ShareThis Page

Offensive outburst

| Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Through four and a half innings of Tuesday's Section 1-AAAA softball game between Connellsville and visiting Norwin, the Falcons, the top-ranked team in Class AAAA according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, were deadlocked in a tie with the Knights, a team with a losing record.

That's when Connellsville manager Max Bukovac took a knee in front of the Falcons' dugout and made it known that he wasn't pleased with the team's performance.

And Bukovac's message was received loud and clear, as Connellsville responded with a six-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth on its way to an 8-2 win.

"Sometimes, we need that," Bukovac said of his message. "It seemed like we were sleepwalking on defense and offense, and sometimes, they need a little push in the right direction."

The job of getting Connellsville (8-1, 3-0) started on a positive note in the fifth inning fell to pinch-hitter Kasey Osler, who promptly delivered a single. Courtney Ritenour followed with an RBI triple that allowed Connellsville to reclaim the lead it had lost after surrendering two unearned runs in the top of the inning.

Ritenour was later thrown out at the plate, and with two outs, Norwin had a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage.

But a botched attempt on a force play at second base led to Connellsville's big inning.

"If we get that out, they don't score that many runs," Norwin coach Marc Boban said, noting that pitcher Courtni Morton kept the Knights (3-5, 0-2) in the game. "That's the story of our season. When we make errors, we lose. When we play good defense, we win. But we didn't play good defense."

Instead of being down by a run headed to the sixth, Norwin found itself still on the field with two Falcons on base, and that's when Connellsville's offense kicked it into gear.

Alena Dragovich drove in two with a triple before Ashleigh Peck, Jennifer Stefano and Allyson Panzella ripped three consecutive doubles to complete the six-run inning and put the game out of reach.

Stefano and Dragovich each had RBI singles earlier in the game.

"We have the capability of doing that all the time," Bukovac said. "We have some good hitters. It's just a matter of them building confidence and hitting the right pitches."

Of course, getting a little wake-up call from the coach certainly didn't hurt.

"Whatever it was, it seemed to work," Bukovac said. "I told them to take that one inning and take it to the next game and just forget about the other six innings."

Connellsville committed four errors, but pitcher Erica Bartholow was strong throughout. Despite pitching in a light rain, Bartholow managed to toss a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts.

"Erica pitched well in these conditions," Bukovac said.

Connellsville returns to action Thursday at Albert Gallatin.

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.

click me