A-K Valley softball notebook: Plum breaks out bats in return to action

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | 10:59 PM

Plum players had to wait a week to get the bad taste of a 5-0 loss to Section 1-5A rival Franklin Regional out of their mouths.

The Mustangs had section games Friday against Woodland Hills (covid) and Monday against Kiski Area (rain) postponed.

So Plum was more than ready Wednesday to take on section leader Armstrong on its home field at Plum High School.

The River Hawks came in averaging 12 runs a game, and they put up their fair share against the Mustangs, but Plum did some hitting of its own and scored a key 9-6 victory.

Plum, which collected nine hits, trailed 2-0 in the third before erupting for seven runs in the bottom of the inning against Armstrong starter Julia Hetrick.

The River Hawks (5-2, 3-1) rallied to within one, but Plum (4-2, 2-1) picked up single insurance runs in the fifth and sixth.

Mackenzie Lang doubled, homered and drove in two, while Hannah Blanford added a home run and knocked in two. Fran Beighley and Jaralyn Kincaid also tallied a pair of RBIs.

Plum pitcher Melanie Meinke gave up eight hits and walked four, but she struck out seven to get the win.

Stinging the ball

Freeport’s offense was expected to be strong coming into the season.

After getting stymied in a 5-2 loss at Armstrong on March 26, the Yellowjackets erupted for 13 in a win over Mohawk, added eight more in a close 9-8 loss to Mars and then tallied 14 in a 14-4 victory over Highlands in its Section 1-4A opener Friday.

Freeport hoped to keep the bats going Wednesday in a section matchup at Greensburg Salem. The Yellowjackets (3-2, 1-1) scored 13 runs, but the Golden Lions (1-6, 1-2) prevailed 14-13.

The Freeport lineup from top to bottom was effective against Highlands.

Eight of nine in the starting lineup collected at least one hit, as the team recorded 15 in the game. Also, eight of nine collected at least one RBI and all nine scored at least one run.

Third baseman Autumn Powell collected a double and a single, driving in three, while Emily Schmidt doubled twice and drove in a run and Aimee Heasley tripled and knocked in two.

Knights bounce back

In a Section 1-4A race that is showing itself to be more and more competitive, Knoch got itself back in the win column Wednesday with a walk-off win over Burrell.

Lilly Hawk delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 victory. The win came just one day after a 13-9 loss to Highlands.

Behind the pitching of Bailey Rickenbrode and an offense which produced nine hits — five of them doubles — Knoch improved to 2-1 in the section.

Highlands has now won two section games in a row — it topped McKeesport 8-2 on Wednesday — after the section-opening loss to Freeport. Burrell also is 2-1.

A strong arm for Burrell

Burrell sophomore Katie Armstrong is among the area leaders in strikeouts.

She entered Wednesday’s matchup at Section 1-4A foe Knoch with 67 through five games, including 14 in a 6-0 win over Greensburg Salem on Tuesday.

She struck out seven Knoch batters Wednesday to bring her total to 74.

The Bucs, 3-3 overall, started out 0-2 with low-scoring losses to Norwin, 2-1, and Fox Chapel, 1-0, before erupting for a 15-0 win over Springdale and a 10-2 triumph against McKeesport.

Burrell has surrendered just 10 runs over six games. It will take on a Yellowjackets team Friday which has averaged 12 runs over its past four contests.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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