Plum freshman tosses 5-inning perfect game in win over Fox Chapel

Monday, April 17, 2023 | 9:18 PM

The Plum softball team put up three runs in the top of the first inning of a Section 1-5A game Monday in cool, drizzly and sometimes breezy conditions at Fox Chapel.

Mustangs freshman pitcher Riley Stephans then retired the Foxes in order in the bottom of the inning with two strikeouts.

The Plum offense added on, and Stephans and the Mustangs defense clamped down.

Stephans didn’t allow a single runner through five innings and struck out nine in a perfect game. Plum added a run in the fourth and tacked on eight runs in the fifth in a 12-0 victory.

“This felt pretty good because I had felt a little off lately,” said Stephans, who improved to 5-3.

“This game helped build up my confidence. I pitched well, and it was a great feeling to know I can trust my defense behind me. We work a lot on infield in practice. It’s great when things are working well in games.”

Stephans struck out two Fox Chapel batters in each of the first four innings and added her ninth in the fifth. Only one ball left the infield: a two-out fly ball to center off the bat of Foxes pitcher Hunter Taylor to end the fourth.

“Riley looked great out there,” Plum coach Phil DiLonardo said. “Fifteen at-bats and you get nine strikeouts, that’s pretty darn good. With a lineup that can play strong defense, it allows her to relax.”

Plum and Fox Chapel came into the game tied for third in the section behind Shaler and North Hills. The Mustangs, now 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the section, return to action Friday at North Hills. The Indians won the first matchup 5-2 on April 3.

“The team is young, and it has taken some of them half of the season to come to where we’re at right now,” DiLonardo said.

“I really like where we’re at. Friday is a huge game for us. We have three days of practice to get some things right, and we’ll go from there.”

Fox Chapel fell to 4-5 overall, 2-3 in the section. The Foxes hope to bounce back with a nonsection game at Kiski Area on Wednesday before a matchup with Shaler on Friday.

“It was one of those days,” Fox Chapel coach Chris Olbrich said. “I told them basically to go home and shower this one off like (former Pirates manager) Clint Hurdle used to say and come back ready to practice tomorrow.”

“There’s nothing that can be done about this game. It wasn’t up to our standards. Plum took advantage of some miscues, and we just couldn’t put the ball in play.”

Plum finished with six hits and took advantage of nine walks from Taylor and Foxes reliever Bailey Mack.

Stephans helped her cause with a two-run double in the fifth.

Third baseman Mackenzie Marotta doubled home two runs in the first and added a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Dani Pici and Liana Yusko each added a pair of RBIs, and Mackenzie Lang doubled twice.

“North Hills is coming up for us, and I think that if we continue to play like we have been playing, we can turn it around from the first time,” Stephans said.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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