Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

West Allegheny Comes Up Shy in Title Game

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

West Allegheny Comes Up Shy in Title Game

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - West Allegheny certainly didn't want to find itself in the position it was in Thursday.

Not down multiple runs late in the game.

But even for a team that had lost just once all season and was playing in the state final for the first time, this wasn't uncharted territory.

Just a few days earlier, the Indians needed a late rally just to be able to make a joyful trip to Happy Valley.

"We talk to our kids about fighting and never giving up. There's always that hope," West Allegheny coach Mindi McFate said.

This time, though, a team that had reached new heights this season came up just short.

West Allegheny trailed by four runs in the seventh inning, but loaded the bases and had the tying run at the plate before falling to Lampeter-Strasburg, 6-2, in the PIAA Class 5A championship at Nittany Lion Softball Park.

Down to its final three outs of the season, West Allegheny's odds of pulling off a stunning comeback looked bleak. But Amy Nolte led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and Angela Costa followed with one of her own. After Taylor Goldstrohm flied out to center, Taylor Cummings singled to load the bases. That brought up star third baseman Mackenzie Partyka, the team's cleanup hitter who had an outstanding season.

"I knew she was the person I would put in there," said West Allegheny pitcher Ashley Seamon. "Not just because I thought she could be successful at that time, but I thought that she was the person who deserved to be there in that moment."

Unfortunately for West Allegheny, Partyka grounded into a 5-2-3 double play, and the Indians saw their season end with a record of 23-2.

Lampeter-Strasburg (23-5), located near Lancaster, captured its first PIAA title after falling in the title game two years earlier.

A West Allegheny team that had won 18 games in a row and scored 24 runs its first three PIAA playoff games struggled offensively. That's not to say the Indians didn't hit the ball hard or didn't have any chances. They had seven hits and did not have any hitters retired by strikeout, but the Indians had a difficult time coming through with the big hits when they needed them most. …

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