Steelies fall in semis at Commonwealth Classic

LEXINGTON, Va. – The Erie Steelheads 17U Prospects advance to the semifinals of the Commonwealth Classic on Sunday, before falling in a back-and-forth affair with the Canes North 17U in the semifinals.

The top eight teams advanced to the playoffs, which were single elimination.

Warren’s Micah Passmore had a strong weekend at the plate, going a combined 6-for-11.

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Steelheads 1, Canes North Showcase 17U 0

Passmore played the role of hero in this one, delivering a walk-off RBI single to bring in high school teammate Mitch Grosch, who singled with one out. It was Passmore’s third hit of the game.

It backed up a brilliant pitching performance by Matt Shepard, who twirled seven shutout innings to get the win. Shepard, who like Grosch is a Mercyhurst commit, struck out seven, walked one and allowed seven hits in the complete game victory.

Passmore’s hit came off Jackson Hughes, who relieved starter Tyler Hayden, who was lifted after 6 1/3 innings.

Shepard also had two hits in the win, and Mason Bender had the other.

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Steelheads 7, Stars Frazier 17U 1

Cody Smith was dominant for 6 2/3 innings and helped his own cause, along with Ryan Rafalski and Shepard in the quarterfinal victory.

Smith struck out eight and allowed just six hits and one walk in his outing, with Cody Smith coming on to get the final out.

At the plate, Cody was 1-for-3 with three RBI as the Steelies broke the game open with a 4-run second inning. Shepard, meanwhile, was 3-for-4 with two RBI and Rafalski was 2-for-2, with there runs scored and an RBI. Cam Williamson was also 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run.

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Semifinal: Canes North 17U 6, Steelheads 5

Trailing 5-1, the Canes scored four times in the fifth and once more in the sixth to edge the Steelies in the semifinals.

The Canes scored in the first to take a 1-0 lead, but the Steelies responded, courtesy of Aidan Kelly’s 2-run double that brought in Grosch and Passmore.

They struck for three runs in the fourth, as Passmore scored on a passed ball, Rafalski’s groundout brought in Bender and Casey Smith doubled to bring in Rafalski.

Kelly and Nick Hussey, who were both brilliant on Wednesday, shared the pitching duties in this one. Kelly pitched into the fifth and was relieved by Hussey. Kelly’s final line was five runs (one earned) in four innings with three strikeouts and six hits allowed. Hussey gave up one run on there hits in his two innings with a strikeout.

Offensively, Passmore was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Kelly 2-for-2. Luke Jackson and Casey Smith had the other hits.

This was the second Evoshield Canes team the Steelies saw. They are an elite travel group comprised of players from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

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Youngsville Kamryn Weissinger played a pivotal role for the Tri-County Surge 16U travel softball team that finished second in their tournament this weekend.

The Surge played six games, with their lone loss coming to the Valley Extreme Buck in the championship game, 15-12.

On Saturday, they went 2-0, beating the same Valley Buck Extreme team 5-1, as well as the USSSA NY Pride, 6-5.

On Sunday, they won two games to get to the title contest, 6-5 over the Cayuga Gamblers and 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Pride.

Weissinger, who played center field in all six games, had a strong weekend at the plate. The rising junior went 4-for-11 with a pair of RBI, three runs scored, three walks and a double. She was 1-for-2 with an RBI, a run scored and two walks in the title game.

That contest saw the surge go up big thanks to a 10-run second inning, only to watch Valley battle back for the win.


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