North Allegheny holds off McKeesport in quarterfinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Stuck in a tie late in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals against McKeesport, North Allegheny coach Rick Meister knew he needed an offensive spark to get his team a much-needed run.
He also knew where to get it. He just had to pick the perfect time to insert sophomore Mackenzie Gostomski as a leadoff pinch hitter.
“We know that Kenzie can get that ball down, and she can fly like the wind and create problems for the other team,” Meister said. “She is the prototypical leadoff batter. …And anytime we need a leadoff batter (for an inning) that's where we use her and she understands her role.”
Using Gostomski to lead off the bottom the sixth worked to perfection as she beat out a bunt single to start a three-run rally, capped by a two-run double from junior Christine Scherer to help North Allegheny (16-4) beat a scrappy McKeesport (17-5) team, 7-5, at Hampton to earn the school its first semifinal berth since winning the 2006 WPIAL title.
“I was looking for a nice, low, inside pitch,” Scherer said. “It was my job to get that hit, and I was proud of myself.”
McKeesport, which pushed through to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history after an extra-inning win over Baldwin the first round, had an opportunity to pull out another dramatic victory.
Mai Gooden led off the seventh with a towering home run, and with two outs freshman shortstop Vanessa Falce singled for her third hit of the game to bring the tying run to the plate. North Allegheny junior right-hander Sami Beining, though, struck out cleanup hitter Jess Beitler with a high fastball on a 3-2 pitch for her 10th strikeout to close the door.
“We knew we were in for a battle, but you play every game like it's your last game and give it everything you've got,” Beining said. “All day I just kept it low because they take it long.”
Leading, 1-0, a McKeesport error put the first North Allegheny batter on base, and with the bases loaded, catcher Bonnie Pierson lined a three-run triple to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead after one inning.
McKeesport pecked away until Kai Gooden hit a RBI triple in the fourth to score Katie Berry and tie the game, 4-4. That was how it stayed until Gostomski led off the sixth with a single and eventually scored on McKeesport's third and final error.
“I told them earlier in the week that if we don't make all our plays, NA was going to take advantage of it, but they kept fighting and kept hitting the ball, and that's all that I could ask out of them,” McKeesport coach Missy Conrad said.
North Allegheny will play No. 7 seed Peters Township (18-4) on Wednesday at a time and site to be determined.
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.
- UPMC researcher who died of cyanide poisoning committed suicide
- Hempfield man receives long-overdue Bronze Star for World War II service
- Rooney says Pittsburgh is ‘good place’ for next northern Super Bowl
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Sting highlights demand for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- $800K spent to revamp California University of Pa. president’s home
- Homework: Pittsburgh Home Show to feature celebs, wine and pets
- Monessen woman dies in truck-car crash on Route 51 in Fayette County
- Wilkinsburg auto dealer scammed at least 30 people, police say