No. 1 Penn-Trafford rallies past Franklin Regional to stay unbeaten

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019 | 9:11 PM


Franklin Regional pitcher Angalee Beall held No. 1 Penn-Trafford hitless for the first four innings of Tuesday’s Section 1-5A first-place showdown.

But things changed quickly in the final three innings, especially with one out in the fifth.

Penn-Trafford strung together six consecutive hits, scored four runs, and rolled to a 7-1 victory. The Warriors (8-0, 7-0) now lead Latrobe (9-1, 6-1) by a game and are two games ahead of Franklin Regional (6-4, 5-2).

Patience and timely two-strike hitting keyed the win.

The Warriors trailed 1-0 when the bottom of their order went to work. With one out, third baseman Jess Lichota singled. Pinch-hitter Lizzy Horvat then rolled a double down the left field line.

“I think it was our mentality that changed in the fifth inning,” Penn-Trafford coach Denny Little said. “We weren’t hitting her. She did a good job keeping us off balance.

“We had to take a different approach, a two-strike approach that we’ve been working on. We made the adjustment and were patience.”

Freshman Hannah Allen, pinch hitting for Bailey Perrin, singled to right to score pinch runner Alayna Conrad to tie the score.

That was followed by RBI singles from Madison Forsythe, Emma Armstrong and Brooke Cleland to make it 4-1.

“The double down the line was the key hit,” Franklin Regional coach Jim Armstrong said. “We had a chance to make a play and didn’t. Penn-Trafford was really aggressive and hit the ball. I knew one run wasn’t going to win this game.”

Franklin Regional, which scored an unearned run in the second inning on a single by Sara Cowell, had numerous scoring opportunities in the first three innings but was turned away.

In the second inning, Olivia Yurinko tried to score when the ball got away from shortstop Morgan Nedley. But Forsythe recovered at second base and gunned her out at home on a close play.

After the third inning, Penn-Trafford pitchers Morgan Hilty and Allen kept the Franklin Regional hitters quiet.

“Once we got to her, things changed even more,” Little said. “The defense has to bail you out when you’re not hitting. Getting the girl out at home was huge. If they go up 2-0, it hurts your mentality.”

Penn-Trafford then brought out the big bats in the top of the seventh to put the game away. Forsythe singled and Emma Armstrong followed with a long home run over the center-field fence. Armstrong had two hits and three RBIs.

Cleland then launched a drive to match Armstrong’s blast to make it 7-1. Morgan Nedley almost made it three consecutive home runs when she lined a double off the top of the fence in left field. Cleland finished with two RBIs.

“Franklin is really good,” Emma Armstrong said. “We split the section with them last year, and they are always a challenge for us every single year. Coach Little always says that every single person has a job, and if you do it you’re going to win.

“We were slow out of the gates, but he brought in a couple pinch hitters, and they did what was expected. They got us some hits, and it turned the game around.”

Penn-Trafford doesn’t have too much time to celebrate because it has another big section game Wednesday against Connellsville.

“This section is so tough,” Jim Armstrong said. “Anyone can beat anyone on any given day.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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