PIAA Softball: Canon-McMillan overpowers North Allegheny

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Canon-McMillan senior Yaszmin Kotar led off the game with a triple to right, and the Big Macs never stopped slugging en route to a 5-0 victory against North Allegheny in the PIAA Class AAAA softball quarterfinals Friday at Woodland Hills.

Freshman Kirsten Rush crushed a two-run homer to right field in the second, while senior Alayna Astuto struck out six and pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 22-0.

"When they're on, they're definitely on," Canon-McMillan coach Michele Moeller said of her hitters. "If it's not [one of] their days, someone else is stepping up somewhere. I'm very lucky with that lineup."

This game was a rematch of WPIAL championship May 30, which Canon-McMillan won, 5-2.

The Big Macs (23-1), who have not lost since April 5, will travel to Carlisle Monday for a 4 p.m. semifinal against Pennsbury, which beat Cumberland Valley, 14-3, in its quarterfinal.

North Allegheny had its best scoring opportunity in the bottom of the first inning when Logann Woodley, Christine Scherer and Bonnie Pierson all singled to load the bases with one out. But Astuto ended the threat with a pop up and a strikeout.

Giorgiana Zeremenko drew a leadoff walk in the second for the Big Macs and scored on Rush's home run.

"I was actually really surprised [it went out]," Rush said. "I just wanted to get it in play and be on base. ... We kept working on the outside because we knew [Tigers junior Sami Beining] pitched there, so I just kept thinking, 'Step to it and swing all the way through.' I was just winging it, kind of, but it worked."

"[Rush has been] struggling in the playoffs, so that was a great breakout day for her," Moeller said. "She's been taking some time to work on things in the cage so she was a little more patient at the plate and she tracked the ball a little better."

Canon-McMillan added another home run in the seventh from sophomore Abby McCartney, who was 3 for 4. Zeremenko went 3 for 3 while Rush, Kotar and Maddie Engel were 2 for 3.

"That's Canon-Mac," North Allegheny coach Rick Meister said. "They have an excellent offensive team. We knew that going in. Reasonably, we thought we had to score at least four runs to beat them, and we weren't too far off on our estimate."

Class AA

• Riverside 13, Ligonier Valley 0: WPIAL champion Riverside (21-0) scored five runs in the fourth and fifth to gain the five-inning win at Woodland Hills. Kirsten Wilson tossed a one-hitter for Riverside, after throwing a perfect game in a first-round win Monday.

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Nick Veronica: nveronica@post-gazette.com and Twitter @NickVeronica.


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