WEXFORD — The Laurel High softball team’s bats weren’t messing around when it came to defeating Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Wednesday at North Allegheny High School.
The second-seeded Lady Spartans defeated sixth-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 11-1, in the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals to advance to the championship game. The game was stopped in the sixth inning because of the mercy rule.
“I’m excited,” Laurel coach Frank Duddy said of advancing to the championship game. “These girls have been working hard all year. They earned it. We earned a shot so we’re excited about it.”
Nine of Laurel’s 11 runs scored were from home runs.
“We brought the long ball today, man,” Duddy said. “That’s not typical of us, but I’ll tell you what, they were seeing it. The pitcher did a great job of changing speeds, but when we got something to hit...we hit it.”
Laurel (16-2 overall) outhit the Lady Chargers (14-4), 12-2. Addison Deal led Laurel with four RBIs and two home runs.
“I’d say we’re excited, we’re ready to play and I think it’s about time that we need to win another WPIAL championship,” Deal said of the win. “We were just ready to play. We came ready to hit. That’s for sure. We’ve been hitting all week so it’s definitely helped us a lot.”
Deal put up the first run for the Lady Spartans in the bottom of the second inning on a solo home run and Hayden Seifert came up to the plate after Deal and knocked one out of the park as well.
Not to be outdone, Laurel’s Autumn Boyd hit a two-run homer in the second inning to give her team a 4-0 lead.
“I don’t know what to say,” Duddy said of the second inning. “We put four on them in that inning. It gave us a little bit of breathing room; Gracie can relax in the circle and just do what she does. That team wasn’t a bad hitting team either. We played strong defense. I’m just happy for our girls.”
Laurel’s Grace Kissick (7-0) went the distance and gave up two hits, one run — earned — walking three and striking out 10.
“It feels good. It’s really exciting,” Kissick said. “It’s my senior year. It feels good. We were really good (on defense). Lights out. I’m proud of them.”
Our Lay of the Sacred Heart created a bases loaded situation in the top of the third inning. Kissick hit Alexandria Domachowski to give the Lady Chargers their only run of the game.
Laurel’s Grace Zeppelin kept the home run momentum going after hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Eva Kuth plated a run in the fifth and Mayci Lang hit a sacrifice fly to give Laurel an 8-1 lead heading into sixth.
“A little more breathing room,” Duddy said of the fifth inning. “In our eyes, it was a close game. Four to one, that’s anybody’s ball game at that point, but they came through in that next inning and were seeing it; tattooing it.”
Deal finished things off with a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to end the game.
“That was very exciting,” Deal said. “I never actually hit a walk off so it’s very exciting.”
“I just had a feeling she was gonna (finish it). When she came up to bat with two runners on, I’m thinking, ‘This could be over here right now,’ and there it goes,” Duddy said. “She saw the ball great tonight; squared them up. She’s a big, strong kid. When she squares it up, it goes a long ways.”
Duddy praised his team’s defensive effort.
“We work real hard on our defense,” Duddy said. “You wouldn’t know it from our pregame warmups. I don’t think we had a good one yet, but when it comes game time we usually play defense. It’s about what I expected from these guys.”
The Lady Spartans are set to face section rival Neshannock at PennWest University’s Lilley Field at a time and date to be determined.
“We kind of figured Neshannock would be there,” Duddy said. “They’re a fantastic team, well coached, full of athletes, full of hitters, great pitching. We’re going to get after it. It’s not the first time we’ve seen them and I’m sure it won’t be the last.”
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