Pair of 3-run homers lifts West Mifflin softball team
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.”