Canon-McMillan softball team extends winning streak
For the first time this season, Canon-McMillan faced a team from outside the WPIAL.
The Big Macs treated that opponent like all of their others the past two months, and it earned them a trip to the PIAA title game for the first time.
Led by Abby McCartney's hitting and Alayna Astuto's pitching, Canon-McMillan defeated Pennsbury, 3-1, Tuesday in a PIAA Class AAAA semifinal at Carlisle.
Canon-McMillan (24-1), the WPIAL champion, has won 22 games in a row since its only loss April 5.
McCartney had three hits and three RBIs.
She gave Canon-McMillan a 1-0 lead on a first-inning double. Then, after Pennsbury (21-5) tied the score in the fourth, McCartney hit a two-run home run in the sixth.
McCartney also homered in the quarterfinals.
"Abby has been hot lately in the playoffs," said Canon-McMillan coach Michelle Moeller. "She's really found it the last two games."
Astuto improved to 24-0. She allowed one unearned run, seven hits -- all singles -- and one walk. She had three strikeouts.
"Alayna was hitting her locations," Moeller said. "As usual, she was solid and wasn't rattled. She's doing what we've asked of her and she believes in herself."
Pennsbury loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but popped out twice and hit into a forceout.
Astuto retired the final 10 batters of the game.
Yasmin Kotar had three hits and walked once for Canon-McMillan, which lost in last year's semifinals.
Pennsbury, the third-place finisher in District 1, was in the semifinals for the third year in a row.
• Fort LeBoeuf 4, Ambridge 1: Ambridge (18-5) scored in the top of the first, but the Bridgers offense then went silent en route to a loss against District 10 champion Fort LeBoeuf (20-4) at Penn State Behrend. Jaymee Humbert's single scored Kelly Haslett to give Ambridge the early lead. Fort LeBoeuf tied the score in the bottom of the first, despite having two runners thrown out at home. Fort LeBoeuf added a run in the fourth and two in the sixth. Ambridge, the WPIAL runner-up, had six hits, and Fort LeBoeuf finished with eight.
• Riverside 2, Philipsburg-Osceola 0: Kirsten Wilson's no-hitter and 15 strikeouts vaulted WPIAL champion Riverside (22-0) into the final for the fourth time after defeating District 3 champion Philipsburg-Osceola (23-2) at Punxsutawney. Wilson walked four, but did not allow a runner to advance past first base. Wilson pitched a perfect game in the first round and a one-hitter in the quarterfinals. Riverside scored both of its runs on Natalie Pritts' two-run single in the fifth. Riverside had six hits, with Wilson and Nicole Mansfield getting two apiece. The Panthers will be looking to win their first state title.
"This is the best group we've had," said Riverside coach Pam McCarty. "Overall, we've been real strong all season. Kirsten backs up the kids behind her. We have a lot of heart on this team."
• Neshannock 4, Southern Huntingdon 1: Madison Shaffer pitched a four-hitter with nine strikeouts to lead WPIAL champion Neshannock (21-2) to the win against District 6 runner-up Southern Huntingdon (20-5) at Punxsutawney. Neshannock is in the PIAA final for the second year in a row. The Lancers won the Class AA title last season.
"This team has been under a lot of pressure this year and we've handled it well," said Neshannock coach Tracy Kimmel.
Of Neshannock's seven hits, five were doubles. Katie Burrelli had an RBI double in the third and Marissa Kirkwood added an RBI double in the sixth to give Neshannock a 2-0 lead. Southern Huntingdon scored in the sixth, but Burrelli and Shaffer responded with RBI doubles in the seventh. Neshannock struck out just once.