Burgettstown beats Frazier to advance to PIAA softball tournament
For most of the 2013 season, defense has been a strong suit for the Frazier softball team.
But the Commodores picked a bad time to have one of their worst defensive efforts of the season.
They committed seven errors and were beaten by Burgettstown, 9-4 in the WPIAL Class A consolation final Wednesday at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field.
“When you have seven errors, you won't beat too many people,” Frazier coach Paul Harvey said.
“We jumped out to an early lead, but give (Burgettstown) credit for not putting their heads down. They battled and put the ball in play.”
The Blue Devils got back-to-back bunt base hits by Shannon Briggs and Caley Ritts to lead off the first inning. But Frazier wiggled out of the early jam thanks to a pair of popups.
“I was a little concerned early on,” Burgettstown coach Mark Deer said. “We wanted to put the pressure on them, but we came up with nothing.”
The pressure on Burgettstown grew as Frazier pitcher Andrea Lash homered to center in the first and Paige Hotz homered to left in the second to give the Commodores a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Kelsey Holp singled and scored on a single by Hotz, who then scored on a throwing error to make it 4-0.
But things started to unravel for Frazier in the fifth. Alissa Torboli doubled and scored on a single by Lizzie Strain. Shannon Briggs singled and scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.
Then in the sixth, Burgettstown sent 12 to the plate and scored six runs on just four hits.
The Commodores (18-4) committed three costly errors, which allowed the Blue Devils to take an 8-4 lead. Torboli smacked a two-run double, and Sami Scopel ripped a two-run single for Burgettstown.
“The girls kept working hard,” Deer said. “We just told the girls to put the ball in play, and anything can happen.”
Burgettstown also scored a run in the seventh thanks to two more Frazier miscues.
After the game, Harvey was almost in disbelief as to what had happened.
“If someone would have told me we were up 4-0 and then we would lose, I would have thought not,” Harvey said.
“But that's why they play the games.”
Burgettstown pitcher Bre Lonick gave up three earned runs and struck out three to earn the win.
For the Blue Devils (17-5), it was an impressive win after dropping a 9-0 decision to Carmichaels in the WPIAL semifinals.
Burgettstown advances to the PIAA Class A tournament and will play District 6 champion Claysburg-Kimmel in the first round Monday at a site and time to be determined.
“When we played Carmichaels, we couldn't have played worse,” Deer said. “But I told the girls we had a chance to redeem ourselves and show what Burgettstown softball is all about.”
The loss ends the season for the Commodores and also marks the end of a four-year run for six seniors. In those four years, the Commodores advanced to the WPIAL playoffs each time.
However, the consolation final is the deepest postseason run in the program's history.
“The last four years have been pretty good,” Harvey said. “This team did some things that the others didn't do.”
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.