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South Williamsport routs Char-Houston for Class A championship

| Saturday, June 14, 2003

SHIPPENSBURG -- Chartiers-Houston pulled a string of upsets to make it to Friday's PIAA Class A championship game at Shippensburg University's Robb Field after finishing third in the WPIAL.

The Buccaneers just could not overcome the one obstacle that had stopped the Buccaneers in 1987, '99 and 2000 - the state championship game. This time it was South Williamsport that defeated Chartiers-Houston, 11-0, in five innings.

It was the first PIAA championship game ever stopped by the mercy rule, the most lopsided state final since Neshaminy Maple beat Reading, 16-0, in the 1979 Class AAA final.

The game was similar to Chartiers-Houston's last trip to states, an 8-0 loss in which the Buccaneers made eight errors behind pitcher Erica Riggle.

"I was home watching that game on television," Chartiers-Houston junior pitcher Jen Alderson said. "I kinda felt like Erica did then. I usually do pretty good under pressure, if things aren't going our way. But this game, it was just one thing after the next. It was really hard."

Chartiers-Houston made six errors Friday behind Alderson, who gave up eight hits and two walks in four innings.

"You can talk about defense and offense, but if you don't have all of your pitches in a big game like that, if you don't have your drop and your changeup and they are sitting on your fastball in a big game like that, you are in trouble," Chartiers-Houston coach Dan Ross said. "The defense feels the pressure and it goes downhill from there. You have to have you're A game up here. She shook off her changeups and had no drops today. She was throwing fastballs and they were all over the fastballs."

Alderson said she felt fine about her other pitches and said there must have been a communication problem.

"They were just a really good hitting team," Alderson said. "They were really on my fastball. I wish we'd mixed up pitches more. I though they were working well. I guess I should have taken more charge on the mound. They were a good hitting team either way."

Chartiers-Houston finished what is expected to be coach Dan Ross's final season 18-6 despite having only one senior. South Williamsport finished 18-3. Ross said he expects to pushed out of the job after this season.

"Nobody thought we were the strongest or second-strongest team in the West," Ross said. "We thought we could get in there and upset a few people and get here, but nobody else though that."

Chartiers-Houston managed only three hits and never really threatened South Williamsport pitcher Melissa Wertz, a soft-tosser who kept the Buccaneers off balance.

"Our center fielder throws harder than Melissa, but she has movement," South Williamsport coach Mike Frey said. "She can move it in and out, up and down. She a good rise ball. Her drop is her best pitch. She can throw a curve and she has a nice change-up. I'll take that any day of the week."

South Williamsport got all the runs it would need in the second inning, when Aldreson walked Marissa Matthews and Danielle Dincher with one out. Ashley Barr singled home Matthews, moving Dincher to third.

South Williamsport right fielder Jackie Carpenter followed with a grounder to Alderson, who threw to third baseman Megan Criswell to catch Barr in a run-down. Criswell waited too long to throw home and Barr scored. One out later, Fink singled in two more runs.

The defensive breakdowns continued in the third. South Williamsport catcher Amanda Forsburg reached on an error by first baseman Tanesha Minney. She went to third on Molly Osborn's ground out because nobody covered the bag. Forsburg scored on Matthews' RBI single. Matthews then stole second and scored on Barr's second RBI single of the game.

Two more runs scored off errors in the fourth. Fink led a double-steal ahead of Malissa Karney, then scored when Criswell couldn't handle catcher Shannon Arnold's throw, with Karney taking third. Karney scored when Alderson misplayed Forsburg's bunt to make the lead 8-0 South Williamsport.

Two more runs came in when Matthews' single went though left fielder Dani Claassen, allowing Forsburg and Osborn to score to make it 10-0. Barr followed with her third RBI single of the game.

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