ShareThis Page

Montour wins WPISL championship

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Montour's Breanna Dodd was having a rough day in the field Sunday during the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Softball League slow-pitch championship against Bethel Park.

First, the senior shortstop was roughed up when she went diving after a fly ball to shallow left-center. She stayed in the game, but in the bottom of the ninth she let a ground ball through her legs that jump-started a six-run inning for Bethel Park.

But just when the Black Hawks got within striking distance, it was Dodd who cleanly fielded a hard bouncer and flipped it to second base for the final out in Montour's 16-14 WPISL championship victory at Blueberry Park in Franklin Park.

“It felt great, just awesome,” Dodd said. “That was stressful, but we stuck together and kept our heads up.”

Fourth seed Montour (15-3) and third seed Bethel Park (15-3) lit up the scoreboard through the first four innings. The Spartans held a 16-8 advantage through four. Neither team plated another run until the Black Hawks' surge in their final at-bat. When Kayleigh Poe drilled a three-run homer to make it 16-11 and the Black Hawks continued to pound the ball after, it looked as if a comeback was in the works.

“I am so proud of these girls,” Bethel Park coach George Fiorentini said. “They played their hearts out until the end.”

It was an underused tactic that helped Montour finalize the win. Since the average pitch only travels about 9 mph, according to WPISL President Ed Vesely, the game of slow pitch is driven by offense. But a pitching change in the last inning to bring in Katie Skwarcha helped Montour. Despite the slow speeds, Spartans coach Brian Cronin noted there are other nuances to pitching styles.

“You don't switch pitchers too often in slow pitch, but we had to do that to close them out,” Cronin said. “Katie has a little bit different arc so we decided to bring her in.”

Cronin made the right move, as the Black Hawks were held scoreless after the change.

Montour was led by Megan McNally, who went 4 for 4 and scored three runs. Skwarcha went 3 for 4 and Jada Moyer 2 for 5 with a double and a triple.

Bethel Park's Jamie Cavrak was 4 for 4 with two runs scored, Poe had two hits and Jordan Porzio added a double and triple.

Montour defeated Hampton, West Mifflin, North Allegheny and Bethel Park en route to the title. The Black Hawks advanced with wins over Baldwin, Peters Township and North Hills.

The WPISL completed its ninth season Sunday. The 15-team league, which requires players from each team reside within the school district of the team they play for, is pushing for recognition from the WPIAL and PIAA.

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.