West Allegheny’s rally falls short in PIAA Class 5A softball title game

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Thursday, June 14, 2018 | 6:30 PM


UNIVERSITY PARK — Two comeback wins in one week was probably too much to ask, but West Allegheny still gave it a try.

The Indians loaded the bases in Thursday's seventh inning before Lampeter-Strasburg snagged Mackenzie Partyka's hard-hit grounder and turned a game-ending double play to defeat the WPIAL champions 6-2 in the PIAA Class 5A final at Nittany Lion Softball Park.

West A fell behind early and entered its last at-bat down four runs but still strung together three resilient singles in four at-bats.

“We're fighters,” West A pitcher Ashley Seamon said. “We go down fighting. For that reason, even though it had to end in a loss, the fact that we ended bases loaded, still fighting in the seventh, for us was a big testament to the type of team that we are.”

West Allegheny (22-2) was making its first state championship appearance. It was a four-run, sixth-inning rally in Monday's semifinals that earned the Indians their trip to Penn State.

This was a sendoff for a senior class that went 66-7 over the past three seasons and lifted West Allegheny's program to new heights. The Indians went from WPIAL runners-up in 2016 to two-time WPIAL champions and now the second-best team in the state.

“We were just talking in the dugout that the only reason we're allowed to be upset is that us seniors are never going to play with the same team again,” Seamon said. “We have to celebrate the season.”

The loss was West Allegheny's first since a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., in March.

“They haven't lost many games, so it's not a feeling that they're used to,” coach Mindi McFate said. “But that's sports. They can swing any way at any time and today we just came up a little short.”

The teams combined for 22 hits, including 13 by Lampeter-Strasburg (23-5), which grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first and never trailed. The District 3 runners-up added a run in the third and another in the fourth to lead 3-0.

West A scored twice in the fifth on an RBI single by Angela Costa and a sacrifice fly by Partyka, the team's No. 3 hitter.

The two pitchers combined for just two strikeouts, both by Seamon, as the teams pitched to contact. Lampeter-Strasburg's Brynne Baker allowed two runs on nine hits and one walk.

Seamon walked two and struck out two.

A fielding error helped Lampeter-Strasburg add two runs in the sixth, and the Pioneers' Gabby Drumm hit a solo homer in the seventh.

“They got the hits when they needed to with runners in scoring position,” McFate said. “We have had other teams that have hit well against us, we were just able to make the critical outs. … Absolutely one of the best hitting teams we've faced this year.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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