Montour punishes Chartiers Valley for mistakes, reaches Class 4A championship game

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 | 11:08 PM

The weather at West Mifflin on Wednesday for the Class 4A softball semifinals game between Montour and Chartiers Valley was sunny with temps near 80 degrees.

Yet somehow for the Colts, there was a snowball that turned into an avalanche of self-inflicted wounds.

Chartiers Valley walks, errors, wild pitches and passed balls all added up to a one-sided Montour win, 10-0, putting the Spartans into the district title game for the first time in 11 years.

“We split with them in the regular season, and both games were tight,” Montour coach Ken Kutchman said. “That’s not indicative of who they are. They’re a good team.”

Colts mistakes were evident early and often as Montour scored four runs in the first three innings on only one hit.

That one hit got the snowball rolling.

With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Colts starter Zoe Mangan walked Spartans senior Avrie Polo before junior Jana Hess smacked a two-run homer deep over the left field fence.

In the Montour second inning, Danielle Terpack walked and courtesy runner Ava Bartell came around to score on two wild pitches and a sac fly by Mia Arndt.

Mangan was chased after one out in the second inning and replaced by Colts sophomore Taylor Walsh.

The following inning, Hess reached on an error, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on a passed ball and scored on yet another wild pitch.

Two more Colts errors and another RBI by Hess put the Spartans up 7-0 after four innings.

“(Hess) has been our third-best hitter all year,” Kutchman said. “She has an average of around .509 for the year, but she’s been big all year. She has taken a big step forward this year to become a very consistent hitter.”

While Chartiers Valley was struggling in the circle and on defense, the Colts also weren’t doing much on offense.

Their only baserunner against senior Kaitlyn Molitoris in the five-inning game was Mangan, who doubled to the fence in right-center field in the top of the fifth inning. She went to third on a wild pitch but was left stranded.

“She was on it (Wednesday),” Kutchman said of Molitoris. “She was focused, and I saw that from her warmup. She was hitting every spot. I walked away and said, ‘OK, she’s ready.’”

The game ended when Hailey Staub and Delaney Barto singled and two Colts throwing errors brought home another run before Arndt ended it with a walk-off two run homer.

“We try to preach to keep the pressure on offensively and defensively,” Kutchman said. “Every inning we got runners on and made things happen, came up with some key hits and played a good game.”

Chartiers Valley (17-3) needs to erase this one from its memory bank and prepare to play Elizabeth Forward in the 4A third-place game next week with a PIAA playoff berth at stake.

“This was definitely not the outcome we were expecting,” Chartiers Valley coach Chris Lloyd said. “Montour is a good team. We know each other well. Kate pitched well for them, and they had some big hits by Jana and Mia. I told my girls after that we are a good team and you can’t hang your head on one game. We have to get back to work and prepare for Elizabeth Forward.”

Montour (15-3) is one win from the program’s fifth WPIAL championship (1979, 1987, 2010, 2012). The Spartans will play Belle Vernon at Lilley Field at Pennwest University, California, on May 31 or June 1 for the district 4A crown.

Belle Vernon has a great program, and they are good year in and year out,” Kutchman said. “We see them occasionally in the fall, and they’re always well coached with good players.”

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