Latrobe capitalizes on errors in first-round victory over Woodland Hills
Woodland Hills was unable to overcome an early deficit Tuesday as Latrobe defeated the Wolverines, 8-1, in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAAA softball playoffs at Hempfield.
With the win, No. 5 Latrobe (14-4) advances to play fourth-seeded Seneca Valley (13-2) in the quarterfinals at a time, date and location to be determined.
No. 12 Woodland Hills (8-7) committed six errors in the first two innings to spot Latrobe a 6-1 lead, with all six runs being unearned. Although starting pitcher Kirsten Terry gave up just two earned runs the rest of the way, the Wolverines couldn't climb out of the hole they dug for themselves.
“We really thought that if we could just come and play ball error free, we're good,” Woodland Hills coach Tony Paganico said. “We can compete with the power, but we can't hand them four unearned runs in the first inning and then two more in the second.”
While Latrobe certainly got some help from the Woodland Hills defense early, the runs weren't exactly handed to them. Most of the runs were scored on throwing errors after the ball had been hit into play.
“We've got to give them credit,” Paganico said. “They've got a nice team, and they did what they needed to do.”
The first four batters of the game all scored for the Wildcats, which is not something they've been used to this season.
“It's nice when you have a lot of runs to work with,” Latrobe coach Alexa Bryson said. “It was a pleasant surprise. I think it gave them a little more confidence, but I was glad to see that they didn't just lay off there. They hit the gas pedal and kept going.”
Latrobe freshman pitcher Meredith Carr walked the first batter she faced and gave up one run in the first inning but was fantastic overall in her playoff debut. She gave up just two hits over seven innings and didn't allow a hit after the second inning.
“I think no matter what the year is, the first inning of your first playoff game is sort of a test run to settle yourself down,” said Bryson, who pitched Latrobe to WPIAL titles in 2007 and '08.
“The defense was amazing behind her. The outfield didn't have a whole lot of action, but there were tons of plays made by her middle infield especially, and it was just a solid defensive game.”
The middle infield carried its weight offensively as well. Shortstop Madeline Stein had two doubles and third baseman Jenna Adams finished with three RBIs.
Although the playoffs carry a new pressure, Bryson was hoping that her team would be able to treat the first game of the postseason like any other game.
“A lot of times you get to the playoffs and expect things to be drastically different,” she said, “but really I just wanted them to show up like they normally do, and that's exactly what they did.”
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.