The Frazier and Chartiers-Houston softball teams scored a combined five runs in their prior two meetings during the regular season.
Everyone in attendance for the rubber match between the two Section 2-AA foes expected another low-scoring, pitchers’ duel in their WPIAL Class AA semifinal matchup Wednesday evening at Trinity Middle School.
Frazier’s offense had other plans.
The Commodores had 10 hits, drew 11 walks and took full advantage of four errors by the top-seeded Buccaneers to pull out a 10-3 victory and advance to their third straight championship game.
“No,” Frazier coach Don Hartman said after being asked if he thought his offense could score 10 runs against Chartiers-Houston. “We had a game plan and we stuck with it. We were discipline at the plate and put some pressure on their defense. Our baserunning was great, and to have those big innings were obviously huge for our confidence. Total team effort.”
The Commodores (17-3) will seek revenge for last year’s 1-0 setback in the title game when they battle against Laurel, a 12-2 winner over Freedom in five innings, next week at Peterswood Park.
“To get 10 runs is just crazy today,” Frazier pitcher Logan Hartman said. “When we got the first three runs that really boosted my confidence, but we just kept the pressure on their defense. It’s unreal to get back to the title game. I’m just thrilled and we worked so hard for this.”
The junior righthander averages close to 10 strikeouts a game, but she adjusted to the strike zone and pitched to contact against a good-hitting Chartiers-Houston team in allowing three runs on four hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
“It was a tight (strike) zone,” Logan Hartman said. “I knew I probably couldn’t get those strike three calls on the corners, so I just worked through contact. I threw a lot more offspeed stuff and got some weak popups.”
The walks and the errors were the deciding factor for the Bucs (17-4), who have lost three straight years in the round of four.
“Walks and errors killed us,” C-H coach Tricia Alderson said. “That did us in today and that’s hard to come back from in a semifinal. This is very disappointing and we have to regroup.”
After Frazier went down in order, the Bucs took a 1-0 lead with a RBI single from Kaci Alderson.
Frazier responded in the third with three runs and played small ball with three sacrifice bunt attempts. Victoria Washinski and Megan Celaschi scored on errors, and Kathryn Barch had an RBI single.
In the fourth inning, Frazier exploded for five runs on only three hits and chased starting pitcher Ella Brookman. Micolette Kloes pitched the remainder of the game for C-H.
Rylee Evans, who drew four walks on the day, as well as Haley Somers and Washinski each drew bases-loaded walks, Logan Hartman had an RBI double and Savannah Berklovich hit a run-scoring single in the fourth.
“This group of girls are special,” Don Hartman said. “When I came in here a couple of years ago they embraced me and it has been quite a ride these last three seasons. I didn’t take them to another WPIAL championship game, they took me. It was just a tremendous effort by our offense and these kids are just hard workers.”
After Washinski scored off a error in the top of the sixth for Frazier, C-H trimmed the deficit to 9-3 on a two-run homer by Karlyn Bayer.
Frazier’s Emi Curcio ended the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the seventh.
Despite the hard loss, C-H’s season isn’t over as the top four teams in the WPIAL qualify for the state tournament in two weeks.
“For whatever reason, we have had our troubles in the WPIAL semifinals over the years,” Tricia Alderson said. “But in some of those years we have rebounded with some strong showings in the state playoffs. We have to clean things up and work on some things.”