Avonworth slams door on Southmoreland in WPIAL Class 3A softball semifinals

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 9:07 PM

Scoreless during another pitching gem, Avonworth’s Alivia Lantzy decided to take matters into her own hands.

The sophomore blasted a triple to deep right-center field that barely stayed in Boyce-Mayview Field.

The big fifth-inning hit scored Layne Shinsky and Syd Savatt, and Leah Kuban added a home run in the sixth for insurance as Avonworth defeated Southmoreland, 3-0, on Tuesday to advance to the WPIAL Class 3A title game.

The Antelopes (16-5) will battle Deer Lakes in the title game June 1 at Cal (Pa.’s) Lilley Field at a time yet to be determined.

Emma Obersteiner started the rally with a one-out single and was erased on a force play. Savatt singled, setting the stage for Lantzy.

“I just wanted to get a hit to get the runs in,” Lantzy said.

Lantzy struck out eight and yielded just three hits to the Scotties.

Fifth-seeded Southmoreland (13-4) will play South Allegheny in the consolation game Thursday at a site and time to be determined. The winner of that game will earn the third and final berth from the WPIAL in the PIAA tournament, which begins June 6.

The Scotties never had more than one runner in any inning.

“You have to be disciplined in the (batter’s) box and try not to hit anything above your hands and stay away from that outside stuff,” Southmoreland coach Todd Bunner said. “The umpire did a great job. He wasn’t giving her (Lantzy) anything that wasn’t a strike. We didn’t get the ball to see its way through the infield sometimes.”

The Avonworth infield handled eight chances flawlessly.

“These kids have done a nice job as a team these last couple of weeks,” Antelopes coach Jenna Muncie said. “They knew going into this game that it was going to be a tough one. They knew it was going to come down to a few hits and a few runs. It was just a good, all-around team effort.”

After Avonworth broke through in the fifth, Amarah McCutcheon reached base with a one-out single.

Makayla Etling bunted McCutcheon to second, but the sophomore couldn’t advance any further.

“We were trying to play for that one run,” Bunner said. “When they had two in that bottom of the fifth, that changed it a little bit and we were just trying to play for one.”

Lantzy retired the final four batters of the game to give Avonworth a shot at its second WPIAL title in four years. Lantzy has 162 strikeouts on the season.

Added Muncie: “I can’t say enough good things about Alivia Lantzy. It was another strong game. She goes out and grinds every game.”

Tyson Martin had two of the three Southmoreland hits.

Deer Lakes defeated South Allegheny, 5-4, in the other semifinal.

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