Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Third place can be a great place

Bentworth softball never advanced to the WPIAL semifinals before this year, when the sixth-seeded Bearcats outslugged Avonworth and Carmichaels to get there.

Chartiers-Houston ended Bentworth's hopes of a WPIAL championship with a 2-1 victory in nine innings in the semifinals but Bentworth could still make its first PIAA playoff appearance with a win over perennial power Leechburg in the third-place consolation game Tuesday afternoon at Fairhaven Park.

With a 7-1 victory, Bentworth will advance to the state tournament and play the District 9 champion next week.

Being the third seed from the WPIAL can be an advantage as that team often avoids other WPIAL competition until later in the bracket. Chartiers-Houston won third-place games in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The Bucs advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals twice and the state championship in 2003.

Chartiers-Houston also advanced to the PIAA Class A title game in 2000 after winning the third-place game.

It's a fact not lost on first-year Bentworth coach Jack Cramer.

"We feel we have an outstanding chance to make a deep run and that's what I told the girls," Cramer said after the semifinals loss to Chartiers-Houston. "You don't know what anybody else out there has and that can be a good position to be in."

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