In a game pitting two teams few, if any, expected to see playing for a title, Thomas Jefferson broke a lengthy deadlock with two runs in the ninth inning to defeat Mars, 5-3, and win the WPIAL Class AAA softball championship in its first-ever appearance Thursday at California University’s Lilley Field
After combining for six runs in the first three innings, neither the Jaguars (14-6) nor the Fightin’ Planets (12-5) scored for five consecutive innings, a drought which extended the game into extra innings. It was then, in the ninth inning, that Bayli Moon scored after an errant throw from a Mars outfielder on an attempt to tag out Moon at third base. Later in the inning, Kyla Prickett drove home Rachel Bowers to provide an insurance run, one that Thomas Jefferson would ultimately not even need.
Prickett finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the third.
In the Class AA final Casey Farkasovsky pitched a 3-hit shutout to lift Beaver to a 2-0 win against Deer Lakes at Lilley Field on the California University campus.
It was the first WPIAL softball title for the Bobcats, who lost to Deer Lakes in the WPIAL semifinals last season, 11-7.
For Deer Lakes, the 2012 WPIAL champions, it was the second straight season it lost its first game in the district title game. Tiffany Edwards gave up just one earned run on six hits in seven innings.
Earlier in the day, Neshannock, behind a five-run fifth inning, one broken up by an 85-minute rain delay, raced to an 8-5 victory against South Side Beaver in the WPIAL Class A softball championship.
The WPIAL championship is the second in a row for the Lancers (16-2), the top overall seed in the tournament. The Rams (16-4) were making their first-ever appearance in the WPIAL title game.
Leading, 4-3, after the rain delay in the fifth, Neshannock wasted little time putting more runs on the board. Junior Jenna DeLuca drove in one run and junior Marissa DeMatteo drove in two the following at-bat, turning what had been a tie game entering the inning into a comfortable 7-3 advantage.
DeLuca went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and one run while DeMatteo went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and one run.