Tigers Outlast Tornado For 5th Consecutive Win

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The North Allegheny softball team built an 8-0 lead and staved off a late Butler rally for a 9-5 triumph on Tuesday night in Section 1-6A action. The victory was NA’s fifth straight and 30th in a row in the head-to-head series with Butler. The home win sets up a showdown for first place atop Class 6A on Wednesday when the Tigers visit reigning WPIAL champion, Seneca Valley.

Butler entered Tuesday’s game fresh off a 9-1 win against Mt. Lebanon the day before, snapping a 32-game losing streak and 26-game section skid. The Golden Tornado’s hopes for a second straight win took an immediate hit in the first inning when junior Anne Melle stroked a first inning two-run homer over the right-centerfield fence for an quick 2-0 lead.

To her credit, Butler starter Kelsey Ogin pitched her way through several tight spots in the first three innings, including a bases loaded jam in the first inning, but that all changed during a big fourth inning for the Tigers. Back-to-back singles by McKenna Rowlands and Meghan McDonough set the table, and Sammy Plotsko reached on a error to load the bases. A walk by Melle brought in Rowlands from third for a 3-0 lead, and a bases loaded hit by pitch by Reagan Sheets scored McDonough for a 4-0 advantage. Senior catcher Sadie Kelly increased the NA lead to 6-0 with a two-run double, followed by a Mayson Brokos sacrifice fly RBI for a 7-0 advantage. Junior Caitlin Logan capped the inning with an RBI single and the Tigers led 8-0.

Plotsko got the start in the pitcher’s circle and silenced the Golden Tornado through five innings, surrendering just one hit and two walks in that span. Butler managed to scratch across one run in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Lily Vicari and tacked on a second run later in the frame thanks to a solo home run by Ogin, trimming the NA lead to 8-2.

North Allegheny added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Logan belted a triple off the centerfield fence, and later in the inning, Rowlands drove in Logan with a sacrifice fly for a 9-2 lead. Logan finished with a 3-for-4 day with an RBI and one run scored, while Rowlands went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Down to their final three outs, Butler started an uprising in the top of the seventh and scored three runs to trim the NA lead to four. However, Plotsko, who moved to shortstop briefly to begin the inning, returned to the pitcher’s circle to finish what she started. With two runners on and nobody out, Plotsko retired three consecutive batters to end the ball game and secure a 9-5 victory. Plotsko worked seven innings to earn her fifth win of the season, allowing only two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Kelly was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game, reaching base three times in a 2-for-3 effort with a walk, single, double and two RBIs.

Other notable performances included McDonough, who went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Melle drove in three runs and reached base twice with the first-inning round tripper and a walk.

For Butler, Ogin pitched six innings, allowing nine runs, eight earned, with four walks and seven strikouts.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in Section 1-6A. Butler dips to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the section. The Tigers will visit Seneca Valley on Wednesday in a rematch of last year’s WPIAL championship game. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m.

Box Score - Softball vs. Butler - 04/04/2023

Score by Innings1234567RHE
North Allegheny200601X9162
WP - Sammy Plotsko (5-0) LP - Kelsey Ogin