chsoftball

Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter

Chartiers-Houston shortstop Kaci Alderson fields a ball during a regular-season game at Allison Elementary School field.

Tricia Alderson might have been speechless after the last time the Chartiers-Houston High School softball team played Frazier.

Watching her team surrender 11 walks and make four costly errors in a 10-3 loss two weeks ago against the Commodores in a WPIAL Class 2A semifinal will do that.

“(Our players) were embarrassed,” Alderson said. “We played terribly. It was just so uncharacteristic. Hopefully, we’ve flushed it out of our system. We can’t dwell on that.”

There is no time to dwell because here comes the Bucs’ section rival again.

For the ninth time in three years, Chartiers-Houston (18-4) and Frazier (18-4) will play one another. Today, both teams’ seasons and a spot in the state semifinals are on the line when they meet in a PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal game at Pleasant Valley Elementary. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“You know we are going to play them two times a year. Now, we are going getting ready for No. 4,” Alderson said. “Our mindset is that it’s the next game on the schedule, it just happens to be Frazier again. Unfortunately, only one of us gets to move on. We are both good teams. It’s about who executes.”

How much has execution mattered?

In their eight previous meetings, the team that has committed more errors has lost seven times. Mistakes have made the difference in close games – four have been determined by one run – and the lopsided ones – three of Frazier’s six wins have been by at least five runs. Chartiers-Houston combined to commit 15 errors in the three blowout losses.

“(Frazier) is a well-coached team,” Alderson said. “They are going to take advantage of mistakes. We need to play clean, make plays and get clutch hits.”

Chartiers-Houston defeated Frazier 2-1 in their first regular-season meeting this year. The other win for the Bucs was in this same scenario two years ago, defeating Frazier in the 2017 PIAA quarterfinals, 4-3.

“Since we’ve lost that semifinal game, we have been telling the kids to play relaxed and have fun. Teams don’t always get these chances,” Alderson said. “They’ve been buying into that. We are looking forward to the opportunity. We will see what happens.”

West Greene vs. Clarion

Give the experience edge to West Greene.

Making another deep postseason run, the two-time defending state champion Pioneers will play District 9 runner-up Clarion (18-4) at Slippery Rock University. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m.

West Greene (20-4) has won 12 state playoff games in the last four years. Clarion’s first-round, 4-0 win over Commodore Perry was its first victory in the PIAA playoffs since 2011.

Bobcats’ starting pitcher Kaitlyn Constantino will try to keep the Pioneers down. Constantino earned the shut out win over Commodore Perry. She also helped Clarion get into the state playoffs with a 15-strikeout performance.

The winner advances to play either District 6 champion Claysburg Kimmel or District 9 champ DuBois Central Catholic Monday.

California vs.

West Middlesex

Nate Zemany will start on the mound for California (19-1) in a PIAA Class A baseball quarterfinal against District 10 champion West Middlesex at Pullman Park in Butler. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Zemany, a senior, has been the Trojans’ go-to starter down the stretch, including when he pitched six innings in a 9-6 win over Union in the WPIAL Class A Championship game.

West Middlesex (20-1) offers a senior-dominated lineup, which is something Zemany has not faced in his last two appearances against Quigley Catholic and Union. The Big Reds top six hitters are all seniors.

Ricky Ladjevich is batting a team-high .486 with 36 hits, 32 RBI and seven doubles. Alex Kachulis and Kaz Hoffman are both hitting over .400.

West Middlesex had to rally from an early deficit to defeat Otto-Eldred in the first round, 9-4.

The winner advances to play either District 6 champion Bishop McCort or District 9 champ Elk County Catholic Monday.

Staff Writer

Luke Campbell has been handling a multitude of tasks since joining the Observer-Reporter in 2015, following his graduation from Waynesburg University. He graduated from Waynesburg with a bachelor’s degree in sports broadcasting and information.

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