Hempfield still showing knack for late-game heroics

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Thursday, May 16, 2019 | 1:07 PM


Hempfield softball continues to have a flair for the dramatic.

And it has the mighty Spartans back in the WPIAL semifinals.

Kelsi Terzolino was the latest playoff hero as the sophomore ripped a one-out single to right in the bottom of the seventh inning to give third-seeded Hempfield a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Baldwin in a Class 6A quarterfinal at Gateway in Monroeville.

“I was really excited to be up to bat in that situation,” Terzolino said. “I wanted to contribute to the team in anyway I could and I knew I needed to to push the run across no matter what it took.”

Hempfield (14-6) gets Seneca Valley (15-5) in the semifinals Wednesday at a time and site yet to be announced. It remains to be seen if that game will come down to theatrics, but the Spartans already own two Section 2 wins over the Raiders, by scores of 6-4 and 4-1.

Hempfield played seven postseason games last year on the way to a WPIAL four-peat and its third straight PIAA title in the state’s largest classification. Four of those games were decided by one run.

Terzolino remembers that group’s 11th-hour antics.

“I think what’s so special about this team is that we are always so focused on finding a way,” she said. “Whether it’s with a home run or bunting a runner into scoring position, we fight until the very last pitch and we will find a way no matter how hard it gets.”

The mantle piece of the set was a 4-3 win over Parkland in eight innings where then-freshman Emma Hoffner launched a game-winning double to cue a wild celebration in the PIAA title game at Penn State.

The Spartans also won in dramatic fashion in the WPIAL final, edging past rival Latrobe, 2-1, in 10 innings.

Then-junior Jessica Persin singled home Allison Podkul with no outs in the bottom of the 10th for that walk-off victory.

Longtime coach Bob Kalp appreciates the wild wins, but they come with taxing moments.

“It’s exciting for the fans, stressful for the coaches and fun for the players,” Kalp said.

Megan Monzo blasted a solo home run at Latrobe to give Hempfield a 2-1 win over Baldwin in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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