RICHMOND TOWNSHIP — It was truly a championship-caliber performance on the mound for Cochranton pitcher Jayden Frayer.
Frayer struck out 10 and allowed just four hits through six innings. Her effort helped lead Cochranton to a 5-3 win over Mid-East/Meadville on Wednesday in the District 1 8-10 Year Old softball championship game at Richmond Township fields.
“What I liked is that she didn’t get rattled. When we had runners on she didn’t get rattled,” said Cochranton head coach Brett McCartney. “And her defense backed her up 100 percent tonight.”
Frayer was also helped a bit by early run support. Claudia Lippert led off the game with a blooper into right field. The ball hopped to the right and toward the fence and Lippert strolled into third for a triple.
Mara Schwartz then hit a grounder to the mound and Lippert made it home for the 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same for the next couple innings due to Frayer’s dominance on the mound. She fanned two in the first and set down the side in order.
In the second, she also struck out two and was only blemished by a walk. In the third, she punched out all three batters faced via strikeouts.
However, she was being matched by ME/M’s Abigail Mawhinney. After that leadoff triple, Mawhinney worked through the Cochranton lineup with relative ease. She allowed no more hits through three innings and fanned all three batters faced in the third as well.
“Our pitching performance was phenomenal,” said ME/M head coach Ashley Phillips. “For Abigail to be league age eight years old and to stand in there with confidence like that against a great team like Cochranton, she did great.”
Cochranton did extend its lead, however, on ME/M. Mara Schwartz ripped a leadoff double into left field to start the fourth inning. She then smartly saw an overthrow from left field and rounded third base and headed for home. She made it without a challenge and gave Cochranton the 2-0 lead.
There was no sign of quit from ME/M, who bounced back in the bottom of the fourth. Addy Kregel opened with a base knock. Zoe Cresswell followed with a double to score Kregel. Paige Simmerman blasted a double right after to bring around Cresswell to tie the game 2-2.
In the top of the fifth, Cochranton retook the lead. Maggie Jackson reached on an infield error to start. Frayer capitalized on the miscue with a double, scoring Jackson. She was then hit home with a triple from Lippert, who also scored following a throwing error from the outfield to make it 5-2 Cochranton.
“We had a great hitting performance out of everybody,” said coach McCartney.
From there, Frayer and the defense locked it down. After a leadoff walk, Frayer got Raegan Nuhfer looking and then Phillips hit a pop-up to first base. Claire McCartney caught it and stepped on first for the inning-ending double play.
Then in the sixth, Kregel led off with a double and scored off a wild pitch, but Cochranton settled down and closed the game. Frayer forced a ground out, a pop-up to third and the closing groundout to third, which was juggled a bit by Maddie Brenot, but she recovered and beat the runner on the throw.
“First base, we had a double play there to end that (fifth) inning,” added coach McCartney. “To end the game there, we had a great play here at third. Even after the bobble we didn’t panic. Still made a strong throw.”
For ME/M it’s the end of the line. Mawhinney pitched a great game despite the loss. She fanned nine hitters in five innings of work and allowed two earned runs on six hits.
Kregel went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Cresswell and Simmereman each went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
“These girls did awesome,” coach Phillips said. “We’re pretty young and for our girls to come through and we learned quite a bit just from all-stars and each game. We stepped up and I’m super proud of them. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
For Cochranton, Frayer went the distance. She allowed three earned runs on four hits, only walking two hitters.
Lippert and Schwartz each went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Lippert scored twice and Schwartz scored one run. Freyer went 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI and McCartney was 1-for-3.
“If those girls play to their ability and they’re all pumped up, we can go as far as they want to take us,” coach McCartney said.