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Leechburg exits softball playoffs with loss to South Side Beaver

| Monday, May 19, 2014, 9:09 p.m.

Leechburg and South Side Beaver both had a chance for a big second inning, but only one was able to cash in.

South Side Beaver scored three runs in the bottom half of the second and never gave up the lead on its way to a win over the Blue Devils, 9-1, in the first round of the WPIAL Class A softball tournament Monday at North Allegheny.

Toni Yacoviello was 3 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, and Lex Dhayer doubled and drove in three runs for the Rams (14-3), who advanced to face No. 2 Carmichaels on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

Brooke Blumer drove in Lindsay Rowe with a third-inning double to score the only run for Leechburg (10-5), but it was an inning earlier that the Blue Devils missed their chance to swing the game in their favor.

Monica Emricko walked, and Marissa George and Kasey Klapheke reached base when South Side Beaver failed to record an out successive sacrifice bunts. But with the bases loaded and no outs, Natalie Geminetti hit into a 1-2-3 double play. Lexie Young grounded out to short to end the inning without scoring a run.

“It was tremendous, and definitely the turning point in the game,” South Side Beaver coach Theresa Waxler said.

“That inning was really the key,” Leechburg coach Jim Oberdorf said. “But when a team beats you 9-1, you can't get too upset. Being in the playoffs 28 years in a row is not half bad, and next year, we'll come back and make it 29, hopefully.”

South Side Beaver found itself in the same situation in the bottom half of the inning, and the result was much different. Dhayer drove a two-run double into the gap in left-center field, and Hunter Hand added an RBI groundout to put the Rams ahead 3-0.

Blumer cut the lead to 3-1 in the next inning, but that would be the only run Leechburg could score against Rams freshman pitcher McKenna Smith, who allowed four hits and five walks while striking out six in the win.

“McKenna is a freshman, but she plays travel ball and is used to the pressure,” Waxler said. “She did a great job, and I think she got stronger as the game went on.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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