Laurel dethrones Frazier en route to WPIAL Class 2A softball title

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 2:48 PM

After matching zeros for six innings, Laurel ended defending champion Frazier's no-hit bid in the seventh and wound up with its first WPIAL softball championship.

Though not after some tense moments.

Down a run, Frazier loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of seventh but didn't score, preserving Laurel's 1-0 victory on Wednesday.

“Just watching this, I'm thinking, ‘First mistake is going to lose this game,' ” Laurel coach Frank Duddy said.

Kaylee Withrow's RBI double followed a triple by Mackenzie Latess in the top of the seventh, accounting for Laurel's only hits against Frazier righthander Logan Hartman, and the Spartans held on to beat the Commodores at Seton Hill University to claim the Class 2A title.

Laurel (13-3), the No. 6 seed and Section 4 regular-season runner-up, will play District 10 runner-up Cochranton in a PIAA first-round game Monday at a time and site to be determined.

For Frazier, it was a crushing loss after winning a WPIAL title a year ago and advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals.

“Logan threw an amazing game,” Frazier coach Don Hartman said of his daughter's performance. “She misses one spot and gives up a triple. I can't blame anybody but ourselves. We had chances and couldn't get a bunt down, couldn't get a bloop, couldn't get a seeing-eye single, couldn't get a Texas Leaguer, couldn't get a passed ball. They played perfect.”

Top-seeded and Section 3 champ Frazier (16-6) appeared likely to at least tie the score in the bottom of the seventh, but Laurel righthander Madyson Boyd pitched out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Savannah Berklovich and enticing Megan Celaschi and Kathryn Barch to bounce into force outs to end the game.

“It was a total group effort. It might have been the best softball game I've ever been around,” Duddy said. “They played a heckuva game themselves. If we play this game tomorrow, you never know.”

Boyd, like Logan Hartman, a sophomore, thanked her teammates for bailing her out of the seventh-inning dilemma.

“It was a little bit scary there,” she said, “but I trust my defense so much. We've been a really solid team on defense.”

Boyd, who also survived Frazier rallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, gave up four hits, including back-to-back singles in the seventh by Rylee Evans and Lauren Mastowski that followed Kara Mastowski's second hit-batsman of the game.

Boyd struck out seven and walked one intentionally.

Hard-luck loser Logan Hartman, who pitched 6 13 hitless innings for Frazier, struck out 10, including five in a row at one point, and did not issue a walk.

“I tell my girls all the time, it takes a miracle to win a WPIAL championship,” Don Hartman said. “You've got to play perfect, and that team today played perfect. (Barch) hits a missile down to third base, and (Latess) picks that ball. If not, we win the game 2-1.”

After Boyd fanned Berklovich for the third time with the bases loaded in the seventh, Celaschi hit a grounder to Laurel second baseman Allison Andre, who threw home to nip Kara Mastowski for the second out.

Barch followed with a sharp grounder to Latess, who stepped on the third-base bag to end the game.

Frazier wasted scoring opportunities in the fourth and sixth, when Boyd retired the final two batters, and in the fifth, when she got three consecutive outs. Each time, the Commodores stranded a runner at third.

“Maddy Boyd was a rock for us today,” Duddy said. “She was lights out. Logan, for them, too. Both of them were firing BBs. It was a very well-played ball game.”

Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.

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