Latrobe downs WPIAL champion Shaler in 1st round of PIAA playoffs
Latrobe freshman pitcher Meredith Carr is a fan of rooting for the underdog.
Monday at Hampton, Carr helped underdog Latrobe upset WPIAL Class AAAA champion Shaler, 6-4, in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs.
Latrobe, which finished third in the WPIAL, used a five-run second inning, highlighted by senior first baseman Shelby Noel's bases-clearing double, to shock the Titans (17-4).
Latrobe (17-5) will play DuBois, which rallied past 2013 PIAA champion Canon-McMillan, 5-4, on Thursday at a time and site to be determined.
The Wildcats pounded out 13 hits, including six in the second inning, off Shaler pitcher Bri Dobson.
Alexis Fearer had three singles, Noel had two hits and three RBIs, Jenna Raccor had two hits and an RBI and Jenna Adams had two hits.
“Give Latrobe credit. It hit the ball, and we didn't,” Shaler coach Skip Palmer said. “That second inning killed us. Plain and simple, Latrobe played better than we did.”
Before Noel's big hit, Raccor and Reilly McCracken drove in runs with singles.
“Pitching with the big lead took some pressure off me,” Carr said. “It was a relief. Shelby tells me to play big. She helps me a lot, and she showed up big.”
Noel added: “I was just looking to hit the ball hard somewhere. There were two outs and I didn't want to strand any runners.”
Latrobe's defense was solid behind Carr. It didn't commit an error and turned a double play thanks to the heads-up play of catcher Jess Tatone, who doubled off a runner in the sixth inning.
Shaler, which defeated Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL finals, chipped away at Latrobe's lead by getting an RBI hit from Rachel Nyman in the bottom of the second inning and scoring three runs in the fourth highlighted by a two-run hit by Mia Sipple.
But after the shaky fourth inning, Carr didn't allow another run.
“I was pretty calm until the final batter,” Carr said. “I had a feeling we could win this game.”
Latrobe tacked on a sixth run in the top of the seventh. Noel lined a single to center that was misplayed. Noel raced to third and scored when Ashley Perillo looped a single to right.
Shaler got two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Carr struck out Dobson to end the game. Carr allowed six hits, walked three and struck out five.
“We usually have a big inning in our games,” Latrobe coach Alexa Bryson said. “I didn't like how we coasted for a few innings, but getting the run in the seventh was big.
“I could tell Shelby was itching to get a big hit. That was big for her and the team. Getting all those runs early, we saw we could hang with them.”