NEW CASTLE —
The Neshannock High softball team suffered a rare loss yesterday.
Riverside pushed a run across in the fifth inning and made it stand in a 1-0 nonsection victory over the host Lady Lancers.
The Lady Panthers worked a leadoff walk in the frame and the runner advanced to second on a wild pitch. A single plated the runner with the winning marker.
Neshannock (15-2), which is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is the Section 4 champion. The Lady Lancers won the PIAA Class AA championship before dropping to Single-A this year.
Riverside (14-0), the Section 5-AA champion, is ranked No. 1 in double-A by the Post-Gazette.
“I’m glad we played them,” Neshannock coach Tracy Kimmel said. “It will get the kids up more when they realize there’s something big at stake; it was a good tune-up for us. The game could have went either way.
“Riverside is a quality team. We were looking forward to playing them.”
Madison Shaffer (15-2), a sophomore, took the loss. Shaffer pitched seven innings, giving up two hits and an earned run with a walk and 12 strikeouts.
“Madison pitched very well,” Kimmel said. “She was under the gun. She’s right there.
“She’s done well this year.”
Marissa DeMatteo posted a single to account for Neshannock’s lone hit. The Lady Lancers didn’t get a runner past second.
Kirsten Wilson walked two and struck out 11 to earn the victory.
The WPIAL will release the softball pairings Thursday.
“We’re looking forward to the pairings being released,” Kimmel said. “This is a fun time of year; this is what you play for.
“I don’t think this loss will affect our seeding.”
New Castle 10,
The Lady ’Canes’ Carley Aven shut down Laurel in a nonsection home win. The game was stopped after six innings because of the mercy rule.
Aven picked up the win, pitching four innings. She allowed three hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Dana Perrotta paced New Castle with three hits, while Christina Evans, Alyea Cioffi, Aleigha Withrow and Shannon Dudich added two each. Evans and Sarah Antonelli drove in two runs apiece.
The Lady ’Canes scored three runs in the first, four in the third, one in the fifth and two more sixth.
Laurel saw its record slip to 3-13.
Sewickley Academy 9
A four-run rally in the sixth carried host Union to a nonsection win over Sewickley Academy.
Tanille Respress gave the Lady Scots (6-10) their first lead of the game after a two-run double to left centerfield with two outs in the inning. She was thrown out attempting to go to third on the play.
Runs against in the first inning, a problem for Union all season, appeared to doom the team yet again after it surrendered four such runs to the Lady Panthers (9-7). However, the Lady Scots’ bats responded with one run in the first, two in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth, keeping pace with Sewickley Academy until taking the lead for good in the sixth.
“We’ve had some games where we were so far behind early, it was so difficult for us. We just kind of hung in there close enough,” Union coach Gary Trimble said. “We just pounded the ball. We were hitting the ball that hard, that we thought our chance would be there in the end.”
Lasha Clark and Johnna Johnston topped the hit brigade with four apiece. Clark came around to score three times and also stole two bases.
Despite the output, the Lady Scots still left runs on the scoreboard, falling victim to three double plays and coming up empty after loading the bases with no outs in the second.
“We made a lot of mistakes on the bases that cost us some runs,” Trimble said. “The thing about it is, we hung in there the whole time.”
Respress led the team in RBIs with two on her big game-winning double while teammate Gina Gaibis tallied two as well.
“She’s fought injuries all year. We have not used her in the field because she’s had foot and knee problems,” Trimble said of Respress. “She seemed to have a live bat at the beginning of the year. She has great bat velocity and hits the ball hard. She’s just been a solid hitter for us since she got into the lineup.”
Injuries also softened the depth of the Lady Scots’ pitching staff, factoring into the team’s inconsistency finding the win column this season. Starting pitcher Ariel Junkin, hindered with back issues, has been one such player. She started the game and pitched three innings, allowing four runs and one earned run. Jaynna Johnston (2-5) took the reins in relief, pitching four innings, including a scoreless bottom of the seventh, to earn the victory.
“How much adversity these kids have faced, they didn’t give up. To come back and win this game against a good team, a playoff team, it was good for them. It was a battle all the way. It was a stressful game. It was a very ugly game, but we’ll take ugly.”
Evan Kendall’s offensive performance powered the Wildcats to a Section 5-AA win at Mohawk.
Kendall lined a two-run triple in the third and added an RBI single in the fifth as Shenango picked up its second straight section decision.
“We’ve been struggling hitting lately, and we exploded for some,” Wildcats coach Mike Othites said. “We got some good pitching from Tyler Booher. That combination worked well.”
Brent McCormick also collected two hits including a double while Rob Montanari and Anthony Prestopine plated two RBIs each. Brian Tanner also tripled for Shenango. The excitement of a potential playoff berth for the Wildcats (6-8, 10-9) last week was put to rest after the team lost section games to Neshannock, Riverside and Laurel. That hasn’t stopped Shenango from trying to end the year strong.
“Your goals have to change when your opening goals don’t work,” Othites said. “We made some strides and played some younger kids and made some adjustments. We beat the teams we need to beat, but we have to get the ones at the top. Until then, this program will be around .500. I hope the experience this year will come with success next year.”
Looking forward to next season, Shenango will have the benefit of bringing back its entire roster with the exception of four seniors. One of those returning players will be Booher (1-2), who was strong in this one, giving up four runs — three earned — on seven hits and striking out four through six innings.
“His M.O. all year has been he doesn’t walk too many. What he gives you is groundballs and strikeouts,” Othites said. “As long as he has the plays behind him, he’s going to win a few games.”
The Warriors (1-13, 1-14) continued their struggles in dropping their 11th straight. Starter Aaron DeSantis allowed nine earned runs through five innings in the loss.
John Hartzell paced the Mohawk offense with a two-run home run.
Grove City 6,
New Castle 4
The ‘Canes squandered an early advantage in a nonleague loss at Grove City.
New Castle (5-12) held a 4-1 lead before the Eagles answered with three runs to tie the game in the fourth. Three of Grove City’s six hits off starter Sean Coyne (2-4) were in the third inning. Coyne took the loss after allowing six runs in five innings.
The ‘Canes outhit the Eagles 9-6, but couldn’t string together the necessary hits for a comeback. New Castle failed to produce an extra-base hit, stranding the bases loaded in the deciding seventh inning.
“We were putting the ball in play and we actually outhit them, but once again, like the story of our season, we didn’t put enough of them together,” ’Canes coach Paul Malley Jr. said.
Coyne paced New Castle with three singles and an RBI. Gino Quahliero and Vinny Jannetti slapped two singles each.
The Greyhounds got out of a seventh-inning jam to hang on for a District 10, Region 2-AA home win.
The Tigers (7-4, 8-7) had runners at first and second with one out, but Ryan Brumbaugh settled down to get a pair of flyouts to end the game.
“This was a great win for us,” Wilmington coach Garett Malinak said. “Our kids fought hard the entire game and came through in the end. I am very proud with how our kids played today.”
Brumbaugh (3-1) picked up the win in relief. He tossed 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs with no walks and a strikeout.
Davis Smith had three hits for the Greyhounds (7-4, 9-4), including a single, triple and home run. Smith added three RBIs as well.
Travis Brumbaugh collected three hits and three RBIs, including the go ahead run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Jimmy Pitzulo added a pair of hits.
Nate Anthony supplied two hits with a homer as well.
Neshannock falls in WPIAL playoffs
The Neshannock High boys tennis team’s season ended in familiar fashion yesterday.
The 15th-seeded Lancers’ WPIAL Class AA playoff run came to an end in the first round with a 5-0 loss to host Thomas Jefferson.
The loss marked the second straight season the Lancers (9-5) were ousted by the second-seeded Jaguars in the opening round.
Thomas Jefferson returned every starter from that team a year ago, while Neshannock was featuring six new faces in its starting seven.
“Last year, they (Thomas Jefferson) were just gaining experience through their playoff run. We had a senior-oriented team,” Lancers coach Chuck Dess said. “Now, the shoe is on the other foot. They are a very good team.”
Although Neshannock dropped all five of its matches, Dess is still pleased with how the Lancers battled.
“Our kids competed very well. The scores are very deceiving,” Dess said. “Each match, our kids got better from the beginning of March, to each match and each practice. If we had another month to play, we’d be even better.”
Following are the results:
Thomas Jefferson 5, Neshannock 0
1. Jake Nascaro (TJ) def. Max Watters 6-0, 6-3.
2. Sunanyo Gupta (TJ) def. Joe Bullano 6-2, 6-1.
3. John Ha (TJ) def. Nick Hautala 6-3, 6-1.
1. Ritwik Gupta/Keaton Lindberg (TJ) def. Mike Maciarello/Connor Richards 6-3, 6-4.
2. Steve Nicola/Aprzza Patel (TJ) def. Nick Montini/Mitch Cialella 6-2, 6-2.
NEW CASTLE —
The Neshannock High softball team suffered a rare loss yesterday.
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