West Allegheny tops Connellsville for 3rd straight WPIAL softball title
Friday, May 31, 2019 | 3:56 PM
Coaches who have won multiple championships have compared them to having kids. They are all different, and they are all awesome.
“I think that’s absolutely one of the best ways I’ve ever heard that put,” West Allegheny coach Mindi McFate said.
She should know. McFate has three children and now three straight WPIAL Class 5A softball crowns after West Allegheny edged Connellsville, 3-2, on Friday afternoon at Peters Township High School.
The Indians (12-7) advance to the PIAA playoffs where they will face the No. 5 team out of District 3 on Monday in the first round. The Falcons (16-7) will face the No. 2 team in District 3 on Monday.
This title was different then the championships won in 2017 and ‘18. West Allegheny was a combined 46-4 in those years and was a top seed.
This season, the Indians began the district playoffs with an 8-7 record and were the No. 10 seed in a 14-team tournament.
“We’ve been here, but every year has been different,” McFate said. “When you come in as the underdog with no expectations, its nerve wracking but in a different way than when everybody is expecting you to win.”
West Allegheny struck first in the top of the first inning when senior Alyssa Goldstrohm singled home Britney Wilson.
Connellsville tied it in the bottom of the first when sophomore Abby King had a two-out infield single, went to second on a walk to Kylee Yothers and scored on a single by senior Kaybree Benton.
The Indians took the lead for good in the third inning on a leadoff home run by sophomore Megan Pollinger.
“I heard Coach Dev (Angela Devereaux) say go two, go two,” said Pollinger of her big hit. “Then I looked up and I saw everybody standing up.”
West A added on in the fourth when junior Britney Wilson scored on a throwing error.
The Falcons pulled to within one in the bottom of the fourth when junior Kara May doubled and scored on a Mia Burd single.
Connellsville, looking for the school’s second softball crown and first since 1997, got the leadoff batter on in the sixth and two on in the seventh, but could not get the equalizer off sophomore pitcher Angela Costa.
“She was outstanding,” McFate said of her winning pitcher. “I can’t say anything bad about her performance today. She worked ahead in the count, she hit her spots, she kept them off balance.
“Connellsville is a really good team. They have some big hitters. She was perfect today.”
McFate would not pick a favorite between the three straight titles. However, Wilson, who was 3 for 4, had little trouble doing so.
“This one is the best one because everybody expected us to go down in the first round,” she said. “To upset a few teams and come up big in the championship feels really good right now.”
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.