STRATTANVILLE, Pa. – Winning should never get old.
(Cover photo and team photo below by by Mike Schnelle. Check out more of Schnelle’s work here)
Listen to the game:
Innings 1 through 5 before weather delay:
Inning 6 and 7 after weather delay:
That has to be the mantra for the 2017 Moniteau softball team which became just the third team in District 9 history to capture at least four straight softball titles when it won its fourth consecutive Class 2A championship with a 9-0 win over Cranberry Wednesday at the Clarion-Limestone Sports Complex.
“It means a lot for all of us,” senior Cortney Claypoole said. “We’ve been playing together for a really long time, so it’s nice to finish it out this way.”
The top-seeded and unbeaten Lady Warriors (21-0) rode the right arm of senior Kennedy DeMatteis as they have done so much over the past four years.
DeMatteis was nearly perfect allowing the second batter of the game – Jenna Huegel – to single before retiring the final 20 Cranberry batters she faced. She struck out 11 in picking up her 13th shutout of the season and the 45th shutout of her career, including 32 over the past two years.
“She is tough to go against,” Cranberry head coach Glenn Barcinas said. “You have to be on your game. She worked inside, outside and got you to chase. It’s how she does it. She has had one heck of a high school career.”
For three-plus innings, though, DeMatteis was in a pitcher’s duel with Cranberry’s Natalie Barcinas, Glenn’s daughter.
Barcinas allowed a bunt single to the speedy Gabby Stewart leading off the game for Moniteau then retired the next 10 Lady Warriors she faced.
“I just don’t think we were ready,” Claypoole said. “I don’t think we were mentally prepared. She has some spin on the ball, and it was a little slower than we were expecting. I think we were just all ahead of it, and those curveballs were kind of getting to us.”
Things started to change for Moniteau with one out in the fourth when Kennedy DeMatteis ripped a double down the first-base line. But she was thrown out going to third on the play.
Her twin sister, Kristina, and her fellow senior Sara Hull picked her up though.
Kristina DeMatteis singled to center and moved to second on a wild pitch, and Hull singled her home giving Moniteau a 1-0 lead.
That lead grew to 3-0 in the fifth thanks to aggressive base running by the Lady Warriors.
A one-out walk to Amanda Dailey started things, and then with two outs, Stewart hit a liner back to the circle that Barcinas was able to get a glove on but not catch cleanly. She juggled the ball for a moment before it fell to the dirt, and her throw to first was late and got away from first baseman Rachel McCauley allowing Dailey to go to third on the throwing error.
Stewart then took off for second on the next pitch but stopped halfway. Instead of just letting her have second, Cranberry tried to make a play on her. While that was happening, Dailey sprinted home to make it 2-0, and Stewart wiggled her way back into first base safely.
Claypoole then ripped a ball into right-center field, and Stewart sprinted the entire way home from first to make it 3-0.
“We made a couple of game-sense mistakes, I’ll call them,” Glenn Barcinas said.
The game, which was moving along at a brisk pace – it took just 51 minutes to play five innings – suddenly came to a grinding halt when thunder was heard in the area prompting a delay, the third such delay for the two teams in their two meetings this year.
When the game resumed 41 minutes later, it was all Moniteau.
Like the Chicago Cubs in last year’s Game 7 of the World Series, the Lady Warriors appeared to hit the reset button offensively after the delay scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game away.
“It seems like, after a delay, we also seem to do a little bit better,” Claypoole said. “I don’t know what it is. I think we just kind of relax and come out even stronger.”
Watch Claypoole’s full interview.
Kennedy DeMatteis didn’t seem bothers by the delay retiring Cranberry in short order in the top of the sixth.
The delay, however, seemed to give Barcinas some trouble.
She walked the first batter she faced in the bottom of the sixth, Kristina DeMatteis, then threw a wild pitch before giving up a run-scoring single to Hull, who was 2-for-4 on the day with two RBIs and a run scored.
Back-to-back sacrifice bunts moved Hull to third before Dailey was hit by a pitch, and Hull scored when Dolcey Shunk reached on a fielding error by Bree Swartzfager on a hard hit ball to third that Swartzfager tried to backhand but couldn’t field cleanly.
Stewart was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a run scored on a wild pitch with Claypoole at the plate making it 6-0.
Claypoole then capped off a strong day for her by hitting an infield single to shortstop that scored Shunk making it 7-0 and putting runners at second and third.
Kennedy DeMatteis then singled to right making it 9-0 Moniteau.
“I was quite pleased with how the game started,” Glenn Barcinas said. “We had a lot of energy both on offense and defense. The energy level was high until the weather came gave us that delay.”
Moniteau, the PIAA runner-up a year ago, moves into the PIAA playoffs where it will take on Chartiers-Houston, the fourth-place team out of the WPIAL Monday. That game will most likely be back at C-L.
Cranberry finishes the year 17-3.
“I was actually quite pleased (with how the year went),” Barcinas said. “I didn’t expect to be here. I’m pleased. We will look to the future now. We are young. I hope that we get back here.”
EXTRA BASE HITS
- Moniteau is the first team to win at least four straight District 9 softball titles since Bradford won five in a row from 1990-94. Curwensville is the only other team to win at least four straight winning five in a row as well from 1982-86.
- The Lady Warriors have beaten Cranberry in each of the last two title games getting a 4-0 win last year. Prior to that, Moniteau beat Karns City two years in a row.
- This is the seventh District 9 2A title for Moniteau with all seven coming since 2007.
- Moniteau has now won 58 straight games against District 9 opponents.
- The Lady Warriors were escorted back to the school by fire trucks.
- While it was the fourth title for many members of the senior class, three Moniteau players are District 9 champions for the first time including Auvil, Breanne Noah, who got into the game as a courtesy runner, and Cassidy Claypoole. It was also the first title for first-year head coach Lennie Claypoole, who replace Dan Beebe at the helm this year.
MONITEAU 9, CRANBERRY 0
Score by Innings
Cranberry 000 000 0 – 0
Moniteau 000 126 x – 9
CRANBERRY – 0
Natalie Barcinas p 3000, Jenna Huegel cf 3010, Libby Kiefer c 3000, Rachel McCauley 1b 3000, Malliah Schreck ss 2000, Andrea Watson lf 2000, Nicole Hutchinson 2b 2000, Hannah Duncan rf 2000, Bree Swartzfager 3b 2000. Totals 22-0-1-0.
MONITEAU – 9
Gabby Stewart cf 3221, Cortney Claypoole ss 4122, Kennedy DeMatteis p 4022, Breanne Noah cr 0000, Kristina DeMatteis c 2210, Sara Hull 1b 4122, Megan Hepler 3b 2000, Kristin Auvil lf 2000, Amanda Dailey rf 1200, Dolcey Shunk 2b 3100. Totals 25-9-9-7.
LOB: Cranberry 1. Moniteau 5. Errors Cranberry 2. Moniteau 0 2B: Kennedy DeMatteis. SB: Dailey. SAC: Hepler, Auvil. HBP: Dailey by Barcinas. Stewart by Barcinas.
Natalie Barcinas – 6 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 HP
Kennedy DeMatteis – 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, 0 HP
Winning pitcher – Kennedy DeMatteis
Losing pitcher – Natalie Barcinas