ERIE - It's something that can happen to even the best of teams - an uncharacteristically poor performance.
Unfortunately for the Warren softball team, it came during a 9-2 District 10 Class AAA championship game loss to Fort LeBoeuf on Monday at Penn State Behrend.
"Right out of the shoot, (Fort LeBoeuf) hit the ball hard and made plays," said Warren coach Mark Bupp. "The game quickly began taking on the look of our last game against them (a 4-1 loss). We made some poor decisions on defense and those mistakes really hurt us. You can't do that and expect to win against good teams."
Times Observer photo by Mitchell Wilston
And she’s off!
Taylor Mineweaser wastes no time getting started toward first after a bunt during Warren’s 9-2 loss to Fort LeBoeuf on Monday in the District 10 Class AAA softball championship at Penn State Behrend.
Despite a lopsided loss to end the season, it's hard to deny the success of Warren's program in recent seasons. Monday marked the Dragons' fourth straight D-10 Class AAA title game appearance, including one D-10 title in 2010. The outgoing senior class appeared in a D-10 title game in each of their four seasons.
"I told the seniors to be proud of what they've accomplished," said Bupp. "They made it to four straight District 10 championship games and I can't think of another class in school history that can say that. They accomplished so much. I just wish their last experience in a championship game could've ended a little better. Flat out, we didn't play our game today."
Just minutes after the final out, Bupp was already looking forward to next season. The veteran coach sees little reason why his club can't advance to a fifth straight district title game.
"This team has been so resilient," he said. "Last year, we got off to such a slow start and got hot at the end of the season to make it to the championship. That momentum carried into this season, and even with today's loss, I think these underclassmen are going to bounce back next season. These girls know what it takes to win."
With temperatures hovering just below 90 degrees, the Bison played to match the temperature from the opening pitch -red hot.
Standout pitcher Cassie Pietkiewicz sat the Dragons down in order in the top of the first and LeBoeuf aggressively went to work at the plate in the bottom of the first inning.
Shortstop Allaina Banta set the tone with a leadoff double and moved to third on Gabby Kennelley's sacrifice bunt. Banta then scored on an RBI single from Jolene Young. Young stole second, tagged up to third on a fly out and scored when Alexa Bupp's 1-1 pitch to Abby Rose rolled to the backstop.
Fort LeBoeuf extended the 2-0 advantage in the second inning when Briane Mitchell was hit by a pitch with nobody out, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error after the Dragons recorded the first out.
The Dragons appeared to be coming to life in the third, scoring a run without even registering a hit. Sam Bevevino and Taylor Mineweaser reached on back-to-back Bison errors and Bevevino finally came home after back-to-back groundouts by Kennedy Walter and Kaitlin Ishman. Ishman was credited with an RBI and the Dragons trailed, 3-1.
Any momentum gained by the run was quickly snuffed as Fort LeBoeuf tacked on three runs in the bottom of the third. Pietkiewicz led off with a double and was run for by Jess Hess. Hess scored on Rose's RBI single and a second runner raced home on another Dragons throwing error. Kelsey Kuzma's RBI groundout made it 6-1 before the inning was over.
The Dragons were able to plate their second run in the fourth inning despite again failing to record a hit. Bupp reached on an error and courtesy runner Meghan Loutzenhiser entered the game. Loutzenhiser advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on Rachel Hasselman's groundout and scored on a two-strike, two-out passed ball during Erica Blair's at-bat.
The Bison put the game on ice with another three-spot in the fourth, taking a 9-2 lead on the strength of a Young RBI single, Pietkiewicz RBI single and a third run on an error.
Warren finally broke into the hit column in the fifth inning when Walter raced out an infield single. It would prove to the Dragons' only hit of the game.
Pietkiewicz was 3-for-3 for the winners with Kennelley, Young and Rose adding two hits each. Young had a team-high two RBI and two runs.
The nine runs allowed by the Dragons were the most surrendered since a 10-0 loss to Yough in the PIAA playoffs in June of 2010. Fort LeBoeuf tagged the Dragons for 13 hits.
Warren finishes the 2012 season with an 18-2 mark. Both losses came to the District 10 Class AAA champion Bison. It was LeBoeuf's second straight title, having defeated Warren, 2-0, a season ago.
WARREN (2): ab-r-h-rbi: Kaitlin Ishman, 2b, 3-0-0-1, Jaimie Eaton, ss, 3-0-0-0, Alexa Bupp, p, 2-0-0-0, Meghan Loutzenhiser, cr, 0-1-0-0, Rachel Hasselman, 1b, 3-0-0-0, Kristin Hultquist, rf, 3-0-0-0, Erica Blair, lf, 3-0-0-0, Sam Bevevino, 3b, 3-1-0-0, Taylor Mineweaser, dp, 3-0-0-0, Kennedy Walter, cf, 2-0-1-0, Totals: 25-2-1-1
FORT LEBOEUF (9): ab-r-h-rbi: Allaina Banta, ss, 4-1-1-0, Gabby Kennelley, 2b, 3-1-2-0, Jolene Young, dp, 4-2-2-2, Cassie Pietkiewicz, p, 3-1-3-1, Jess Hess, cr, 0-1-0-0, Amanda Krolczyk, 1b, 4-1-1-0, Abby Rose, rf, 3-1-2-1, Kelsey Kuzma, c, 3-0-1-1, Briane Mitchell, cf, 2-1-1-0, Alex Carroll, lf, 0-0-0-0, Totals: 26-9-13-5
Warren 001 100 0 - 2 1 3
Fort LeBoeuf 213 300 x - 9 13 3
2b-Banta (F), Pietkiewicz (F). WP-Pietkiewicz. LP-Bupp.
Monday's District 10 baseball and softball
championship game scores
Mercyhurst Prep 1, West Middlesex 0
Saegertown 8, Titusville 4
Warren 2, Cathedral Prep 0
Saegertown 11, Sharpsville 2
Fairview 11, Wilmington 0, 5 innings
Fort LeBoeuf 9, Warren 2
McDowell 12, Strong Vincent 2, 5 innings