2013 WPIAL Softball Championships Preview

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | 3:18 PM

Never before has a district postseason tournament played out the same way the 2013 WPIAL Softball Playoffs have. in the end, the top-seed in all four classifications have made it through three round to the championships where they will face all four #3-seeds in each class. Here is a look at all four #1 vs. #3 matchups to decide the 2013 WPIAL golden girls on Thursday at Lilley Field at California University of Pennsylvania.


The game: Canon-McMillan (20-1) vs. North Allegheny (17-4), 7 p.m. Thursday at California University.

The pitchers: Canon-McMillan’s Alayna Astuto (20-0) vs. North Allegheny’s Sami Beining (10-2).

About the teams: Canon-McMillan has won 20 in a row since a season-opening loss to Hempfield. Canon-McMillan is impressive offensively, scoring double figures 10 times. In the playoffs, the Big Macs have won two games by 6-0 and 5-0. Four Canon-Mac players are batting above .400 – Olivia Lorusso (.443), Giorgiana Zeremenko (.500), Abby McCartney (.443) and Linda Rush (.543). The team has 22 home runs. Astuto has a 1.33 ERA and has allowed only 58 hits in 105 innings. … North Allegheny also is strong offensively, scoring double figures six times. Bonnie Pierson is batting .405 with four home runs and 30 RBIs. Laura Cotter is batting .430 with 20 RBIs.  A question is can Beining hold down Canon-Mac’s offense? She is not an overpowering pitcher, but North Allegheny seems to find ways to win.

Championship history: Canon-McMillan is trying for its second consecutive title. North Allegheny won championships in 2002, ’03 and ’06.



The game: Ambridge (16-3) vs. Greensburg Salem (20-3), 4:30 p.m. Thursday at California University.

The pitchers: Ambridge’s Kelly Haslett (12-3) vs. Greensburg Salem’s Jayne Oberdorf (19-0).

About the teams: This should be a close game. Greensburg Salem’s playoff history this year says it should be close. Greensburg Salem has won three playoff games by 6-5, 3-0 and 3-2. Ambridge has some good hitters, led by the 2H club (Hanna and Humbert). Hannah Smith is batting .509 with seven home runs and Jaymee Humbert .420 with four home runs. But how will the Bridgers’ fare against Jayne Oberdorf, who is 19-0 with 208 strikeouts and 13 shutouts? Greensburg Salem also has some offensive firepower, led by outfielder Karly Mellinger. She played last season at Greensburg Central Catholic and is now hitting .579 for Greensburg Salem. Kellie Hutchinson is batting .400.

Championship history: Greensburg Salem has never won a championship. Ambridge won one title in 2005 and lost in the title game four times (1982, ’93, 2010 and ’11).



The game: Deer Lakes (18-0) vs. Riverside (18-0), 2 p.m. Thursday at California University.

The pitchers: Deer Lakes’ Tiffany Edwards (18-0) vs. Riverside’s Kirsten Wilson (18-0).

About the teams: It’s a battle of perfection. This is the first championship game between two unbeaten teams since 1998 when Carmichaels beat Sto-Rox. Deer Lakes is the defending WPIAL champ and the top-seeded team but it’s hard to bet against Riverside, which has not allowed a run in 11 consecutive games and has shut out 16 of 18 opponents. Wilson has 213 strikeouts. She will face an offense led by Katie Gozzard (.525 average), Hannah Blinn (.500) and Maureen Hutchinson (.463). Wilson is a threat offensively with a .571 batting average and four home runs.

Championship history: Deer Lakes’ only championship appearance was last year when they won the title. Meanwhile, this is Riverside’s 12th championship appearance. Riverside has five WPIAL titles.



The game: Carmichaels (21-2) vs. Neshannock (17-2), 11:30 a.m. Thursday at California University.

The pitchers: Carmichaels’s Erica Burns (21-2) vs. Neshannock’s Madison Shaffer (17-2).

About the teams: Maybe these teams will finally have a playoff challenge. Neshannock has won two playoff games by 14-0 and 9-1. Carmichaels has won three by 10-0, 15-0 and 9-0. Neshannock’s top hitter is Rayanna Furts, who is batting .648. Jamie Graziani is batting .577 with 30 runs scored and  20 RBIs. Shaffer is batting .545 with 25 RBIs. For Carmichaels, Burns has not allowed a run in theRBIs, Morgan Berardi 19.

Championship history: Neshannock won a PIAA title last season but the Lancers have never won a WPIAL title. They lost to Sto-Rox in the 2006 final. Carmichaels has won two WPIAL titles (1997 and ’98) and has lost in the title game three times – 1984, ’06 and last year.

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