. “But we knew we had the experience that their team didn't. When I threw that last pitch and we got the last out, I felt like a ton of bricks got lifted off our shoulders.”
With the win, the fourth-seeded Commodores (18-2) advanced to the semifinals and will take on top-seeded Neshannock on Wednesday at a time and location to be determined. Frazier's effort against Shenango was solid from start to finish.
“I think we played a whole game defensively, pitching and hitting,” Frazier coach Paul Harvey said. “We had a couple of big hits from the middle of the lineup and from the bottom of the lineup. Our pitcher did a great job today, and that was a good team we played.”
After a scoreless first in which each team left runners on base, the Commodores were able to break the ice with a run in the second. Paige Hotz doubled, swiped third, then scored on a dropped third strike in which Shenango catcher Taylor Biddle was forced to throw to first to retire Brittany Strothers, who alertly raced down the line in an attempt to reach base. The throw beat Strothers, but Hotz outran the return throw home, sliding in with the game's first run.
In the third, the Commodores took control with a four-run inning. After Lash singled, Alexis Livingstone delivered a two-run homer to center field off Shenango pitcher Macy Rubin to make it 3-0.
“Livingstone hit that big bomb, and that always helps,” Harvey said.
The Commodores weren't done. With one out, Hannah Kline doubled and scored on a single by Hotz. Hotz scored on an error, giving Frazier a 5-0 lead.
The Commodores' lead swelled to 6-0 in the fourth. Alexus Eicher singled and scored on a groundout by Livingstone.
Shenango (15-7) attempted to rally, scoring two runs in the fifth. Alyssa White and Carolyn Peterson singled, then scored on a single by Alexa Owrey. The 12th-seeded Wildcats could have added on, but Livingstone ended the threat when she made a tumbling catch of a popup along the left field line.
Frazier added three runs in the sixth. Monica Joseph and Kelsey Holp each singled and scored. Hotz completed a three-hit, three-RBI performance with a two-run single.
Although disappointed with the loss, Shenango coach Amy Delaney hopes the game serves as a steppingstone for her program, which will lose just two senior starters.
“Any time you can get in a pressure situation, it will help the girls in the long run and we hope this is something to build off,” Delaney said. “Frazier hit the ball, and we struggled a bit defensively. They came through with the timely hits.”
For the Commodores, the win at Fairhaven Park was a long time coming.
“It's the fourth time we've been here, but finally the senior leadership came through and I'm proud of the girls,” Harvey said.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.