Small ball helps Shaler sneak past Fox Chapel in Section 3-5A

Friday, April 9, 2021 | 8:09 PM

The Shaler Area softball team has been showing off its power, but after a one-run loss to West Allegheny earlier this week, coach Tom Sorce said the Titans were going to do whatever they could to push runs across the plate.

With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning of a Section 3-5A matchup with Fox Chapel (3-2, 2-1) on Friday, Sorce decided to have his No. 2 and No. 3 hitters sacrifice bunt to score Ellie Facher from second base and take a one-run lead en route to a 3-1 Shaler victory.

“We’ve hit 12 home runs in four games, so they have the power and I’m the small-ball guy,” Sorce said. “I told them I have to get runs on the board. After losing 1-0, I told them I am playing to get a run. So I bunt my No. 2 hitter and I bunted my No. 3 hitter, and that was to get the runs that we needed.”

The Titans (3-2, 1-0) added a third run in the fifth inning when junior catcher Camryn Murphy tallied her second RBI of the game with a double to right field that scored Facher from second, and the Titans notched their first section win of the season.

“It’s always hard to get the first one, especially against a good opponent and a quality pitcher,” Sorce said. “We did what we had to do to get it done. We’re a young team. We have no senior starters, and the younger ones need to learn how to win.”

The younger Titans came up big.

In the second inning, the Foxes loaded the bases and got their only run when freshman Caitie Troutman knocked in Hunter Taylor with an infield dribbler.

With the bases still loaded though, Shaler’s sophomore pitcher, Bethany Rodman, struck out the next three batters to escape the biggest jam that she would face.

“That was the biggest inning of the game for us,” Sorce said.

Rodman finished with eight strikeouts and only allowed two runners to reach third base.

Fox Chapel (3-2, 0-1) got runners on base, but they couldn’t bring them around to score as it tallied eight hits but left nine runners on base.

Fox Chapel coach Chris Olbrich believes their bats will catch up to their defense in due time.

“We just need to bring the bats a little more,” Olbrich said. “We put the ball in play and we got girls on base, and when you have the bases loaded and you strike out three times that’s pretty tough, but we’ll work on it and we’ll get the bats going. We’ll wake ‘em up.”

Mackenzie Borkovich also had another solid game in the circle for Fox Chapel. She pitched another complete game and struck out eight.

So far this season, she’s recorded two games with 19 strikeouts.

“She’s awesome. She’s pitching great, and she keeps us in every game,” Olbrich said. “We just have to start hitting for her a little more so she doesn’t have to feel like every mistake or every near miss is a dagger. She pitched well today though.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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