Canon-McMillan defends Class WPIAL AAAA title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The three-run blast has become Canon-McMillan's favorite title-game tradition.
Big Macs catcher Giorgiana Zeremenko cleared the left-field fence with a go-ahead home run in Thursday night's 5-2 victory over No. 3 seed North Allegheny (17-5) in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field.
Zeremenko's shot was reminiscent of the game-changing three-run, fourth-inning blast teammate Olivia Lorusso hit in last year's championship victory. The two blasts allowed Canon-McMillan (21-1) to become the first team to repeat as Class AAAA champion since Latrobe won successive titles in 2007-08.
“It's that same awesome feeling again,” Zeremenko said.
A 4-1 victory over Hempfield a season ago gave surprising Canon-McMillan its first WPIAL title. This title was no surprise.
“Definitely a different road, a different feeling all through the year,” Canon-McMillan coach Michele Moeller said. “Coming up last year we weren't really expected to win.”
Canon-McMillan senior Alayna Astuto pitched a four-hitter with seven strikeouts and no walks to earn her second gold. Astuto allowed one run in the first and another in the sixth, when North Allegheny's game-changing blast fell just short.
Trailing 5-1 with no outs in the sixth, NA loaded the bases with an error and two singles. Yet, the Tigers scored just one run. Bonnie Pierson's long fly to deep left scored Laura Cotter, but was caught short of the grand slam the Tigers wanted.
“We missed by a couple of feet,” NA coach Rick Meister said. “The one that went out for Canon-McMillan deserved to be a home run, but it was close. I think the distance of those two balls was reflective of this game, that's how close these two teams are.”
NA junior Sami Beining allowed eight hits and five runs, striking out three and walking one.
A first-inning leadoff double by Cotter led to NA's first run and a 1-0 lead. A single by Christine Scherer scored Cotter, who had stolen third base.
Zeremenko put the Big Macs ahead, 3-1. Her three-run homer scored Abby McCartney and Lorusso, who predicted the blast just moments earlier while standing on first base.
“I turned to (Moeller) and said: ‘G's got this,' ” said Lorusso, who had been hit by a pitch. “All of a sudden she rocketed one over. Something told me she was due.”
Arm fatigue had cost Zeremenko much of her season, having returned just a couple weeks before the playoffs. The team's No. 4 batter, who had few home runs this season, had just recently regained her power.
“It felt good,” she said. “It's not about the quantity but the quality of when it happens.”
Canon-McMillan added two runs in the sixth with a run-scoring triple by Abby McCartney and an RBI single by Zeremenko.
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.
- Belle Vernon softball tops Thomas Jefferson
- No. 1 Deer Lakes breezes past Freeport
- Despite low numbers, Riverview softball team keeping it together
- Big inning carries Frazier in statement game
- Roundup: Charleroi Area, Yough girls roll to easy wins
- Zimmer leading Chartiers Valley softball
- Yough’s pitcher-catcher combo carries Cougars to 6-0 start in Section 4-AAA
- Baldwin softball team continues to roll despite injured ace
- Patient hitters propelling Chartiers Valley softball
- Gateway softball’s Lewis showing power at plate, in pitcher’s circle
- Jump in competition has helped Frazier prepare for WPIAL postseason