New Castle News
KENNEDY TOWNSHIP —
Normally, players like to forget losses.
Shenango High softball coach Amy Delaney hopes yesterday’s 9-2 setback to Frazier in a WPIAL Class A softball quarterfinal at Fairhaven Park remains fresh in the team’s mind during the offseason, though.
She wants her Lady ’Cats to remain motivated to turn the negative of the defeat into a positive for next season, as all but two players return.
“Anytime you can make the playoffs and go deep in the playoffs, it’s a good sign for your program,” she said. “I told them this really needs to sting and it needs to hit home because you don’t want this to be the feeling next year. A lot of them are coming back and they need to put the time in so this doesn’t happen again.”
Shenango (15-7), which graduates third baseman Jenna Petrucci and right fielder Megan Gecina, rode a 7-6 upset first-round win over Sto-Rox into yesterday’s game. However, the 12th-seeded Lady ’Cats could not pull off another stunner against the fourth-seeded Lady Commodores (18-2), who meet Neshannock, a 14-0 winner over Serra Catholic, in tomorrow’s semifinals.
“That’s a good team we played. I am not taking anything away from Shenango,” Frazier coach Paul Harvey said. “I think we played a whole game. Defensively, hitting and pitching — I thought we did a good job.”
In addition, Frazier exorcised the demons of Fairhaven Park. The team went 0-3 at the site the past three postseasons.
“This is the fourth time we’ve been here in the second round. My goodness, we finally won,” Harvey said. “The senior leadership came through. I am just proud of the girls.”
Shenango had a chance to strike early. The Lady ’Cats had two runners in scoring position in the first and another in the top of the third, but came away empty both times.
“That was the story in the Sto-Rox game as well. We’ve been leaving a lot of runners on,” Delaney said. “We’ve been getting runners on, but we’ve just been lacking for that clutch hit with runners on base. That was the story against Frazier.”
The Lady Commodores struggled at first, too. They left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, but plated a run in the second.
“That was real important. It always helps when they have runners on who don’t score,” Harvey said. “As far as I am concerned, I think we did a good job all day.”
Frazier took charge in the bottom of the fourth. Alexis Livingstone belted a towering two-run homer to center to key the rally.
“Definitely, that’s a momentum changer,” Delaney said. “That happened in our first-round game. We had the home run and we were on that side of it then. Being on the other side of it now, we can understand how it is a momentum changer.”
The Lady Commodores didn’t stop there. They tacked on two more runs and added another in the fourth to post a 6-0 lead.
“A couple of big hits from the middle of our order and a couple big ones from the bottom of the order — that starts it,” Harvey said. “When you can get some runners on from the bottom of the lineup and get that top turned over, it’s big. Livingstone hit the big bomb and that always helps. That’s always a big boost.”
Shenango broke the shutout in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs. Carolyn Peterson and Alyssa White both singled and scored on Alexa Owrey’s single. The Lady ’Cats may have had more, but shortstop Livingstone made a sliding catch in shallow left field to rob Kim Burdett of an extra-base hit and end the inning.
Frazier put the game away in the bottom of the six with three more runs, set up by a pair of Shenango errors.
White led the Lady ’Cats with three bunt singles. Jenna DeLuca had a double, while Owrey, Burdett and Peterson all singled.
Andrea Lash (17-2) earned the pitching win. She struck out six and walked one.