Chartiers-Houston Rallies in 9th for Dramatic WPIAL Class A Softball Title

Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 2:08 PM

In another classic in the Class A softball championship game at California University's Lilley Field, the Chartiers-Houston rallied in the bottom of the ninth to claim back to back titles with a walk-off win. With two outs and trailing 2 to 1, Piper McLaughlin tripled past centerfielder Megan Bayles to bring home both the tying and winning runs to give the Buccaneers their ninth WPIAL championship.

Carmichaels had taken the lead in the top of the ninth when Morgan Berardi reached on a error and scored on Lindsey Osborne double with two outs. Kelli Dufresne singled to lead off the bottom of the inning, Kassic Kesneck bunted her to second, Megan Kraushaar singled to move Berardi to third, Kayla Briggs popped out to short and all looked lost for Char-Houston before McLaughlin came to the plate. The junior, who is listed on the roster as a first baseman, struggled in the outfield on several balls, she thought the ball was going to be caught, she just continued to run, not knowing if any runners scored or not until she reached third base.

Head coach Tricia Alderson said the Bucs continued to battle, rallying twice for the win, she credited her team for remaining calm, even when trailing twice. Alderson also credited her system from all of the players over the years and the support from the community for Char-Houston's amazing run of six Class A titles since the class was formed in 1999. Kraushaar was 2 for 4 with a double for the Bucs, Haley Sutton also doubled for Char-Houston, who is now 23-1 on the season.

With the win, Chartiers-Houston will now play District 9 runner-up Brockway, who fell 4-0 to Elk County on Wednesday, in the first round of the PIAA tournament on Monday.

It was a story of missed opportunities in the early part of the game. The Mighty Mikes stranded six baserunners over the first four innings. The best chance to score for Camichaels was in the second, Sarah Hathaway led off with a single, after being moved to second on a bunt, Amanda Brown made it runners at the corners with a single. Brown stole second, then Regina Menhart grounded back to pitcher Kayla Briggs in the circle, Hathaway got caught too far off of third and was tagged out.

Carmichaels also had a golden opportunity in the fourth, cleanup hitter Lindsey Osbourne hit a fly ball to left that McLaughlin misjudged in the sun for a two base error. Sarah Hathaway moved Osbourne up with a sacrifice, after a walk, Briggs got Brown to pop out to second and Menhart struck out to end the inning.

Cashing in continued to be a problem for Carmichaels, Osbourne blistered a double down the left field line to lead off the top of the sixth, but Briggs was able to get three consecutive ground outs without Osbourne scoring to keep the game scoreless.

Char-Houston had only two base runners over the first five innings. Cameron Grimes had retired seven straight before Megan Kraushaar doubled to left. But Grimes would get bailed out on a great play by Morgan Berardi. The junior shortstop took a grounder hit by Briggs, she faked out Krausaar and tagged her out trying to advance to third.

Both teams had a chance to win the game in the seventh. Menhart led off the top of the inning with a double for Carmichaels, the bases were loaded with one out after back to back walks to Burns and Berardi. Grimes hit a fly ball to shallow right center that Dufresne had a bead on coming from center, but Kesneck cut in front of her from right to make the catch with her back to the infield, allowing runner Anna Cree to score from third. Osbourne was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, but Sarah Hathaway flew out to Kesneck in right to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Ashley Hall led off with an amazing at bat, seeing thirteen pitches before she grounded to Burns at second, the throw was wide of the base, allowing Hall to reach. Casey Craig came on to run at first. Haley Sutton just missed a homer on a deep fly to left center that hit the top of the fence. Alderson called on Samantha Elliott to pinch hit, she singled down the first base line over the drawn in infield. Grimes rallied back to strike out Kesneck and get Kraushaar to pop out to short, Briggs was intentionally walked, McLaughlin lined to second, Burns jumped as high as she could, making the catch and sending the game to extra innings.

A great defensive play ended the bottom of the eighth inning, Colby Miller's lead off single for Char-Houston, she moved over to third with two outs, Sutton hit a sinking liner to short, that Berardi had to dive for to make the catch and end the inning, setting up the action packed ninth inning.

Burns and Osbourne were both 2 for 4 for the Mighty Mikes, both of Osbourne's hits were doubles. Menhart also doubled for the Carmichaels, now 22-2 overall. The Mighty Mikes will face Fannet-Metal, who defeated Hyndman Wednesday to claim the District 5 championship. That game will also be on Monday.  

Carmichaels Mighty Mikes : 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 1 = 2-7-1
Char-Houston Buccaneers : 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 2 = 3-8-4

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