Southmoreland softball stays unbeaten, tops Yough

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Wednesday, April 10, 2024 | 8:23 PM


Yough kept Amarah McCutcheon’s bat quiet, which was an impressive accomplishment.

But the softball shortstop from Southmoreland zapped the Cougars with her arm to stifle a seventh-inning rally and keep the Scotties unbeaten.

As Yough threatened with two on and two out, McCutcheon snared a sharply hit grounder by freshman Brooke Kowalski deep in the infield. She reared back and threw a dart to first for the game-sealing putout and a 4-3 victory in Section 3-3A as light rain fell Wednesday in Alverton.

McCutcheon’s arm strength was evident in the pop sound the ball made when it cannonballed into senior first baseman Kaylee Doppelheuer’s glove.

“There is nobody else who makes that play,” Yough coach Art “Dutch” Harvey said of McCutcheon, who was 0 for 3 with a strikeout. “That’s a run right there, and it’s a tie game.”

No. 2-ranked Southmoreland (7-0, 2-0) allowed a season high for runs but held back No. 4 Yough (2-1, 1-1), which cut a two-run deficit to one on junior Adoria Waldier’s solo homer to open the seventh.

A walk to junior Makayla Spoonhoward and a single by senior Katie Proctor had the Cougars in position to tie it and force the Scotties to take their final at-bats, but McCutcheon, a Cal (Pa.) commit, wasn’t having it.

“I don’t know if anybody in the WPIAL or state makes that play,” Scotties coach Todd Bunner said. “One heck of a play. There are days when you don’t get the home run or double. But you might make a play in the field that changes the game.”

The teams’ latest matchup wasn’t quite the 15-14 slugfest that bubbled up in last year’s WPIAL quarterfinal, but it still had a playoff feel.

And Southmoreland won again, but just barely. Southmoreland and a shaky outfield made a season-high four errors but managed 10 hits against the Cougars, who left 11 on base.

“We made some mental errors the we don’t usually make, and (Yough) hit the ball,” Bunner said. “We gave them extra batters. Balls can’t be dropping in the outfield with three players around them.”

Southmoreland scored three times in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead.

Sophomore Zoey Welling ripped a two-run double and junior Makayla Etling, who committed this week to UNC Pembroke, added a sacrifice fly.

Yough cut it to 4-2 in the third on a run-scoring single by sophomore Kylie Odelli.

“We needed a couple more hits here and there,” Harvey said. “We’ve had different lineups all three games. We’re still looking for a leadoff hitter. We’re learning as we go.”

Freshman Brooke Kowalski went 3 for 4 with a double for Yough, while Odelli had two hits and Waldier scored twice.

The top five hitters for Southmoreland were a combined 3 for 14.

“It’s not going to just roll into your lap,” Bunner said, referring to his team’s expectations. “Yough is a very competitive team. Our girls had some nerves, but that is what makes you more mature. They put some girls on base, but we shut it down.”

Harvey is excited about a promising 19-player team that features 11 up-and-coming freshmen, including pitcher Kylee Fisher, who homered in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Ligonier Valley and ace pitcher Cheyenne Piper.

Yough has a junior varsity team for the first time in three years.

“She’s outstanding,” Harvey said. “And our defense was excellent in the outfield.”

Junior Taylor Doppelheuer gave the Scotties a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single to left, but Yough tied it on a throwing error in the bottom of the inning.

Fisher allowed five hits in six innings.

Senior Maddie Brown earned the win despite only two strikeouts and 10 hits.

The Scotties have outscored opponents 65-4.

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

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