2023 WPIAL Class 3A softball championship preview: Avonworth vs. Southmoreland

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | 11:01 AM

WPIAL Class 3A softball championship

2-Southmoreland (17-2) vs. 1-Avonworth (20-1)

Noon Thursday at Lilley Field, PennWest University, California

On the air: Trib HSSN (video)

How they got here: Southmoreland — Defeated 15-McGuffey 3-1 in first round; Yough 15-14 in quarterfinals; Waynesburg 7-0 in semifinals; Avonworth — Defeated 16-Seton LaSalle 15-4 (4 inn.) in first round; 8-Central Valley 10-0 (5) in quarterfinals; 3-Burrell 3-0 in semifinals

WPIAL titles: Southmoreland 1 (2018); Avonworth 2 (2022, ‘19)

Coaches: Todd Bunner, Southmoreland; Jenna Muncie, Avonworth

Players to watch: Riley Puckey, Southmoreland; Leah Kuban, Avonworth

Extra bases: Southmoreland strolled to its ninth straight win by shutting out Waynesburg in the semis. The Scotties last made the finals in 2018, the year they claimed their only WPIAL title. That season, they beat Steel Valley and Freeport in the bracket before pounding favored South Park, 12-1, in the final at Seton Hill. Southmoreland has a deep lineup that seems to produce different leaders each game. In the semifinal win, Taylor Doppleheur, Gwen Basinger, and Amarah McCutcheon each had a double, while Puckey went 4 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Maddie Brown allowed seven hits but kept Waynesburg off the board. McCutcheon, a Division I prospect, has 11 home runs. Brown has 15 wins. … Avonworth blanked the Scotties, 3-0, in the semifinals last year, clipped them 3-2 in the third-place consolation in 2021 and won 3-2 in the 2019 quarterfinals. The Antelopes are seeking their third title in four seasons and are trying to go back to back after they beat Deer Lakes in last year’s final, 8-1. They won four more times to claim a PIAA title. In this year’s semifinals, big-game pitcher Alivia Lantzy tossed a one-hitter, outdueling Burrell’s Katie Armstrong for a 3-0 win. Kuban tripled and drove in three, while Mara Stetser and Layne Shinsky also had hits. The Antelopes have not lost since a 9-2 setback against Class 2A top seed Neshannock on April 19.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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