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Pair of 3-run homers lifts West Mifflin softball team

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin's Crystal Cook rounds third base in front of Trinity third baseman Makala Watson after she hit a three-run homer off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fifth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin's Crystal Cook rounds third base in front of Trinity third baseman Makala Watson after she hit a three-run homer off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fifth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin's Lauren Ackerman is congratulated by head coach Casey Phillips as she rounds third base on her three-run homer off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fourth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin's Lauren Ackerman is congratulated by head coach Casey Phillips as she rounds third base on her three-run homer off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fourth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin's Paige Flore leads her team out of the dugout to greet Lauren Ackerman after she hit a three-run home run off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fourth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin's Paige Flore leads her team out of the dugout to greet Lauren Ackerman after she hit a three-run home run off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fourth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin's Amanda Leschak slides safely past Trinity catcher Delaney Elling to score in the third inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin's Amanda Leschak slides safely past Trinity catcher Delaney Elling to score in the third inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin players greet Crystal Cook at home plate after she hit a three-run homer off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fifth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin players greet Crystal Cook at home plate after she hit a three-run homer off Trinity pitcher Tiffany Clark in the fifth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin base runner Kaylyn Andress is caught in a rundown between Trinity catcher Delaney Elling and third baseman Makayla Watson in the sixth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin base runner Kaylyn Andress is caught in a rundown between Trinity catcher Delaney Elling and third baseman Makayla Watson in the sixth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin base runner Marla Small slides safely past the tag attempt by Trinity catcher Delaney Elling to score a run in the sixth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin base runner Marla Small slides safely past the tag attempt by Trinity catcher Delaney Elling to score a run in the sixth inning of their WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 9-5.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - West Mifflin pitcher Paige Flore celebrates after recording the last out to defeat Trinity, 9-5, during a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Mifflin pitcher Paige Flore celebrates after recording the last out to defeat Trinity, 9-5, during a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal-round playoff softball game Monday, May 20, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.

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Monday, May 20, 2013, 10:12 p.m.
 

The West Mifflin softball team hadn't made the WPIAL playoffs since 1998.

The Titans aren't in a hurry to end the season soon. They believe they can win a WPIAL Class AAA title.

That was evident Monday in a quarterfinal-round game at California University as No. 7 West Mifflin (17-4) shocked No. 2 Trinity (12-5), 9-5. West Mifflin advances to the semifinals where it will face Ambridge on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.

With the score tied, 1-1, in the fourth inning and runners on first and second, Lauren Ackerman, the ninth batter in the West Mifflin order, was facing a two-strike count. On-deck hitter Amanda Leschak yelled, “You believe. We believe in you.”

Ackerman believed. She hit the next pitch over the center-field fence for a three-run home run, and West Mifflin never looked back.

“I always have faith in my teammates,” Leschak said. “Did I expect her to hit a home run? I believed she'd get a hit.”

Ackerman said: “Amanda is my role model. I heard her. I was just trying to get a hit.”

Crystal Cook also had a big day for West Mifflin. She launched a three-run home run in the fifth and a solo home run in the seventh.

They were Cook's first two home runs of her high school career.

“I was surprised it went out,” Cook said of her first home run. “They picked me up from a tough season.”

West Mifflin pounded out 14 hits, and all but one starter had a hit.

“We piggy-backed off our first playoff game where we were able to bang out a couple hits,” West Mifflin coach Casey Phillips said. “We knew we'd have to hit the ball to beat Trinity. We had to score some runs.

“We have a good lineup. We have girls who can hit one thru nine. This group believes. We've been talking about the past all year. We're done talking about it.”

Trinity freshman catcher Delaney Elling also had a big day, going 3 for 3 with four RBI.

“We knew they had a lot of power,” Trinity coach Mike Marino said. “You get the number nine batter 0-2, and she hits a three-run home run. That's tough to overcome. Two three-run homers hurt anyone.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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