Great Pitching, Great Defense, Timely Hitting Propel Lady Cats To State Softball Elite Eight (06/04/19)

(All photos by Kim Constantino) Above: scoreboard at conclusion of game

The Clarion Area Lady Cats Softball Team recorded their first PIAA State Playoff win, in eight years, with a 6-0 shutout over Commodore Perry at Slippery Rock University, on Monday (June, 3rd). The last time, was by the 2011 Lady Cats, who were State silver medalists.

Brenna is congratulated by third base coach Matt Best, as she rounds the bag on her home run

The Lady Cats will play at Slippery Rock University again, on Thursday (June 6th), at 2:00 PM, where they will face West Greene, in the PIAA State quarterfinals.

Kait Constantino continued her excellent work in the circle, giving up just three 3 hits, while striking out 12 and issuing just one walk. She recorded at least on strikeout in each of the seven innings, with multiple strikeouts in each of the first four innings. She struck out 9 of the first 12 batters she faced.

And with great defense, in addition to the pitching gem, the Lady Cats allowed only four base runners during the full seven innings: the walk in the fourth, and lone singles in each of the final three stanzas. The Lady Panthers never really threatened, with only one player reaching second base.

Jordan Best evades the tag to score.

The Bobcats, who were the home team, got all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first inning. With one out Carly Best drew a walk and then stole second. And with two outs, her sister doubled to drive her in, for what proved to be the winning run. Jordan would then score when a ball, put in play by Tori Vega, was mishandled, giving the Cats a 2-0 lead.

The Lady Cats moved the lead to 3-0, in bottom the second. Lindsey Kemmer singled to open the inning. She went to second, when Payton Simko reached on an error. They both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Ava Kiser. Lindsey came around to score on a sacrifice fly to left field by Noel Anthony.

Lady Cats congratulating Brenna around home plate after her homer.

Brenna Campbell reached on an error, with one out in the third. Jordan followed with a base on balls. Lindsey singled driving in both runners, for a 5-0 Clarion lead. Lindsey reached second on the throw to the plate.

Brenna provided some major excitement and the Cats last run in the fifth inning, sending a high fly to deep left that kept carrying. the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced over for a solo homer, setting the 6-0 final.

Coach Dan Shofestall was extremely happy with this win, saying, “This is the first time we’ve got a state playoff win since 2011, our big year there. We’re so happy for the girls and what they’ve done.”

Clarion students came out in force to lend support to Cats.

The Cats had big fan support at the game. Coach Shofestall said, “I’d like to thank the school for everything. They had a big fan bus come down. That was a big pick-up for us, because we represent our school. We love representing Clarion Softball and the Clarion Area School.

I thought the fans represented themselves and the school well today too. So we thank the fans. We thank the administration and teachers for letting them come down here to support us.”

Coach Shofestall saw the game as a complete team effort. “But as far as the game, I thought we put it all together today, against a pretty good team. Kaitlyn pitched well. We played great defense behind her and we got some timely hits with the bats.

“We took advantage of some miscues that they had. That’s a good pitcher we beat today. And we’re just happy about it.”

(Thanks to Kim Constantino for the photos. GREAT GAME, LADIES!!!! BEAT WEST GREENE!!!!)