Jun. 14—What a year for the Beaver softball team.
The Bobcats have already won a WPIAL championship and are now two wins away from adding state gold to their diamond treasures.
At the top of the list of reasons the Bobcats are district champions and are still playing in mid-June is junior pitcher Payton List.
“Her confidence radiates through to her teammates,” Beaver coach Amy Haggart said. “They all get hyped when someone does something good, and it reflects into her pitching as well. Keeping her composure and working her spins and off-speeds together has really been amazing to watch this year. She knows what pitches work or didn’t work and we make sure to communicate.”
The Virginia Tech recruit has been dominant in the circle all season. This past week, she shut out Eastern York, then limited Elizabeth Forward to two earned runs on seven hits in a PIAA quarterfinals triumph.
“When she is on and focused, she is a force to be reckoned with,” Haggart said. “We talk after every inning about pitch calls and what is or is not working. This has helped us both so she is pitching to the batters to produce outs.”
While she is producing outs in the circle, on offense, she has been producing runs.
On Monday, List was 3 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs as the Bobcats rolled the Golden Knights, 11-0.
“She was focused and ready to play,” Haggart said.
The win lifted Beaver into a much-anticipated matchup against Elizabeth Forward. The two had been Nos. 1 and No. 2 all year in the Trib HSSN Class 4A rankings and featured two of the best pitchers in the district in List and the Warriors’ Kailey Larcinese.
EF scored in the first inning and added single runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 3-0 lead. Larcinese was on cruise control heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The senior ran into control issues though, as the Bobcats scored a run and had the bases loaded with one out on three walks and a hit batter.
Up to the plate came List, who was 0 for 1 with a walk.
“We talked before she went up to bat, and I told her all we need is to find the green, don’t swing for the fence and she said, ‘I got you coach’,” Haggart said. “She came through when she knew we needed her.”
List doubled to the fence to score two and tie the game. Emilee Hohenshel singled home another run, and then List scored on a sacrifice fly by Kayla Cornell for the game’s final run in a 5-3 triumph for the Bobcats.
List is now 4 for 5 with a home run and five RBIs in two state games. Does her offense get lost in the shuffle because of her pitching excellence?
“Not at all,” Haggart said. “She is confident on both sides of the game and she also trusts her team to help her out.”
Now, List and Beaver prepare for a rematch with Highlands.
The two teams met in a WPIAL softball championship game classic. After the Golden Rams tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the seventh inning, the Bobcats won it when pinch runner Ashlee Karas scored the golden run on a single by Cornell and a Highlands error.
“The girls are ready,” Haggart said. “We know what adjustments need to be made, and they have worked hard at practice to prepare for this game.”
2021 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week:
Week 10 — Sandra Soltes, Bethel Park
Week 9 — Jaycee Haidzee, Highlands
Week 8 — Zoe Mangan, Chartiers Valley
Week 7 — Maddie Griffin, Ligonier Valley
Week 6 — Reagan Milliken, Bethel Park
Week 5 — Olivia Zimmerman, Indiana
Week 4 — Bella Hess, Chartiers-Houston
Week 3 — Lauren Yuhas, West Mifflin
Week 2 — Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward
Week 1 — Mia Edwards, Shenango