Ligonier Valley holds off Sharpsville to advance to PIAA quarterfinals

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Monday, June 7, 2021 | 6:18 PM


The Ligonier Valley softball team is moving on in the PIAA Class 2A tournament after another special performance from junior pitcher Maddie Griffin.

In a pitchers’ duel with Sharpsville’s Breanna Hanley, Griffin allowed only two runs and three hits while striking out nine as the Rams (20-2) earned a 3-2 victory over the District 10 champion Blue Devils (14-7) on Monday at Slippery Rock.

Hanley allowed five hits and struck out 11, and all three of Ligonier Valley’s runs were unearned.

The Rams will play the winner of Shenango and Chestnut Ridge in the quarterfinals Thursday at a time and site to be determined.

“It does feel good,” Ligonier Valley coach Mark Zimmerman said about capturing the win. “You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first one, and I think everyone feels the same way. You feel confident going in, but they want it just as bad as you do so you have to go out and get it.”

The Rams did just that Monday.

In the top of the third, Eden Krouse reached on an error, then Griffin singled before both runners moved up on an Annabella Schueltz groundout. Kaylie Johnston drove in both runners with a single to right field.

The Rams struck again in the fourth inning when Jordan Hofecker reached on an error. Griffin drove her in with a single after Hofecker had reached second on a fielder’s choice and stole third.

With Griffin in the circle, Zimmerman said two runs was a good cushion to have, but anything can happen in the state playoffs.

“They don’t score a bunch of runs on Maddie, but you are down to the last eight, 12, 16 teams in the state, so some of these girls, they play a lot of travel ball, they hit a lot,” Zimmerman said. “We like Maddie.We like where we are at. You just never feel comfortable with a one- or two-run lead.”

The Rams’ run in the third proved to be excellent insurance, as the Blue Devils tacked on a run in the sixth. Griffin was able to avoid further damage with a groundout to Hofecker.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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