NEW CASTLE —
The Neshannock High softball team picked up right where it left off.
Madison Shaffer, Jamie Graziani and Katie Burrelli propelled the Lady Lancers to an 18-1 WPIAL Section 4-A season-opening home win over Quigley Catholic yesterday. The game was stopped after three innings because of the mercy rule.
Neshannock is the defending PIAA Class AA champions. The Lady Lancers, who were 24-1 last year, moved down to Class A this year.
Shaffer earned the win, pitching two innings. She allowed no hits, while striking out five batters and walking none.
Graziani and Burrelli registered three hits and three RBIs apiece for Neshannock.
The Lady Lancers scored eight runs in the first and 10 more markers in the second. They pounded out 16 hits.
“The girls looked pretty good for the first time out,” Neshannock coach Tracy Kimmel said. “We hit the ball pretty well and pitched pretty well. It’s what you’re looking for.”
Laurel finally hit the field, but with mixed results. The Lady Spartans made three errors, but struck out just four times as a team, in a Section 5-AA season-opening road loss to Beaver.
“Considering this was the first time we were on a field this year, we’ve been practicing in a gym and on the parking lot, I thought we played pretty well,” Laurel coach Lori Krol said. “I think we just need to be more aggressive at the plate.
“We did put the ball in play, but it was right at the defense. The errors go with the fact that we haven’t played outside. As we continue to get the playing experience, we’re going to improve considerably.”
Makenna Natale took the loss, tossing 5 1/3 innings. Natale gave up five hits and six runs — five earned — with five walks and five strikeouts.
Kristan Fedrizzi had two hits for the Lady Spartans.
Laurel scored both of its runs in the top of the first. The Lady Bobcats (1-0, 2-0) answered with two runs each in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.