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Softball

Franklin Regional softball rallies for big victory against defending section champ

Michael Love
| Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 5:30 p.m.

The Franklin Regional varsity softball team had hoped to get back on the field quickly and take advantage of momentum built off of a 7-6 victory April 6 over defending Section 2-AAAA champion Fox Chapel.

The Foxes were 3-0 at the time, and the win put the Panthers at 2-0 in the section.

However, Mother Nature didn't cooperate as rain squashed the scheduled games with Woodland Hills last Thursday and Plum on Friday.

The game at Plum was rescheduled for Monday, and a nonsection game with Norwin was cancelled to make room. But more rain Monday moved the contest with the Mustangs to Friday and created a stretch of four section games in four days.

As hectic as that schedule is, FR head coach Jim Armstrong said his players were ready for the challenge.

It was to begin Tuesday against Penn Hills and continue Wednesday at Woodland Hills, Thursday at Gateway and Friday at Plum.

“The girls want to play games,” Armstrong said.

“We need to (win) these road games, especially at Gateway and Plum. It's a challenge to win on the road in the section.”

Fox Chapel entered the week 4-1 in section, while Gateway was 3-1 and Plum was 2-1. FR's games Tuesday and Wednesday were to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.

“The girls were really into the game with Fox Chapel,” Armstrong said. “It was a good atmosphere.”

This year's home game against the Foxes was a different story from last year when the Panthers were shut out by Fox Chapel at home, 3-0.

Franklin Regional then paid a visit to Fox Chapel and handed the Foxes one of their two section losses, 4-2.

Last week's game started on a down note for FR as Fox Chapel scored four runs in the top of the first inning with no outs recorded.

But starter Angalee Beall and the Franklin Regional defense kept the Foxes off the board from the second to sixth innings, and the Panthers rallied.

A big four-run fourth, spurred on by hits from Brooke Zanotto and Mallory Halleck, a sacrifice fly from Chrissy Kemerer, a squeeze bunt from Bailey Vincett and three Fox Chapel errors, put FR ahead 6-4.

In the fifth, Olivia Vincett singled, stole second and came home on a Jocelyn Behr single to give the Panthers some insurance at 7-4.

Behr went 2 for 3 with a double.

The extra run was crucial as Fox Chapel scored twice in the top of the seventh to set the final.

“The girls never thought they were out of the game,” Armstrong said. “Deficits don't bother these girls. They stayed calm and started to peck away.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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