ShareThis Page

Young players step up for South Fayette in quarterfinal-round win

| Monday, May 19, 2014, 9:54 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
South Fayette's Emily Bryan (7) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a home run against Ambridge during their WPIAL Class AAA playoff game Monday, May 19, 2014, at Fairhaven Park.

South Fayette teammates Sara Jubas and Emily Bryan could say confidently they've never had a WPIAL playoff game better than this.

Of course, it also was their first.

Nonetheless, the Nos. 1 and 2 batters in South Fayette's lineup combined for five hits, five runs and four RBIs in Monday afternoon's first-round victory over Ambridge, 8-3, in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

Their effort started in the first inning, when both singled and scored for a lead No. 2 South Fayette (14-1) never lost.

“We work together well as a team,” said Bryan, a sophomore third baseman who was 3 for 4 and hit a fourth-inning home run over the center-field fence at Fairhaven Park in Kennedy.

Jubas, a freshman catcher, was 2 for 3 with a two-run double.

“They're really good hitters,” said junior pitcher Ashley Iagnemma, who had three RBIs as South Fayette's No. 3 hitter. “They're focused on making solid contact and getting on base.”

Only Iagnemma and senior outfielder Taylor Coyne had playoff experience before Monday. They're also the only upperclassmen on South Fayette's roster. The Lions missed the playoffs last season but appear now as title contenders.

“We're all learning as we go,” Bryan said.

South Fayette, which has a nine-game winning streak, faces No. 7 Elizabeth Forward at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Baldwin.

“I'm very impressed with our team because we have a lot of young people,” Iagnemma said. “They're not playing at their (experience) level. They're playing up a level.”

Iagnemma allowed five hits, three walks and struck out nine.

The first-round loss was Ambridge's first since 2009. The No. 15 Bridgers (5-7) reached the WPIAL finals in three of the past four seasons. But much like South Fayette, this Ambridge roster was rather inexperienced.

“We had our chances,” Ambridge coach Jim Huwar said. “We made a couple mistakes early. In the playoffs, you can't make mistakes.”

Leading 2-1, South Fayette scored four runs in the second inning when Bryan and Jubas reached base for the second time and scored. Alex Kopec walked, Coyne singled and Jubas doubled to score both. Jubas scored on Bryan's single.

“(Jubas) is absolutely a threat,” second-year South Fayette coach Vic Iagnemma said, “and (Bryan) always gets the bat on the ball.”

Bailey Kormick drove in Bryan for a 6-1 lead. The offensive outburst was a confidence boost for the Lions.

“When they started scoring some runs, that really settled their nerves,” Vic Iagnemma said.

Ambridge replaced starter Kelly Haslett in the second. Brooklyn Kotula pitch the final six innings.

South Fayette added runs in the fourth inning by Bryan and the sixth by Tea Leone.

“When you get the ball up a little bit,” Huwar said, “they smack the ball down your throat.”

Ambridge scored one run in the first inning by Heather Mueller, fifth by Kotula and sixth by Kasi Deane.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.