Griffin leads Ligonier Valley softball team into WPIAL semifinals with win over Neshannock

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Monday, May 24, 2021 | 7:29 PM


Maddie Griffin didn’t feel she pitched well Monday against Neshannock in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals.

But she sure impressed teammate Ruby Wallace and Neshannock coach Jackie Lash.

Griffin pitched a two-hit shutout, struck out 16 and drove in the game’s only run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Ligonier Valley to a 1-0 victory and a spot in the semifinals Wednesday against Shenango.

The win also puts Ligonier Valley (18-1) in the PIAA playoffs.

Griffin, who had two hits, drove in Wallace from third base. Wallace led off the seventh inning with a two-strike single and moved to third on two groundouts.

Griffin was down 0-2 before she slapped a single into left to end the game.

“All I told Ruby was get on,” Ligonier Valley coach Mark Zimmerman said. “I knew if we got Ruby into scoring position, Maddie would get her in.”

Wallace said all she was trying to do was hit it hard.

“She’s a heck of a pitcher,” Lash said. “We worked on being patient at the plate, and we were prepared for her different pitches, but I could tell by some of our swings she had a lot of movement on the ball. She’s realy good.”

Griffin was matched by Neshannock freshman Abigail Measel, who allowed six hits, two walks and struck out 10.

Ligonier stranded runners at third base in the first two innings. Each time, Measel recorded a strikeout to end the threat.

“They put a lot of pressure on us,” Griffin said. “It was a heck of a game.”

Neshannock got its leadoff batter to second base in the second and fourth innings but failed to move them.

The Lancers’ biggest threat came in the sixth inning when Hunter Newman, who had two hits, tripled with two outs. After Gabby Perod walked, Ali Giordano ripped a ball to the gap, and Wallace raced and grabbed it to end the inning.

“When that girl hit it, I said, ‘Darn, I just lost the game for us,’ ” Griffin said. “But Ruby made it look routine. I don’t think anyone else could make that play.”

Zimmerman said the team has been working on tracking down balls in the gap.

“I tell Ruby to get everything because she’s so fast,” Zimmerman said. “She made a great play.”

Wallace said being in the WPIAL is new.

“We didn’t know what to expect or what they were like,” Wallace said. “We just came and played our game. I so thankful we have Maddie as our pitcher. We rely on her, and she relies on her fielders.

“It was a nerve-racking game. I wanted Maddie to get the strikeout, but when the girl hit the ball I said I had to get it for Maddie.”

It was a good learning experience for No. 9 Neshannock (10-6). The Lancers have no seniors, and Lash couldn’t have been prouder for their effort.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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