Leechburg wins with 7-run fourth
HAMPTON — Leechburg students enjoyed a cookout in the parking lot before their softball team played Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals on Monday afternoon.
It took awhile for Leechburg to warm up its bats. But once the Lady Blue Devils got going, the end result was well done.
Leechburg smashed open the scoreless game with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and defeated OLSH, 11-1, in six innings at Hampton Township Community Park.
No. 2 seeded Leechburg (16-1) will get a rematch against No. 3 Vincentian (19-2) in the semifinals, at a site and time to be determined.
Last year, Vincentian defeated Leechburg in the quarterfinals.
Leechburg had only one hit in the first three innings but pounded out seven hits and sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth.
“It was just a matter of time,” Leechburg coach Jim Oberdorf said. “Once it started going, it snowballed from there.”
Leechburg collected 13 hits, including six for extra bases. The Lady Blue Devils had three doubles and three triples.
“We would have had at least four home runs in a standard softball field,” Oberdorf said.
The fences are 225 feet from home plate at Hampton and 205 feet away at Leechburg.
Sophomore Keri Barnes led the offensive by going 3 for 4 with a one-run triple and a pair of one-run doubles.
Olivia Oberdorf and Kaysie Young drove in two runs apiece, and Emily Batiz, Trisha Klingensmith and Megan Cockroft each had one RBI. Leechburg also scored one run on an error.
“When the first person started to hit the ball, the rest of us started hitting the ball,” Barnes said. “It just came together for us.”
OLSH started Emily Kyrargyros at pitcher, and she got through the first three innings without any damage. But Batiz launched a triple over the right fielder's head to start the fourth inning, and Barnes followed with an RBI triple.
OLSH called upon its other pitcher, Darian Ouzts, but Leechburg just kept smacking the ball.
“We were worried coming into the fourth inning,” OLSH coach Bill Wills said. “We were afraid they were getting onto (Kyrargyros). Then the first two hits were really cranked. So we decided we were going to make a change.”
Leechburg senior pitcher Emily Batiz was dominating again, although the team's offensive output allowed a lot of room for error. Batiz tossed a two-hitter while striking out eight and walking one in the game shortened by the WPIAL's 10-run rule.
“Those are the first pitches she has thrown since the last time we played (last Tuesday),” coach Oberdorf said. “We're trying to save her. She was really rested.”
Leechburg is trying to return to the finals after falling short last season. The Lady Blue Devils appeared in the championship game from 2003-05.