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Wilson's three-hitter carries Perry over Carrick

| Saturday, May 24, 2003

Perry senior pitcher Natascha Wilson knows more than she ever wants to about losing the City League softball championship game.

She took that loss the last two years against Allderdice.

The West Liberty State recruit made sure it wouldn't happen again Friday, tossing a three-hitter to lead Perry to a 2-1 upset over Carrick in an eight-inning pitcher's duel in the City League title game at Upper McGibbney Field in Brookline.

"I wanted this so bad," Wilson said. "It's like a dream come true."

Perry won its first championship since 1999, ending Allderdice's three-year reign as City League Champions.

"I feel like this incredible monkey is off my back," Perry coach Amy Gavran Selko said. "I'm tired of being the bridesmaid, finally today, I'm the bride. It feels wonderful (to win the City League title.)"

Perry junior Kristina Schafer scored both of her team's runs, including the game-winner in the eighth. She reached on shortstop Ashley Sulinski's fielding error, then eventually came around to score on freshman Asya Benson's single.

Wilson, who struck out six batters and walked one, retired the Raiders in order in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory.

Wilson's mound counterpart, junior Carly Walker, struck out three while allowing 10 hits and two runs, as Carrick (17-2) had its eight-game winning streak snapped.

The Raiders jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after Danielle Agliore singled home Alex Perella, but they were unable to cash in with runners in scoring position later in the game.

With the Commodore bats struggling, Wilson singled in the top of the fourth and decided to take matters into her own hands. Wilson stole second, went to third when catcher Christine Kremur's throw to second got away and tried to score on an errant throw to third, but third baseman Melissa Lowrey threw her out at the plate.

"I was getting a little excited, and they were making us work for our runs," Wilson said with a smile. "I owed it to my team, and I wanted to get something started."

In the top of the sixth, Schafer doubled and later scored the tying run. The Commodores had an opportunity to add to their lead with a runners on first and third and one out, but Wilson was caught off first base on an infield pop-up to end the threat.

With the score tied in the top of the seventh, Perry threatened when sophomore Deanna Hunt hit a one-out double and represented the lead run. Hunt raced for home after an Aimee Hilson single, but senior left fielder Jaimie Stein threw her out at the plate.

"I'm aggressive on third," Selko said. "My philosophy is there's a lot of things that have got to happen. There's got to be a throw, there's got to be a catch, there's got to be a tag, and if all of those three things go right, kudos to the other team."

Wilson also had to pitch out of trouble in the seventh, with two runners on, to send the game to extra innings.

"(Wilson) pitched a fabulous game," Selko said. "In the seventh, we could have loaded the bases with an intentional walk. But she said, 'Coach I want the ball.' I mean that is incredible and outstanding leadership. She kept her composure."

Perry (11-5) will play the fourth-place team from the WPIAL in the PIAA Class AAA tournament, which begins June 2. The WPIAL semifinals are Tuesday, with the finals two days later.

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