Tilghman all wet as Charleroi walks off
What happens when you coach a team to its first section title in 22 years?
Well, if you are Charleroi Area softball coach Trey Tilghman, the answer is simple.
You get a shower from your team.
After Charleroi's Jen Tilghman drove home the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 5-4 walk off Section 4-AA victory over South Allegheny at Bill Cominsky Field, the Lady Cougars gathered around their rookie coach.
After allowing him to empty his pockets of things like money and keys, they dumped a cooler of water on his head and then sprayed him with water from water bottles.
“It actually feels pretty good after all the work I did to get this field ready all day,” said a drenched Tilghman.
The win meant that Charleroi (10-3, 8-1) clinched outright the school's first softball title since 1992.
“That's what the banner in the gym says ... 1992,” Tilghman said. “Now it can say 2014.”
The Lady Cougars and Lady Gladiators (8-4, 6-4) picked up a game that had been halted by rain with Charleroi leading, 3-1, in the fifth inning.
However, SA had runners on first and second with no outs.
The visitors quickly took advantage and parlayed a couple of blown fielder's choices and a wild pitch into three more runs for a 4-3 lead.
“It was tough to ask the kids to come out in that situation and shut them down,” Tilghman said. “We missed a couple plays we maybe should have made, but I told the kids to just get outs, just get outs. But we battled back.”
Charleroi tied the game in the sixth when Anjie Tilghman drove home a run with a bases-loaded single.
In the seventh, Morgan Riley led off with a walk for Charleroi. Jordan Swarmer then reached safely on a fielder's choice to put runners at first and second.
Carina Gottheld then bunted and reached on an error to load the bases with no outs.
With the infield drawn in, Jen Tilghman hit a shot to short and the Gladiators tried to get the force at the plate, but Riley beat the throw to give the Lady Cougars the win.
“Just a really exciting way to win a game,” Trey Tilghman said. “It feels really good.”
Jen Tilghman pitched a six-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk.
Anjie Tilghman had two of the Lady Cougars' six hits.
Charleroi will close the regular season today at Greensburg Central Catholic and then look to their fate in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs next week.
“I never expected this going in,” said Tilghman. “I just wanted to make the playoffs. I felt like we had a good opportunity to compete this year, but section champs is a great accomplishment.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.