BP varsity softball should do well against Gateway in first round of playoffs

Russell Finelsen, Assistant Editor, Sports Editor

The BP varsity softball team did well in the season, winning 13 games and clinching a spot in the playoffs, even after ending the regular season with a 9-5 loss to Norwin. Bethel Park will face Gateway in the first round of the playoffs, and Bethel Park should have much success.

BP (10-2, 13-5) and Gateway (9-3, 10-5) had pretty different seasons. BP started the season 1-3, but then won 12 straight games before losing their final two games. In their twelve-game winning streak, the Black Hawks beat ten conference (Class AAAA Section 4) opponents. In addition, in the regular season, they were 3-3 against non-section opponents, including a 7-1 win against non-conference opponent West Mifflin (6-6, 11-7), which extended the Black Hawks’ win streak to 12. In addition, BP has never lost three-in-a- row this season. Due to these timely victories, BP easily won a part of the Class AAAA Section 4 title and made it into the playoffs, since four of the other seven teams in the section had section records less than .500.

Gateway, though, is on another wavelength. Even though they were second in Class AAAA Section 2 behind Fox Chapel (10-2, 11-5), they never won more than four-in-a-row. On the other hand, though, Gateway has not lost consecutive games, which BP cannot match. This means that Gateway can continue their streak if they beat BP in the playoffs, since they lost to Franklin Regional (8-4, 14-5), 2-1, in their season finale.

Gateway’s weakness, though, is in non-conference games. They are 1-2 in these games. In addition, their only non-conference win was against Kiski Area softball, which was 0-12 in section play and 0-14 in overall play. Furthermore, one of their non-section losses was to McKeesport, who is 2-10 in section play and 3-11 overall. Thus, Gateway might have some trouble against BP due to the fact that the two teams are not in the same conference.

At the plate, Gateway is definitely at a disadvantage. Gateway is led by Madison Lewis, who has two doubles, six home runs, and 11 RBIs this season. However, she is also a pitcher, and unless she starts every game, Gateway might not have that production. The next best hitters are Jasmine Copeland and Cali DiLucente. Copeland has two homers and seven RBIs; but, DiLucente only can account for a triple and a RBI this season. Thus, Gateway is at a disadvantage in its hitting.

On the other hand, BP is great at the plate. Rachel Albert leads the team with three home runs, 22 runs, 42 at-bats, and 19 hits. This accounts for a .452 hitting average. Haley Reid is also spectacular, hitting .436 with 15 runs, 17 hits, five triples, and 17 RBI’s. Taylor Andres is like Lewis; Andres, a great pitcher for the team, has 17 RBIs for the season. Rachel Hankin and Julia Sherwin each have six walks, and Hankin has four stolen bases. And, Jess Cook contributes 14 more RBIs. Thus, BP is loaded at the plate.

BP also has a great pitching duo. Andres is 5-4 for the season with a 1.58 ERA. She pitched 53 innings this season, striking out 40, walking out a mere 15 batters, and only allowing 12 earned runs. However, Cook is even better. She is 7-0 in the season with 1.27 ERA. Even though she pitched 30 less innings, she only allowed six earned runs while striking out 27. Therefore, BP has great pitchers to stop other teams from scoring as much.

Gateway’s pitching staff is led by Lewis. Lewis is 6-2 for the season, but has a 2.04 ERA after only pitching 24 innings. And, even though she has struck out 18, she has allowed seven runs, all earned. Thus, Gateway is also at an disadvantage in the pitching category.

Final Result: Both teams are closely matched, but BP should win due to some timely hitting. Pitching can only go so far for Gateway, and their lack of good hitters does nothing to help them. 8-4, BP.