Dragons back in D10 finals

ERIE – Warren’s goal all year has been to win the District 10 title game. The Lady Dragons took a big step toward reaching that goal on Thursday.

A big inning, and a great pitching performance by Alexa Bupp, led the Dragons to a 6-3 victory over Corry in the District 10 Class AAA semifinals at Penn State Behrend.

With the win, Warren advances to the District 10 championship at noon on Monday at Penn State Behrend, against Fort LeBoeuf. This will be the fourth consecutive year that the teams have met in the title game.

After both teams failed to score in the first inning, Meghan Loutzenhiser single-handedly manufactured a run for the Lady Dragons. The first baseman led the second inning off with a double, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Loutzenhiser would then come in to score when the Corry catcher dropped a third strike and was forced to throw to first base to get the out.

The score remained 1-0 Warren through four innings. Bupp set down the first 12 Beavers she faced, and struck out nine of them. In all, the senior hurler tallied 15 strikeouts in the game.

The Dragons would add on to their lead in the top of the fifth. Kathryn Lobdell led the inning off, and was hit by a pitch. After a Lauren Frazier single to left, Alexis Munksgard was also hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Kaitlin Ishman. Ishman ripped a double to left-center, scoring Lobdell and Frazier. Kennedy Walter then reached on a fielder’s choice, bringing Bupp to the plate. Bupp hit a hard line drive down the left field line that scored Ishman and Walter. Bupp would then come in to score when Paige Wilson singled to center.

The Dragons racked up four runs on five hits to give themselves a 6-0 lead.

The fifth inning was also offensively productive for Corry. The Beavers got their first baserunner when Shannon Baker walked to lead off the inning. Baker would advance to second on a ground out, and to third when Emily Zaczkiewicz registered the first Beaver hit with a single. Jill Williams then scored Baker with a single and advanced to second when the hit was misplayed in the outfield. Zaczkiewicz and Williams would then both come around to score when Rachel Dingfelder reached on an error. Corry scored three runs in the inning and registered their only four baserunners of the game.

The final two innings belonged to the pitchers.

The only runner for each team to reach base was Lobdell, who reached on an error. Bupp would strike out five of the last six batters she faced, including whiffing the final batter of the game on three pitches. To go along with her 15 punchouts, Bupp allowed only two hits, walked only one batter, and allowed only a single earned run.

“It took us a while to get going today,” said Warren coach Mark Bupp, whose Dragons are 18-1 overall. “Meg (Loutzenhiser) got us going in the second with a double and getting a good jump off of third to score the run. We were really able to put an inning together in the fifth. Ish has had a great bat all year and her double was really key. Alexa had a great 13-pitch at-bat before hitting her double as well.”

Wilson led the Dragon offense with two hits, while Ishman and Bupp each had two runs batted in.

“Kennedy Walter had a real nice game, defensively,” said coach Bupp. “Alexa was really solid as well. We still have some things to clean up. We need to focus on fundamentals to give ourselves the best chance to win on Monday.”

Warren and Fort LeBoeuf, which beat Hickory 11-3 on Thursday to advance, will meet in the title game at noon on Monday at Penn State Behrend. Warren will be looking to avenge a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Bison in last year’s District 10 title game. Fort LeBoeuf would wind up finishing second in the state.

The Dragons won both prior meetings this season.

CORRY (3): Lawrence, 2B, 3-0-0-0, Prody, 3B, 3-0-0-0, Linkerhof, SS, 3-0-0-0, Baker, P, 2-1-0-0, Street, 1b, 3-0-0-0, Zaczkiewicz, C, 3-1-1-1, Williams, RF, 3-1-1-0, Merkle, LF, 2-0-0-0, Dingfelder, CF, 2-0-0-0, Totals: 24-3-2-1.

WARREN (6): Ishman, SS, 4-1-1-2, Walter, 3B, 4-1-1-0, Bupp, P, 3-1-1-2, Wilson, C, 4-0-2-1, Loutzenhiser, 1B, 3-1-1-1, Wortman, 2B, 3-0-0-0, Lobdell, CF, 2-1-0-0, Frazier, RF, 3-1-1-0, Munksgard, LF, 2-0-0-0. Totals: 28-6-7-6.

Warren 010 050 0 – 6 7 2

Corry 000 030 0 – 3 2 1

2B-Loutzenhiser (W), Bupp (W), Ishman (W). WP-Bupp. LP- Baker.

IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO: W: Bupp (W) 7-2-3-1-1-15. C: Baker (L) 7-7-6-6-1-10.