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Bishop Canevin's Sonson stymies Jeannette in 1st-round win

| Monday, May 19, 2014, 9:54 p.m.

Jeannette's high-powered offense was held at bay Monday, as Bishop Canevin upset the Jayhawks, 2-1, in the first round of the WPIAL Class A softball playoffs at Hampton.

The Crusaders will play Jefferson-Morgan in the quarterfinals Tuesday at 4 p.m. at California (Pa.).

After averaging more than 10 runs per game on its way to a Section 3 title, Jeannette (11-6) couldn't solve Bishop Canevin pitcher Kylee Sonson. She allowed just six hits and struck out five batters, and protected a 2-1 lead over the final three innings.

“The way she had her placement was really spot on,” Bishop Canevin coach Karen Seitz-LaFianza said. “She changed up speeds when she needed to. It's not easy to pitch when you're only ahead by one. It's good to see from her under pressure.”

The Crusaders (9-4) scored a run in each of the first two innings. Jeannette got one back in the fourth, but couldn't manage enough offense to take out the third-place team from Section 1.

“If you get on top of a team that's supposed to beat you, then they just get a little tight,” Seitz-LaFianza said. “You've got to score the first couple of runs and put that doubt in their mind, make them earn everything.”

Alexis Pilch scored the opening run on a single by Caroline Clarke. The Crusaders threatened to break the game open with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the second, but Jeannette pitcher Nicole Hall escaped with just one run scoring. Rianna Conway was thrown out at home in a double-steal attempt before Hall retired Daisha Reed and Pilch on groundouts.

Hall was dominant after the first two innings, allowing just two hits over the next four frames.

“I could tell she was on another level out there once the game got going,” Jeannette coach Zac Karas said.

“We were telling the other girls just to pick her up a little bit and push one across. She's worked hard for this. She's been a pitcher four years here and that was her chance. I couldn't be more proud of the way she battled.”

Hall is one of five seniors who played their last game for Jeannette, along with Sarah Pitzer, Brianna and Brittany Crawford and Monique Redman. Although this was Karas' first year as coach, his season with the group left him with plenty of memories.

“I was telling them I wake up in the morning thinking about softball and I go to bed thinking about softball,” Karas said. “It's going to be hard to swallow this, but I'm definitely going to remember all the good things about it. It was a great season.

They just made us laugh all the time and played their hearts out, and that's how I'm going to remember it.”

Jeannette cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth when Kayshaunna Crosby hit a lead-off triple and scored on Mary Katherine Paulone's ground ball.

Pitzer represented the tying run on second base with two outs in the seventh, but Scarlett Stein grounded out to end the game.

“I'm so proud of the way they battled every inning,” Karas said. “They didn't quit this entire game. We just missed a lot of opportunities.”

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at ghorvath@tribweb.com.

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