Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Illegal Pitch Calls Turn Game Umpires Blamed as Rams Lose Momentum Shifts on Ruling vs. S.S. Beaver Piaa Softball Class 2a Championship: Minersville 4, South Side Beaver 1

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Illegal Pitch Calls Turn Game Umpires Blamed as Rams Lose Momentum Shifts on Ruling vs. S.S. Beaver Piaa Softball Class 2a Championship: Minersville 4, South Side Beaver 1

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - South Side Beaver's McKenna Smith delivered a pitch, and Minersville standout Adrienne Kroznuskie swung and popped out to second base.

But umpires called an illegal pitch on Smith, and Kroznuskie got to hit again. The very next offering from Smith landed over the left-field fence.

Kroznuskie took advantage of her second chance, and her solo home run put a charge into Minersville in the third inning. The Miners then surged with three more runs in the frame and defeated South Side Beaver, 4-1, in the PIAA Class 2A softball championship Thursday at Penn State's Nittany Lion Softball Park.

The win gave Minersville (24-2) its 10th PIAA title, but knocking off the No. 2 team from the WPIAL didn't come without controversy. That illegal pitch was one of 10 called on Smith, South Side Beaver's star senior. South Side Beaver had more illegal pitches than Minersville had hits (six). The illegal pitches were called by the first base umpire.

"It comes down to Minersville just had four extra players on their team, and one in particular who had a lot of pull," said South Side Beaver coach Amy Pieto, in reference to the umpires."You're talking about four extra players who stand around the field and contribute in some way or another. Without them, we play a backyard game and who knows what happens?"

Smith also had illegal pitches called against her in the PIAA semifinals against Chartiers-Houston. Against Minersville, only once did Pieto come out of the dugout and question the calls.

"It's not going to do any good. They're not going to change their calls," Pieto said. "We've had only three games the entire season where she had illegal pitches called. Two against Chartiers-Houston and this one."

Pieto said the first few illegal pitches were called because Smith was putting her hands together in her glove before she stepped on the rubber. …

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