Alexis Hrivnak’s 18 strikeouts lift Springdale past South Side in WPIAL quarterfinals

Friday, May 20, 2022 | 7:34 PM

The Springdale and South Side softball teams are no strangers. The teams faced off in the WPIAL quarterfinals Friday for the second straight season at Montour.

Last spring, South Side got the better of the Dynamos by a run. On Friday, fourth-seeded Springdale flipped the script and scored a 2-1 victory over the No. 5 Rams (13-5)

Springdale senior pitcher Alexis Hrivnak was part of last year’s 3-2 loss and made sure the Dynamos (11-1) wouldn’t go out the same way. She tossed a four-hitter with 18 strikeouts to lead the Dynamos into the semifinals, where they will meet top-seeded West Greene (13-3) on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.

Hrivnak had no idea she had so many strikeouts but felt the last pitch she threw was going to close out the game.

“Getting that last out, especially as a pitcher, that solid pitch that you just feel like right off your fingertips, you just get chills, and I knew that batter was not hitting that rise ball,” Hrivnak said. “It just feels great and all my girls, too, you can just hear them behind me before that batter even swings the bat. Just everyone screaming and yelling, and it’s really my players that keep me up.”

Hrivnak got off to a strong start, striking out the side in the first inning. The Rams mustered their first hit by senior center fielder Laney Lewis in the second inning, but Hrivnak’s first 11 outs were all strikeouts.

South Side pitcher Madi Fischer also started strong by tossing three no-hit innings, only walking one batter. But the Dynamos offense got going in the bottom of the fourth.

Freshman second baseman Ashlyn Ferderbar drew a walk to begin the rally, and senior catcher Brianna Thompson singled up the middle. Hrivnak helped her cause and singled home the first run.

Senior Autumn Sprouse then drove in Thompson from third with a sacrifice fly to center field for a 2-0 lead.

Lewis relieved Fischer in the fifth inning and held Springdale in check the rest of the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, South Side got on the scoreboard when senior left fielder Josie Patosky belted a solo home run to left field to make it 2-1.

“That was so awesome for her. It was amazing,” South Side coach Amy Pieto said of Patosky’s first career homer. “She was so lit up by that, and I thought maybe that was gonna be the spark we needed, but that was great.”

In the top of the seventh, Lewis singled to give the Rams a chance to tie, but Hrivnak retired the next three batters in order.

“If we hadn’t waited too long (to rally), we might have ended up better, but Springdale has a great team,” Pieto said. “Alexis is a great pitcher, so we knew it was going to be tough going in.”

Springdale coach Anthony Pototo was thrilled with Hrivnak’s performance and cited her workhorse effort all season. He also said he was proud how the team battled its way into the next round.

“We have overcome so much adversity,” he said. “We only played basically our section games and won an out-of-section game. We played only three home games this year and had our senior day over at another high school. We’ve overcome so many different things, and it just doesn’t seem like it even affects my girls. It’s like our M.O., and this is what we’re used to.”

Pototo and the Dynamos quickly will turn their attention to the next round against five-time defending WPIAL champion West Greene. But, for now, they will savor a playoff victory.

“It wasn’t going to be easy,” Pototo said. “We knew we were going to be playing seven innings against them, and it was gonna go down to the wire. It’s just a good feeling not only for myself as the coach, but also the team being able to be on the other side.”

Union blanks Jefferson-Morgan

Mia Pruehs tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and also knocked in three runs to lead No. 2-seeded Union to an 11-0 victory over No. 7 Jefferson-Morgan (7-8) in a WPIAL Class A softball quarterfinal Friday at Montour.

The game was shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule.

Emily Siddall homered for the Scotties (18-3), who will play No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic (12-5) in the semifinals Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.

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