Warriors fall to McDowell in State 6A opener

By on June 5, 2019
Warwick base runner Emily Beale rounds second during a sixth-inning threat by the Warriors in the District Three finals last Friday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick base runner Emily Beale rounds second during a sixth-inning threat by the Warriors in the District Three finals last Friday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Trailing 9-1 Monday and facing a five-hour bus ride home, Warwick could have packed things up.

They didn’t.

Instead, the District Three 6A runner-up Warriors rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, all with two outs.

“As a coach, you hope that one of the things you preach and teach is that it’s never over until the last out,” Warwick boss Mark Hough said, “and those kids lived up to that.”

Unfortunately for the Warwick girls, in the end, District 10 champion McDowell was able to hold on for a 9-4 victory in a PIAA State 6A first-round game at Slippery Rock University.

The loss ended a strong season for the Warriors, who finished 18-5 overall, having clinched the Section One title, a trip to the District finals, and their second straight appearance at States.

“For the kids to accomplish those things was really a testament to what we had talked about back on March 8 on the Friday after tryouts ended,” Hough said. “The kids said, ‘We don’t just want to get to Districts and win a game or two and qualify for States. We want to win Districts, and when we get to States, it’s not just that we want the bus ride to wherever.’ Our mindset starting March 8 was we’re not just going to be satisfied getting some place. We want to do something once we get there.”

The Trojans (18-5), who will face District Seven champ Hempfield in Thursday’s quarterfinals, took a 3-0 lead in the first inning off of Warrior pitcher Katelyn Minney to take early control. Kira Hillhouse delivered a two-run single and Corinne Bechtold added an RBI base hit.

Minney allowed 12 hits to the hard-hitting Trojan team, while striking out nine and walking none over seven innings. Warwick had five errors behind her.

“(McDowell) was a very vocal team, and I think with the way they had hit Lefty right out of the chute, as loud as they were, I think it was a little rattling,” Hough said. “We had taken time to go out and talk to them and settle them down, and I think once we got through that first inning, we did calm down and we got back into our game. We threw and pitched well and played good defense, but we started with our offense a little too late.”

Pitcher Rachel Marsden, who struck out 17 in a win over Harbor Creek in April, had something to do with that, holding the Warriors hitless through the first four frames. She finished with nine K’s while giving up four runs on two walks and five hits.

“Their pitcher really threw hard, she was a heck of an athlete all the way around,” Hough said. “She really can hit the ball and she can run, but she’s really a presence out there. And their catcher (Lauryn Rougeux) really would have negated anyone from stealing because she could throw a dart to second from her knees.”

Eventually, Warrior senior Marissa Treibley broke up Marsden’s no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning, smashing a double over the center fielder. After going to third on an error, Treibley scored Warwick’s first run on Kenzie Stewart’s RBI fielder’s choice, making it 4-1.

The Trojans, who got multiple base hits from Hillhouse, Rougeux, Marsden and Olivia Kruszewski, added one run in the sixth and then four more in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of that frame, Allison Forsythe, Minney and Emily Beale all had RBI base hits, but Marsden was eventually able to close the door.

“Everybody just had good solid at-bats, and I think that was one thing we could take with a great deal of pride coming home was the fact that we did that,” Hough said.

Forsythe and Treibley finished with two hits apiece to lead the Warriors’ attack.

 

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