Laurel pounds out 17 hits to reach Class 2A softball finals

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | 8:07 PM

Frazier softball coach Don Hartman didn’t mince words following his team’s six-inning loss to Laurel in the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals Wednesday.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We’re no match for them,” he said. “They are simply bigger, faster and stronger than us, and they showed that in a couple of spurts today.”

The second-seeded Spartans struck for seven runs in the first inning and relied on a strong pitching performance from Autumn Boyd to rout the third-seeded Commodores, 15-4, at Mars.

With the win, Laurel (16-1) advances to play No. 5 Shenango or No. 1 Ligonier Valley in the Class 2A championship game next week at Cal U.

Laurel, which has now won three of its last four playoff meetings with Frazier (16-4), wasted little time getting on the board.

After allowing a run in the top half of the first, the Spartans quickly took a 2-1 lead on three pitches from freshman Nicole Palmer.

Kaylee Withrow led off with a single and Addie Deal tied the game with an RBI double to right field. One batter later, Boyd lined an RBI single up the middle to give Laurel a one-run edge.

Grace Kissick reached on an infield single before Palmer induced a 6-3 groundout for the first out of the inning.

The next two batters – Grace Zeppelin and Abbie Miles – each delivered with RBI singles to push Laurel’s lead to 4-1.

After Palmer got a big strikeout for the second out of the frame, an error proved costly for the Commodores. Palmer got Bekah Valenti to hit a ground ball to third baseman Delaney Warnick, who corralled it and overthrew Rylee Evans at first base, allowing a pair of runs to score and push the lead to five.

Withrow, who went 4 for 5 with three RBIs in the win, added an RBI double that just stayed fair near the foul line in left field to cap off the first-inning outburst.

Frazier’s offense couldn’t get much going against Boyd in the circle.

She allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits while walking five and striking out 13 in six innings of work.

The Spartans’ bats came alive once again in the fifth and the sixth as they put the game away.

With two outs in the fifth, Eva Kuth got things started with one of her three singles. Valenti then reached on an infield single and Withrow came up big once again, lining an RBI single into right field to extend Laurel’s lead to 8-4.

In the sixth, Laurel scored seven more runs on a three-run home run by Abbie Miles, a two-run double by Deal, an RBI double by Withrow and an RBI single by Frankilyn Duddy.

In addition to Withrow and Kuth, three other Laurel players finished with multi-hit performances. Deal collected three hits in the win, while Boyd and Miles each had two.

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