Freshman fill-in Matthews tosses 4-hitter as EF routs No. 4 Southmoreland
Elizabeth Forward built a big lead early against No. 4 Southmoreland and kept adding to it Wednesday until a 10-run rule ended the WPIAL Section 3-AAA softball game after five innings.
Freshman right-hander Lauren Matthews took care of the rest for the Warriors.
Matthews, making her first career start, pitched a four-hitter, and Elizabeth Forward dealt Southmoreland its first WPIAL Section 3-AAA loss with a 11-1 victory at home to move into a first-place tie with the Scotties.
Kelsey Benedek drove in four runs with a pair of hits for Elizabeth Foward (7-3, 5-1), which took advantage of five Southmoreland errors to surge to a 7-0 lead.
“This was an important game and an important win for us,” Elizabeth Forward coach Harry Rutherford said. “We hit the ball well. We hit some good shots.”
The Warriors pitched well, too, thanks to Matthews, who appears to have overcome offseason shoulder surgery. She was thrust into the lineup as the team's top pitcher midway through Elizabeth Forward's previous game against South Park, when No. 1 pitcher Sarah Turek was sidelined with back spasms.
“She's usually our JV pitcher,” Rutherford said of Matthews. “When Sarah comes back, we may have to make some changes. We're going to have two pretty good pitchers the rest of the way. For now, we'll look to Lauren.”
With Southmoreland (6-2, 5-1) committing five errors in the first two inings, EF took a seven-run lead against Katie Troisi, who was relieved by Syracuse recruit Anna Marie Gatti with two outs in the second.
It didn't matter. Gatti ended the second-inning rally and got through the third unscathed, but the Warriors scored twice each in the fourth and fifth to seize a 10-run lead.
“All those errors are uncharacteristic for us,” Southmoreland coach Todd Bunner said. “We had zero errors in our last game. We really only average about one or two a game.”
Matthews, who struck out just one but did not walk a batter, also benefited from an 11-hit Elizabeth Forward attack, which included two each from Benedek, Caitlyn Arico and Jessica Cartia.
Arico and McKenna Kern added two RBIs each for the Warriors.
“For a young pitcher, a big key is your defense,” Rutherford said. “That and getting the bat on the ball. We did both today.”
Elizabeth Forward committed three errors of its own — two in the third inning, though Southmoreland was unable to capitalize. The Scotties got their only run against Matthews in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Gatti, scoring Briana Bunner, who led off the inning with a double.
“All along, we keep saying that you have to come prepared to play in this section,” Todd Bunner said. “If you don't come to the field ready to play error-free and hit the ball, you lose. It's that simple. Elizabeth Forward got some momentum today, and they absolutely took advantage of that. They played a great game.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.