2023 WPIAL Class 4A softball championship preview: Montour vs. Belle Vernon

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 | 2:20 PM

WPIAL Class 4A softball championship

4-Belle Vernon (17-4) vs. 2-Montour (15-3)

Noon Wednesday at Lilley Field, Cal (Pa.)

On the air: Trib HSSN (video)

How they got here: After a first-round bye, Belle Vernon defeated No. 5 West Mifflin, 2-1, in the quarterfinals and No. 1 Elizabeth Forward, 10-1, in the semifinals; Montour had a first-round bye and then defeated No. 7 Indiana, 11-1, in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Chartiers Valley, 10-0, in the semifinals.

WPIAL titles: Belle Vernon 4 (2018, ‘17, ‘15, ‘07); Montour 4 (2012, ‘10, 1987, ‘79)

Coaches: Tom Rodriguez, Belle Vernon; Ken Kutchman, Montour

Players to watch: Ava Zubovic, Belle Vernon; Jana Hess, Montour

Extra bases: Belle Vernon, on a seven-game winning streak, is back in the finals for the first time since 2018. The Leopards defeated rival Elizabeth Forward impressively, blasting three home runs in a 10-1 victory. Alexa Daniels, Zubovic and Maren Metikosh homered, with Daniels, Gracie Sokol and Mia Zubovic recording two hits each. Metikosh drove in four runs, Ava Zubovic three and Daniels two. Talia Ross was the winning pitcher. Despite allowing nine hits, she struck out four, and the defense made plays. The win broke an eight-game losing streak against the Warriors. Rodriguez has coached Belle Vernon in all four of its title-winning seasons. Olivia Kolowitz and Talia Ross have shared pitching duties. … Montour hasn’t been in the finals since 2012 when it defeated Elizabeth Forward for its fourth title. The Spartans defeated Chartiers Valley for the second time in three tries this season, 10-0 in five-innings in the semifinals. Those teams split their section title. Pitcher Kaitlyn Molitoris tossed a one-hitter, and Mia Arndt and Hess homered. Both drove in three runs. Arndt, Hess and Avrie Polo have driven in more than 25 runs each. Polo has eight home runs. Molitoris has a 2.37 ERA.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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