Waynesburg outslugs Freeport to advance to second round
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Even short-handed, Freeport was able to produce runs, but the Yellowjackets couldn't keep Waynesburg off the scoreboard.
Both offenses were clicking, but fifth-seeded Waynesburg was able to get more timely hits and take advantage of errors by 12th-seeded Freeport on the way to a WPIAL Class AA first-round softball win, 11-6, on Tuesday at Hempfield.
Emily Luckey led the offense for Waynesburg (13-8) with three RBIs on three hits, and Jordan Moore pitched a complete game with three earned runs. The Raiders advance to face Keystone Oaks in the quarterfinals at a site, date and time to be determined.
“We played them tough, and Jordan pitched them tough,” Waynesburg coach Jim Armstrong said. “Our girls fight back and fight back. They don't quit, and this is one of the best teams I've ever had in the playoffs in a lot of years.”
Alyssa Obringer and Taylor Hetrick each drove in two runs for Freeport (10-5), which played without one of its best power bats, freshman catcher Morgan McCarthy, who missed the game with a shoulder injury.
The Yellowjackets hurt their cause with four errors and a couple of other non-error miscues on defense, the result of which was only four of the 11 runs surrendered by pitcher Jessica Kelly being earned.
“Our Achilles' heel all year has been errors on routine hit balls,” Freeport coach Sam Ross said. “We hit the ball well with one of our top bats out. We've hit the ball well all year. I'm proud of the girls, but we booted the ball around a little bit.”
Waynesburg opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, when Luckey's single scored Tiffany Ross, who reached base on an error on a fly ball. The Raiders extended the lead to 4-0 in the third after Luckey hit a two-run single and Ross stole home on the throw to first after a dropped third strike.
Freeport's offense got going in the fifth inning, when Karlie Hill hit a sacrifice fly and Obringer hit a two-run double to cut the lead to 4-3.
Waynesburg came right back in the bottom half of the fifth. Tara Staley got an RBI for reaching base on a one-out error, and Felicia Spitznogle hit an RBI single to push the lead back to 6-3.
“We had to take the momentum right back, and our girls knew that,” Armstrong said. “I told them in the dugout, if we didn't take the momentum, (Freeport was) going to get right back into the game. We did it, and I'm really proud of them.”
Freeport's best chance to get back into the game came in the top of the sixth when Kristie Radvan, who already had two doubles in the game, stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. Kelley, the runner on first, attempted to steal but was called out on the throw to second, even though the ball appeared to pop out of the fielder's glove after the tag.
With Freeport trailing 11-3, Radvan opened the seventh with a solo home run. Hetrick brought home Alyssa Ravotti and Obringer with a single, but the Yellowjackets' rally and season ended on the next at-bat.
“You don't like to leave anything out there, and we left some girls stranded today,” Sam Ross said. “Hats off to Waynesburg. They had a couple big innings. We didn't make enough of the routine plays.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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