Former Hempfield teammates help Seton Hill softball reach college World Series

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Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 12:26 PM


Morgan Ryan and Jenna Osikowicz are no strangers to the big stage.

In Little League, they helped West Point win a Junior League World Series title in 2014. They helped Hempfield win consecutive PIAA Class 6A titles, and now they’ve helped the Seton Hill softball team reach the NCAA Division II World Series.

Seton Hill (41-10) won the Atlantic Super Regional title Saturday by defeating Kutztown, 9-5, to win the best-of-three series, 2-0. The Griffins won Game 1, 7-0. They led Game 2, 4-3, before it was suspended in the third inning Friday because of severe weather.

When Game 2 resumed, Seton Hill coach Jessica Strong decided to pitch Ryan, the Game 1 winner, to close things out. Ryan held Kutztown, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion, scoreless until there were two outs in the top of the seventh inning when Jenna Lipowski hit a two-run homer.

Grace Paredes drove in three runs, and Morgan Toal and Ryan each had two RBIs for the Griffins, who will next head to the World Series at the Regency Athletic Complex in Denver. Seton Hill, seeded No. 6, plays No. 3 Auburn Montgomery at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

“I knew the potential this team had,” Osikowicz said in a broadcast interview with Westmoreland Sports Network after the game. “It was a win-win situation for me to come back for a fifth season.

“We emphasized to the underclassmen, ‘Do your best every day at practice,’ and it paid off. The leadership from the seniors really helped.”

It also didn’t hurt that Ryan decided to play her final year at Seton Hill.

“I was so excited when I found Morgan was coming back,” Osikowicz said. “We won the Little League World Series in 2014, and now we’re going back, which is pretty neat.”

Strong said despite the delay, the team was ready to close things out.

“The plan was just to get them food.” Strong said. “Food makes me happy, and food made them happy. You come out and deal with what you are dealt. You have to deal with the situations, and we did.”

Strong said adding Ryan was a big key along with others.

“Collectively, Morgan is a great communicator,” Strong said. “She probably pitched more than she expected, but she accepted it as a challenge.”

Ryan allowed five hits, three in the final inning, and struck out four.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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