Hempfield softball loses ace freshman pitcher for season

Friday, May 20, 2022 | 7:34 PM

If Hempfield makes a run to its eighth WPIAL softball title, it will finish it without freshman pitcher Riley Miller.

The Spartans ace broke her left foot sliding into second base during the team’s 5-4 WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal win over Norwin on Wednesday at Penn-Trafford. She is done for the season.

Hempfield (13-3) plays No. 4 Seneca Valley (11-6) in the semifinals Wednesday at a time and site to be announced.

Miller has pitched just about every game for the Spartans.

“It’s heartbreaking,” coach Tina Madison said. “I am trying to pick them up and make sure they know it’s going to be OK. But they’re feeling it. It was a freak accident.”

The injury occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning when Miller singled and was thrown out sliding into second. She collided with Norwin sophomore shortstop Bailey Snowberger, who also came up limping.

Miller stayed in the game and earned the win as the Spartans walked it off against the Knights.

She was in a boot and using crutches, however, at Friday’s home scrimmage against Elizabeth Forward.

“I took second on the throw home,” Miller said. “It hurt, but I just thought I sprained it. I didn’t think it was bad enough to end my season. I woke up (Thursday morning) and could not walk on it.”

Miller said she could be down for six weeks, which also will cut into travel season. She is 11-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 126 strikeouts.

Madison said she will take a look at three potential replacements in the circle: sophomores Hannah Uhrinek, Peyton Heisler and Maggie Howard.

Uhrinek is 2-0, earning wins against Butler and Connellsville.

“Who knows? Maybe we will work in all three,” the coach said. “We’ll get it figured out. We are confident in our hitting and defense. We have to hit the ball against Seneca.”

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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