Canon-McMillan wins PIAA Class AAAA softball title in 12 innings
TribLIVE Sports Videos
UNIVERSITY PARK — Canon-McMillan's Alayna Astuto was nearly exhausted, but not too tired to celebrate.
“It just kept going on and on and on,” said Astuto, who carried a no-hitter into the 10th and stayed strong for all 12 innings of Friday afternoon's 4-3 victory over Neshaminy in the PIAA Class AAAA championship at Beard Field.
A two-run homer in the top of the 12th by freshman Linda Rush earned WPIAL champion Canon-McMillan the state title and helped end one of the longest championship games in PIAA softball history.
“My heart dropped,” said Astuto, who watched the ball clear the left-field fence. “I thought, please go over.”
It did, and soon the Big Macs were using whatever strength they had left to celebrate an emotionally draining victory.
“Not fun,” Rush said with a laugh, describing the extra-inning experience. “It was hot and stressful.”
The PIAA title was the first for Canon-McMillan (25-1), which won the past two WPIAL titles.
District 1 runner-up Neshaminy (23-3) was trying to add to the PIAA title it won in 2002 with a nine-inning, 1-0 victory over North Allegheny.
Neshaminy's Lauren Quense, who struck out 10, entered the 12th pitching a three-hitter.
Without Astuto, there likely would not have been a 12th inning. The Big Macs senior struck out 18 batters, including two of the final three outs in the bottom of the 12th. Astuto didn't allow a hit until Neshaminy's Jen Walker singled with one out in the 10th.
“Everybody keeps saying Alayna doesn't have overpowering speed, but she's not slow,” Canon-McMillan coach Michele Moeller said. “She knows where to put the ball. She knows how to spin the ball. She knows how to move the ball. I'm so proud of her senior leadership.”
Scoreless after nine innings, the international tiebreaker rule was implemented. The rule places a runner on second base to begin each inning.
Both teams scored one run in the 10th and 11th.
Canon-McMillan's Olivia Lorusso, who started the 10th at second, moved to third on a flyball and scored on Tara Fowler's groundout to shortstop.
A single by Neshaminy's Walker advanced runner Erica Mohan to third. A single to left field by Selina Alicea scored Mohan with the tying run.
In the 11th, a sacrifice bunt by Canon-McMillan's Ally Bellaire and a sacrifice fly by teammate Yaszmin Kotar combined to score Taylor Bruno.
A double by Neshaminy's Lauren Quense scored Mackensie Compton to force another tie.
In the 12th, with Maddie Engel on second, Rush's leadoff homer gave Canon-McMillan a 4-2 lead. Neshaminy's Sarah Snider-Leonhauser scored in the bottom of the 12th on Walker's double. But a strikeout and game-ending popout forced by Astuto stranded Walker, the potential tying run, at second.
This was the longest Class AAAA championship. A year ago, Central Bucks South won the Class AAAA title in nine innings over Bishop Shanahan, 1-0.
Fleetwood's victory over Riverside in the 2001 Class AA championship lasted 14 innings.
“I could have went a couple more (innings), definitely,” Astuto said with a laugh. “It would have been hard. Walking tomorrow might have been a little bit hard.”
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.
- ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Crosby understands rule prohibiting him from playing, stresses he is hurt
- Pitt adds Texas wide receiver as 16th commitment to Class of 2015
- Ex-Steelers QB Batch creates sports medicine startup at Pitt
- WVU frat pledge had fatal blood alcohol level more than 6 times legal limit
- LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
- Bober released as Wuerl school president to concentrate on building new St. Kilian church
- Owner of Italian Village Pizza stores gets house arrest for tax evasion
- 2 accused of taking baby to New Kensington drug deal get probation
- Allegheny County assistant public defender charged for allegedly lying to court staff