South Xtra: Char-Houston bearing down on yet another WPIAL softball trophy
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Chartiers-Houston softball coach Tricia Alderson insists things are not as easy as they look, although her team is making them look as such.
Chartiers-Houston will appear in its third consecutive WPIAL Class A championship game today when it plays Carmichaels at 11:30 a.m. at California University of Pennsylvania.
The Buccaneers won the 2010 PIAA Class A championship and 2011 WPIAL Class A championship.
Today marks the third consecutive WPIAL final appearance as starters for senior catcher Colby Miller, senior shortstop Rachel Tucker, senior center fielder Kelli Dufresne and junior pitcher Kayla Briggs.
Briggs played at first base as a freshman and right field as a sophomore before taking over pitching duties from the since graduated Kiersten Conwell.
"Now she is in the WPIAL final finally there as the pitcher," Alderson said. "It is exciting for her. She was a position player in the last two title games, now she is the pitcher, I am glad she has the opportunity to pitch in the finals."
For Briggs and the rest of the junior class, the only way they know to cap a WPIAL season is at California University.
"The juniors are spoiled," Alderson laughed. "They don't know anything else but going down there at Cal U, they don't realize how lucky they are. Obviously, they work really hard but it takes a bit of luck sometimes. You never know what is going to happen. We have been very fortunate."
For the second consecutive year the WPIAL finals matchup everyone envisioned when the brackets came out, did not come to fruition. Last year the top-seeded Buccaneers were expected to meet No. 2 seed Sto-Rox in the WPIAL finals. Sto-Rox was upset in the first round and the matchup never materialized.
This year Chartiers-Houston (22-1) once again earned the No. 1 seed and undefeated Sto-Rox earned the No. 2 seed. Sto-Rox reached the semifinals last week but could not hold onto a 5-0 lead and ultimately lost, 6-5, to Carmichaels.
"I really thought that Class A had a lot of good teams this year that could make it to the final," Alderson said. "I don't know if it's super-surprising Sto-Rox is not here. Carmichaels is a very good team, we watched the game [against Sto-Rox]. It was a great game, a close game. The seedings ended up being pretty accurate."
The Mighty Mikes were seeded No. 3.
Although Chartiers-Houston will not see Sto-Rox in the title game, it did see a familiar Class A opponent in the WPIAL semifinals.
After blasting Riverview, 11-1, in the first round and Jefferson-Morgan, 10-0, in the quarterfinals, Chartiers-Houston ran into Vincentian Academy in the WPIAL semifinals.
Briggs limited Vincentian to two hits and one run and Miller knocked in all three runs as Chartiers-Houston prevailed, 3-1. Briggs had two hits and scored two runs in the game.
Alderson's teams have run into Vincentian in the playoffs six of the past seven seasons.
"We have a lot of respect for their program -- its mutual respect," Alderson said.
It was Vincentian that Chartiers-Houston passed the torch to after the 2007 season. The three consecutive WPIAL finals for Chartiers-Houston marks the second time Alderson has taken the program to back-to-back-to-back WPIAL championship games.
The Buccaneers won WPIAL titles from 2005-07. Vincentian then won the next three, including winning the 2010 WPIAL final against Chartiers-Houston.
"Things are not as easy as they look," Alderson said. "We are still working hard in practice, trying to prepare and get ready. We just try to focus on one game at a time.
"Obviously the kids have some experience being in the playoffs and they know what to expect."
• What: Chartiers-Houston vs. Carmichaels, WPIAL Class A championship game.
• Where: California University of Pennsylvania.
• When: 11:30 a.m.
First Published May 31, 2012 12:00 am