Loss doesn't put damper on Jeannette's historic season
It just may have been one of her worst losses in her 15 years as Jeannette's softball coach, and Dee Dee Cortazzo couldn't have had a bigger smile on her face if she tried.
Cortazzo was well aware of what the Jayhawks accomplished over the past two months and wasn't about to let a 15-0, four-inning loss to defending runner-up Carmichaels in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class A playoffs put a damper on that.
No way would she let that happen — not after how far they've come in such a short time.
“I am proud of these kids,” said Cortazzo, who announced she will step down after the season earlier in the year. “Nobody in this school district ever did what we did. This group made school history and you can never take that away from them.”
Jeannette (15-4) made the playoffs only once before this season and won its first playoff in school history last week against Vincentian when the Jayhawks ran their winning streak to 14.
That all came crashing down against talented and experienced Carmichaels (20-2) on Monday.
“I told them before the game that we had nothing to lose,” Cortazzo said. “We already made history. If we would've won, we would've made more history. But nobody can ever take that from them.”
Carmichaels banged out 11 hits led by Danielle McClellan's two singles and three RBI. Caroline Cree, Morgan Berardi and Regina Menhart added a pair of hits each off of losing pitcher Nicole Hall.
“I was a little surprised about how it played out,” Carmichaels coach Dave Briggs said. “I thought our experience would play a factor. They are kind of new to all this, and I really think that played a factor in all this.”
But it was the right arm of sophomore pitcher Erica Burns that was the difference.
Burns used her fastball, rise ball and devastating changup to strike out eight of the 14 batters she faced. Her only blemish was a one-out double by Delaney Cortazzo in the fourth.
“She is a great all-around player,” Briggs said. “She can hit, she can pitch, she can run, she can hit for power. She sure was sharp today.”
Carmichaels didn't waste any time getting to Hall.
Berardi doubled in a pair in the first, followed by a RBI single by Menhart and a run-scoring groundout by McClellan that quickly made it 4-0.
“I knew they were a good hitting team,” Cortazzo said. “What are you going to do? You just hope they hit it right at you and you make the play. I knew they were going to hit the ball.”
The Mikes continued to hit in the third as they sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight times with the big hit being McClellan's two-run single.
“Our pitcher is a contact pitcher and she lets them him the ball,” Cortazzo said. “And they hit the ball and we didn't. We played a team that beat our butt, and I am OK with that. These kids should walk away being proud of getting where they got. Honestly, you can't ask for a better season.”
Carmichaels, which outscored its opponents, 63-3, over its past five games, will play Burgettstown, a 2-1 winner over South Side Beaver, on Wednesday for the right to play in the title game next week.