Burrell ace Armstrong whiffs 17 in win over Greensburg Salem

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | 8:09 PM

Katie Armstrong said she “drew a blank” when she tried to remember the Greensburg Salem softball lineup and hitter’s tendencies when she and her Burrell teammates faced the Golden Lions for a second time.

“Because it was so long ago,” she said. “As the game went on, though, I started to remember their hitters and that helped me adjust and focus.”

Armstrong also drew a blank in the scorebook, ringing up her second shutout of the Golden Lions this season with a 17-strikeout, two-hit performance as the visiting Bucs won, 3-0, Wednesday in Section 1-4A.

With its third straight victory, Burrell (6-4, 5-2) moves into a first-place tie with Highlands (10-3, 5-2) with three section games to go. Greensburg Salem (3-9, 3-4) remains in fourth place after the senior day defeat.

The top four teams qualify for the playoffs.

“This is a huge win for us,” said Armstrong, who took a perfect game into the fifth. “We have some big section games coming up, and we knew we needed to win this one. I am very surprised and happy to pitch the way I did today.”

Armstrong struck out eight straight Golden Lions hitters after the Bucs took a 1-0 lead in the first on a bases-loaded groundout by junior Caroline Dinka, who had two hits and two RBIs.

It was 2-0 in the third when senior Liz Clark singled in a run with two outs, and the Bucs extended the lead to three runs in the fifth on back-to-back singles by Clark and Dynka.

Armstrong walked senior Megan Toth with two down in the fifth to wipe out the perfect game, but the Golden Lions could not get a comeback started, despite getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.

Senior Kayla Gaughan finally singled for the Golden Lions, but to no avail. Sophomore Mia Peticca’s infield hit in the seventh also proved empty as Armstrong recorded three Ks in the final home frame.

“She struck out 21 in a game earlier in the year,” Burrell coach Rick Nealer said. “She is a gamer, just a very good pitcher and a hard worker.”

Clark finished 3 for 4, and senior Amber Bigler and sophomore Cassidy Novak each had a double for the Bucs.

Greensburg Salem, which posted solid wins over Freeport (14-13) and Knoch (7-4) after an 0-6 start, never got a base runner to second as Armstrong eluded any issues.

Armstrong struck out 14 in a three-hit shutout when Burrell beat the Golden Lions earlier in the season, 6-0.

Sophomore Carissa Caldwell, Toth and senior Loren Hons were the only Golden Lions starters who did not strike out twice.

“She is very good at hitting her spots,” Greensburg Salem coach Alyssa Bates said. “When she does miss, it’s competitive. We didn’t adjust enough to her today. We have to learn to adjust sooner. We started off slow. We’re going to keep fighting for a playoff spot.”

Junior Chelsea Stabile took the loss in the circle. She allowed nine hits and struck out six.

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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