Hempfield Cruises Past Latrobe for 3rd Straight WPIAL Title
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 | 11:41 PM
They say in sports, one of the hardest things to do is defeat the same team three times in a season. Things seemed to be heading that route for the top-seeded Hempfield Spartans against their sixth-seeded section rival Latrobe Wildcats, but the Spartans settled in and claimed its third consecutive WPIAL softball championship winning by a final score of 13-2, becoming just the sixth school to win three consecutive WPIAL Softball Championships.
Latrobe opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning and scored without a hit. Designated player Meredith Carr opened the frame with a lead-off walk and was sacrificed to second. On a pitch in the dirt, Carr moved to third and while sliding in, a wide throw by Spartan catcher Madison Stoner allowed Carr to score making it 1-0.
In the third inning, the Wildcats added another run on an RBI single by catcher Morgan Schweizer, scoring center fielder Angela DiOrio, making it 2-0 after three innings.
After breezing through the Spartan lineup in the first three innings, Wildcat starting pitcher Kiley Meyers was finally caught-up to by the Spartans line-up and posted a six spot in the top of the fourth.
Spartan second baseman Jenna Osikowicz led off the inning reaching on an error by Meyers, stole second and was driven in by starting pitcher Morgan Ryan on an RBI double cutting the lead in half to 2-1. Stoner moved the runner to third on a single and courtesy runner Peyton Ryan stole second, putting runners on second and third. Left fielder Autumn Beasley then notched a two-RBI double, giving the Spartans a 3-2 lead. Center fielder Jordan Bernard traded places with Beasley, following up with an RBI double herself to make it 4-2. After another single and a walk, right fielder Laura Fox singled in Bernard to make it 5-2. The final score of the inning was a sacrifice fly by Osikowicz, scoring designated player Kelsey Tobin, giving the Spartans a 6-2 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Wildcats caught up to Morgan Ryan, but ultimately it led to nothing and after five innings the score remained 6-2 and then was paused for 1:24 rain delay.
After the delay, the Spartans didn’t miss a beat and forced two pitching changes in the top of the sixth, scoring # runs. Bernard opened the inning with a double and Tobin followed with an RBI single. Tobin scored on an error by Wildcat shortstop Karley Kovatch, shortstop Ali Belgiovane, Fox and Osikowicz added runs as well. With the score now 12-2, Beasley added another RBI double, making it 13-2 after the top of the sixth.
Morgan Ryan then stifled the Wildcat bats in the bottom of the sixth to clinch WPIAL Championship Gold in the first 6A softball championship, as her and her Spartan teammates won 13-2 F/6.
Morgan Ryan went the distance allowing two runs, both earned, five hits, three walks, while striking out 10.
Meyers took the loss for Latrobe allowing seven runs, all earned, nine hits, one walk and seven strikeouts over 4.1 innings.
In relief, Carr allowed two runs, both earned, four hits and struck out two in 1.2 innings pitched. Ashley Pagliei also pitched in relief and didn’t record an out and allowed four runs, all earned, one hit and walked one batter.
Hempfield’s victory gave it its fifth WPIAL softball crown, becoming the sixth school to achieve that feat. Hempfield will be seeded in the PIAA 6A playoffs with the one-seed from district seven and despite the loss, Latrobe heads to the PIAA 6A playoffs as the two seed.