Westmoreland softball notebook: Franklin Regional, Plum put up eye-popping numbers
Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | 7:13 PM
Plum’s softball field is known for its short dimensions. A coach whose team was playing there for the first time called it a litter box.
On Monday, Franklin Regional mistook it for a driving range.
Where do you begin, here?
Incredibly, the Panthers won in extra innings, scoring nine times in the top of the eighth.
Franklin Regional’s Toryn Fulton had the game of her life, going 6 for 6 with four home runs, two doubles, nine RBIs and seven runs scored.
Sydney Jackson was 4 for 6 with a homer, Madison Nguyen had three hits, a homer and three RBIs and Lexi Patburg homered and drove in seven.
Danielle Pici was 4 for 6 with a homer and two doubles for Plum, Jaiden Gentile was 3 for 4 with two doubles and Riley Stephans and Mackenzie Lang also homered.
The teams combined for 47 runs and 43 hits.
Franklin Regional was cruising with a 15-4 lead after three innings. But Plum rallied for seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings and took a 17-16 lead after five.
It was 19-19 heading to extras.
“We thought we’d would be able to 15-run them, but they scored seven in the bottom of the fourth,” Franklin Regional coach Jim Armstrong said. “When they tied it in the seventh with no outs, we thought is was over.”
Franklin Regional hit seven homers and Plum hit three.
Making their pitch
A few local pitchers had something in common Monday: They all tossed a one-hitter.
Brown also tossed a shutout in a 12-0 triumph over Greensburg Salem.
Belle Vernon continued a recent tradition of converting the football field at James Weir Stadium into a softball diamond.
The Leopards played a few of games over the weekend on the gold-colored turf.
Picture half the field, only tilted.
Home plate was at the 50-yard line at the near sideline, with first and second base at the 30, and third back across at the 50.
A portable pitching rubber was perched at the 40. A makeshift fence arced around the outfield, stretching from the end zone to the far 20-yard line.
The 50 and near sideline served as baselines.
“It was definitely different playing on the Beach,” Leopards junior Ava Zubovic said. “The wind made every fly ball a challenge, and the surface had a little more bounce than what we are used to playing on.”
Belle Vernon hit seven home runs on the short field.
“Our offensive was able to deliver some big hits,” Zubovic said. “Any day we get to play softball is a good day.”
Armstrong beat the Warriors twice in the playoffs, both times by one run. The first came in the WPIAL championship, 6-5, on a walk-off solo homer by Jenna Clontz, who is back for the River Hawks.
The second matchup came in the PIAA semifinals as Armstrong won 3-2 at Mars.
Jeannette starts fast
The team moved down to Class A this season.
Hempfield was primed for some late-inning heroics in the Class 6A section opener, but the weather convinced the umpiring crew to call it in the bottom of the sixth with host North Allegheny leading 1-0.
The umpires determined there were some unsafe spots on the muddied field and steady rain, which caused a delay earlier, was making them worse.
It is an official game.
The teams meet again April 19 at Hempfield.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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