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Frazier softball team ready for playoffs after hiatus

Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Frazier's Monica Joseph tags out Jefferson-Morgan's Autumn Tedrow during a section game Friday, March 28, 2014. Joseph is one of the Commodores' leading hitters heading into the postseason.

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Monday, May 12, 2014, 10:12 p.m.
 

The Frazier softball team, like every other playoff-bound Class A softball team in the WPIAL, is waiting.

The Commodores wrapped up their regular season May 7, but they won't play another meaningful game until Thursday. That's eight days of waiting as Frazier prepares for its first-round playoff game against Burgettstown at 4 p.m. at Fairhaven Park.

“Honestly, I don't like all the time off,” Frazier coach Paul Harvey said.

Harvey said that the Commodores played Uniontown in a scrimmage Friday, and they are hopeful of getting a scrimmage Tuesday against Leechburg.

“We schedule scrimmages, but it's not like it's a real game,” he said.

The last time the Commodores played a game, they beat Serra Catholic. Frazier closed the regular season with wins in three of its last four games.

“We played a really good game against Serra,” Harvey said.

However, the Commodores weren't necessarily rewarded for closing the season strong. Frazier (10-5) finished as the third-place team in Section 2-A and garnered the 12th seed in this year's playoffs. Burgettstown (14-4) is the fifth seed after winning Section 1-A with a 12-0 section record.

The winner of this game will play Shenango in the quarterfinals at a site, time and date to be announced.

To beat the Blue Devils, Frazier will have to play much better than it did when the teams met in last year's WPIAL consolation final. Burgettstown took advantage of many Frazier miscues, rolled to a 9-4 win and earned a spot in the state tournament.

“They play a lot like us,” Harvey said. “They try to put the ball in play and play good defense. They stress the things we stress, and that worked out for them last year.”

Since the teams met last year, the Commodores and Blue Devils have lost some important contributors. However, both squads feature impact players.

After missing several games, Frazier sophomore pitcher Paige Hotz (6-3, 58 strikeouts) returned to the circle near the end of the regular season.

The Commodores are led offensively by junior shortstop Monica Joseph and sophomore third baseman Alexus Eicher. Eicher is hitting close to .500, and Joseph is batting above .400.

The Blue Devils also have strength in the lineup with the return of lone senior starter Bryanna Lonick, who was the winning pitcher in the 2013 consolation game against Frazier. Lonick has been a versatile player, both pitching and playing infield. Sophomore pitcher Katie Tarr has picked up some big wins. Burgettstown enters the playoffs on a five-game winning streak.

Harvey believes the teams are similar in many ways, which means that beating the other likely will come down to a big moment or two.

“Getting key hits is the big thing,” Harvey said. “I'm sure we'll have runners on base, and I'm sure they'll have runners on base. So, it will come down to whoever gets the big hits or makes the big mistake.”

This is the fifth season in a row in which the Commodores will play a postseason game at Fairhaven Park. Frazier lost quarterfinal games there in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but won a quarterfinal at the Kennedy Township Field in 2013.

“I don't think it really matters where we play,” Harvey said. “It's how well you play.”

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