Make no mistake, Franklin Regional softball team shuts down Latrobe

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 | 8:18 PM

Backlit by an error-free performance from her defense, senior pitcher Carli Ramchandran put together one of the better outings of her career against a strong lineup.

It led to a 4-1 victory over Latrobe that was crisp, sound and necessary for the Franklin Regional softball team.

Ramchandran threw a two-hitter as the Panthers earned a section split with the Wildcats on Wednesday in Murrysville.

“Patience was a big thing for me today,” said Ramchandran, who struck out four and walked two. “If (Latrobe) did something, my infield came to me in the circle and said, you got this. I just took a deep breath and kept going.”

The Panthers (8-5, 6-2) have won four of their last five and moved into sole possession of second place in Section 2-5A.

Latrobe (10-3, 5-3), which produced its lowest hit total of the season, dropped its second straight after a 10-1 loss to Armstrong earlier in the week.

“We did a great job defensively,” Panthers coach Jim Armstrong said. “I have said it before: Carli is establishing herself as one of the best pitchers in our section. When you pitch well and play defense, you win games.”

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the first and clung to a 2-1 advantage until the sixth, when pinch-hitter Mackenzie Woehler provided some insurance.

She lifted a soft, two-run single to center to make it 4-1.

Woehler was in the lineup, but she is the flex player, for whom the designated hitter bats. When she got her chance to swing the bat, she didn’t let Armstrong down.

“The last two games, I had two strikeouts,” said Woehler, a senior. “I told myself not to think about it and just make contact. I didn’t need a home run, I just wanted to get a hit. This win is so important for us.”

Armstrong had a feeling Woehler was due for a hit.

“I told her to get up there and play the hero,” Armstrong said.

Senior Lexie Patberg walked to start the sixth and was sacrificed to second, before freshman Adrianna Martz singled.

Patberg was held at third after Martz’s hit before Woehler delivered.

Latrobe went quietly in the seventh, even after a walk to senior Hayden Kraynick.

“We knew we’re capable of beating the top teams,” said Ramchandran, who threw 98 pitches. “This gives us confidence going into (Friday’s) game (at) Armstrong.”

The Panthers nearly beat the top-ranked River Hawks earlier at home, falling 4-3.

Franklin Regional took a 2-0 lead Wednesday when senior Madison Nguyen ripped a two-out double to left center, and Patberg followed with an RBI single.

Latrobe cut it to 2-1 in the top of the second on a solo home run to right by Kraynick with two outs. It was her third homer against the Panthers this season.

She homered twice and drove in five in an 8-3 Latrobe win April 12. The Wildcats had 10 hits in that game to Franklin Regional’s three.

Senior Josie Straigis, the pitcher for Latrobe, singled in the fourth for her team’s only other hit. But the Wildcats could not do anything with it.

Franklin Regional mustered only six hits.

The Panthers loaded the bases in the third after sophomore Ciara Camacho and senior Sydney Jackson singled, and sophomore Toryn Fulton was hit by a pitch.

But Straigis managed a strikeout, flyout and groundout to curb the jam.

“They made the plays and got the timely hitting,” Latrobe coach Bob Kovalcin said. “It was their day. Kudos to them, they played well. Their pitcher got us to reach, and we hit popups.

“That’s two games in a row I got my (butt) beat.”

Straigis struck out five in the loss.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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