Trib HSSN softball team of the week for June 9, 2024

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Sunday, June 9, 2024 | 6:15 PM


Trib HSSN softball team of the week: Laurel Spartans

Coach: Frank Duddy (ninth year)

Record: Laurel finished in second place in Section 1-2A with a 10-2 record. It is 20-5 heading into the PIAA semifinals and a third meeting against rival Neshannock. The Spartans have won 14 of their last 15 games.

#Earned: After bowing out in the first round of the PIAA postseason a year ago, Laurel is on a roll with two state playoff victories. In the opening round Monday, the Spartans ousted the District 9 champions, winning at Cranberry, 4-1. The quarterfinal game Thursday was a rematch of a WPIAL semifinals defeat in which Laurel lost to Bentworth in heartbreak fashion 2-1 when the Bearcats’ Sofia Gaussa hit a walk-off two-run double. This time, each team scored three runs in the third inning, however the difference was single runs in the first and sixth innings as Laurel defeated Bentworth, 5-3. The Spartans advance to the state semifinals at 4 p.m. Monday against Neshannock at Mohawk High School. A win would clinch Laurel’s first trip to the PIAA softball championship game.

Standout performers: The hot stick of sophomore Mayci Lang and the red hot pitching of senior Autumn Boyd were quite the combination this past week. Against Cranberry, Lang was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI in the three-run triumph. Three days later against Bentworth, Lang was 2 for 3 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs in the two-run victory. In the circle, Boyd was lights out both games. She had 10 strikeouts against the Berries in the opening round and then came back with a two hitter that included striking out 14 Bearcats. The third punchout of the 14 K’s was historic, marking Boyd’s 500th career strikeout.

Last Year: The Spartans finished in the same spot as they did a year ago: second place in Section 1-2A with a 10-2 section record, two games behind Neshannock. Following a first-round bye, Laurel defeated Riverside in the quarterfinals 3-2 and OLSH in the semifinals 11-1. The third time was not a charm in last year’s WPIAL Class 2A title game as Laurel lost to Neshannock again 12-2. The Spartans’ stay in the state playoffs was short as they fell in the opening round to eventual state champion Everett, 15-12, in a wild one. Laurel finished with a record of 16-4.

Remember when: Five years ago, the Laurel softball program was in the middle of a golden trifecta. The Spartans’ first district championship came in 2018 when they rolled past Bentworth, Seton LaSalle and Chartiers-Houston on their way to the 2A title game. There, they blanked defending champion Frazier, 1-0. A year later, Laurel finished 21-3 and repeated as District 7 winners. In the playoffs, they racked up wins over Riverview, Carmichaels and Freedom before beating Frazier again in the 2019 title game 9-3. They finished 18-2 including postseason wins over Steel Valley, Burgettstown and Frazier before knocking off rival Shenango in the finals 6-5.

2024 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week

Week 9 — Mohawk Warriors

Week 8 — Thomas Jefferson Jaguars

Week 7 — Latrobe Wildcats

Week 6 — Penn-Trafford Warriors

Week 5 — Hempfield Spartans

Week 4 — Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers

Week 3 — West Allegheny Indians

Week 2 — Elizabeth Forward Warriors

Week 1 — Ellwood City Wolverines

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