Ciara Camacho takes a bite out of Kiski Area in Franklin Regional win

Friday, April 21, 2023 | 8:50 PM

After the softball game ended, Ciara Camacho scooped up her puppy, “Chubbs,” and cradled him as she headed for the family vehicle.

The friendly “Frug,” a French Bulldog and Pug mix, fussed a little bit, but his owner secured him tightly.

Camacho, Franklin Regional’s sophomore catcher and leadoff hitter, also wouldn’t let go of Kiski Area.

She dogged the Cavaliers all afternoon Friday as the Panthers won a Section 2-5A game 6-3 in Murrysville.

Camacho went 4 for 4 with two doubles, a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored to pace Franklin Regional (6-5, 4-2).

She sent the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence, and the solo home run set the tone for a season sweep of the Cavaliers (5-5, 1-5).

“They were pitching me to the same spot, and I just kept hitting it,” she said.

Maybe it is because she played baseball and wrestled growing up that Camacho shows a unique toughness on the softball field.

The wrestling would explain that cradle move on Chubbs.

“I think wrestling, baseball and my older brothers definitely gave me the toughness I have,” the happy-go-lucky Camacho said. “We were a little flat last game and got shut out, so after that game I stayed after practice and hit for a half hour more. I worked on inside, outside, everything. We wanted to bounce back.”

The Panthers were coming off a 3-0 loss to Class 3A Mt. Pleasant, a game in which they had 10 hits but left an eye-popping 11 on base.

The only thing they left on base this time were cleat marks.

Sophomore second baseman Toryn Fulton added two hits, including a two-run homer, as Franklin Regional scored three unanswered runs after the Cavaliers tied it 3-3 in the fourth.

“Camacho gets them going,” Kiski Area coach John Kinnamon said. “She is a tough out.”

Camacho doubled to open the third, and Fulton went deep to left center for her seventh homer of the season to make it 3-0.

“They’re both gems,” Panthers coach Jim Armstrong said of Camacho and Fulton. “They’re tremendous players. I have never had a catcher like Ciara. She is a leadoff hitter who hits for power. And she’s smokin’ fast.”

Fulton is hitting over. 600. The team has 19 homers.

Kiski Area pushed back in the fourth with three runs.

Senior pitcher Hannah Simpson singled to left, and senior Kaylee Musco’s harmless grounder led to two errors, which allowed the Cavaliers’ first run to score.

Freshman Hannah Hill followed with a single, and Isabella Delia cracked a two-run double to make it 3-3.

But the Panthers settled down defensively and added a run in the bottom of the fourth on another Camacho double, this one with two outs.

“For as much as their offense is talked about, their defense is tough,” Kinnamon said. Franklin Regional registered 10 flyouts and 10 groundouts.

Freshman Adrianna Martz tripled in the fifth run in the next inning before Fulton knocked in Camacho again with a single in the sixth for a 6-3 lead.

“It was a good game for us,” Fulton said. “Our bats came alive.”

Armstrong said he saw a better effort from his team.

“All (of the games) mean everything,” he said. “We can secure a playoff spot, which is what we want, but we could also end up in first place if we can win some more games.”

Senior Tait Ramchandran went 2 for 3 for the Panthers.

Kiski Area has dropped 4 of 5.

“We had a couple miscues, but I am proud of our girls,” Kinnamon said. “We didn’t have any K’s. We hit the ball and put it in play. Our section is a meat-grinder. The best teams in the WPIAL are in our section.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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