New Castle News


May 1, 2013

Spring Sports: A roundup of local action for May 1

NEW CASTLE — Abba Frengel pleaded with her coach to be in the starting lineup.

The New Castle High softball catcher had missed the last three weeks with a broken ankle. But she wasn’t missing this game.  

With a WPIAL Section 1-AAA playoff berth on the line against visiting Ellwood City, with the Lady ’Canes hosting a “Pink-Out” to support the fight against breast cancer and with her ankle healed enough to participate, how could she?

“The doctors said no twisting or anything, but she just begged me to play,” Lady ’Canes coach Leah Ann Williams said. “So, I threw her in the ninth spot just to hit.”

It was a decision that paid major dividends.

After scratching and crawling through eight scoreless innings, the zeroes occupying the run category for both teams wouldn’t budge. At least not until Frengel came up in the ninth to deliver the biggest hit of her career — a game-winning RBI single that earned New Castle a 1-0 victory and a spot in the postseason.

“It was just thrilling. I’m so happy for the girls. I’m so happy for them,” Williams said. “We just kept battling the whole game.”

Shannon Dudich started the inning by reaching on an error. The following batter, Jenna Frank, considered one of the team’s top power-hitting threats, was asked to do something she wasn’t used to — bunt.

Frank came through, advancing Dudich to second and putting a runner in scoring position with one out.

Sarah Antonelli followed, and surprisingly, the signals coming from Williams didn’t change. She asked for another bunt.

“I felt like we could surprise them,” Williams said.

The strategy worked, as not only did Dudich advance to third, but Antonelli was called safe at first on the play.

Frengel, who batted for starting pitcher Carley Aven and served as a designated hitter, put the game in the playoff history books with her winning hit, a single that went right up the middle to score Dudich.

“She hit really well (Monday) inside in the cage. She was really just pounding the ball. She said she really wanted to play and really wanted to hit.,” Williams said. “Boy, did she come through. It was just beautiful.”

The Lady ’Canes (6-4, 7-6) wouldn’t have gotten to that point had it not been for great starting pitching from both teams, neither of which walked a single batter.

Aven went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and picking up the no decision. The win went to Alyea Cioffi (4-1) who denied the Lady Wolverines (5-5, 6-7) in limiting them to two hits through 2 2/3 innings.

Ellwood’s Kara Sainato took the tough loss, going all nine innings and scattering seven hits.

For New Castle, the day was a winning one in more ways than one.

“It was lovely. We raised a lot of money and we had concession stands and raffles. Ellwood was very gracious,” Williams said. “It was not only just the win, they’re good girls with a good heart. Dana Perrotta (the ’Canes only senior) really started it all. She’s really big into community service.

“It was a good day.”  

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