Ligonier Valley’s Cheyenne Piper selected Tribune-Review Westmoreland Softball Player of the Year

By:
Saturday, June 22, 2024 | 7:23 PM


“Fight, fight, fight!”

Cheyenne Piper started that chant, and it caught on in the Ligonier Valley dugout.

The senior softball pitcher who took the WPIAL by storm this postseason with a rash of no-hitters wants people to remember her for that chorus, for that fight.

When Piper was fired up, so were her teammates.

“I started this cheer, and it made people laugh at us, but it also served as means of humble motivation,” Piper said. “We knew we needed to work hard and fight for what we now have, because walking into a mindset expecting to win without any work behind the expectation was a recipe for disaster.”

Piper put in the time, repeatedly shutting down batters with her movement and change in speed while guiding the Rams (16-7) to a section title and WPIAL 3A semifinal and PIAA playoff appearances.

As a result, she is the TribLive Westmoreland Softball Player of the Year.

Toryn Fulton of Franklin Regional, Bailey Snowberger of Norwin, Grace Stein of Jeannette and Makayla Etling of Southmoreland also were considered.

The glasses-clad Piper threw three consecutive no-hitters, one against Indiana to close the regular season, then against Keystone Oaks and Ellwood City in the first two rounds of the WPIAL playoffs.

The Keystone Oaks win was a perfect game. She fanned 11 straight to close down Ellwood City and finished with 17 strikeouts.

“Cheyenne is a bulldog, and she hits her spots,” Ligonier Valley coach Mark Zimmerman said. “She has that inner fire.”

Piper finished with a 16-7 record and a 1.08 ERA. She struck out 252 and walked 15 in 14923 innings.

“She is cool on the mound,” Avonworth coach Jenna Muncie said.

Also an offensive threat for the Rams, Piper had seven doubles and drove in nine runs.

Piper said the season exceeded her expectations.

“That’s because of our team,” she said. “We worked so well together, and we were truly a family. I accomplished my goals for sure, but if I didn’t, it was definitely made up in some other way.

“I do believe that I’ve made a name for myself. A lot of people doubted what I could do and what our team could do, and they were definitely proven wrong. There was no prospect for us to be section champs, let alone finish third in our district and be part of the best 16 teams in the state. A lot were surprised at what we brought to the competition.”

First team all-stars

Makayla Etling

Jr., C, Southmoreland

UNC Pembroke commit led the Scotties with a .538 batting average, 1.712 OPS and 1.153 slugging percentage, and had a team-high eight home runs, 24 RBIs and 24 runs scored.

Toryn Fulton

Jr., SS, Franklin Regional

The South Florida recruit was one of the WPIAL’s toughest outs. She batted .673 with a 2.019 OPS, 1.296 slugging percentage and .722 on-base percentage. She had eight doubles, seven home runs, 26 RBIs and 31 runs. She did not strike out and was intentionally walked 10 times.

Maggie Howard

Sr., OF, Hempfield

The Georgetown commit was an offensive leader for the 6A Spartans. She batted a team-best .571 with 32 hits, including five doubles, three triples, three home runs and 17 RBIs. She also had 11 stolen bases.

Makenzee Kenney

Sr., IF, Greensburg Central Catholic

An experienced hitter and team leader for the Centurions, she led Westmoreland County with a .667 batting average. She also drove in 29 runs to pace the 2A playoff team.

Amarah McCutcheon

Sr., SS, Southmoreland

The Cal (Pa.) commit hit .404 with seven home runs, including three in one game, 16 RBIs and 19 runs scored. She also had a 1.000 slugging percentage and 1.509 OPS for 3A playoff team.

Riley Miller

Jr., P, Hempfield

The reining county player of the year and Kent State commit finished 13-2 with a 1.09 ERA for the 6A Spartans, who reached the WPIAL semifinals. She struck out 92 and walked 23 in 77 13 innings.

Cam Ponko

Jr., 3B, Penn-Trafford

The Warriors’ slugger batted .500 with a .549 on-base percentage and .968 slugging percentage. She had 32 hits, including 10 doubles, six home runs, 25 RBIs and 28 runs scored.

Gionnah Ruffner

Sr., C, Greensburg Salem

The Seton Hall recruit led the Golden Lions in every offensive category for four seasons. This year, she batted .519 with 10 doubles, three homers and 23 RBIs. She threw out five would-be base stealers.

Bailey Snowberger

Sr., SS, Norwin

The Holy Cross commit led the 6A Knights to their first WPIAL championship game appearance. She batted .400 with 25 hits, 22 runs, a 1.215 OPS and 18 stolen bases. She had 100 career hits.

Grace Stein

So., P, Jeannette

The fast-rising Jayhawks’ ace went 12-3 with a 1.02 ERA and 202 strikeouts for a Class A playoff team. She had only five walks in 89 innings and also batted .467 with 20 stolen bases.

Adoria Waldier

Jr., 3B, Yough

She helped lead the 3A Cougars to the WPIAL playoffs while hitting .433 with 18 RBIs and 18 runs scored. She also had a 2-0 pitching record and a save.

Kayla Williams

Sr., P, Latrobe

She finished the season with 10 wins, a 2.65 ERA and 166 strikeouts while leading the Wildcats to their first PIAA berth since 2018. The Slippery Rock commit finished with 417 career strikeouts. She also hit .367 with three homers and 20 RBIs.

Second team all-stars

Maddie Brown

Sr., P, Southmoreland

Ciara Camacho

Jr., C/OF, Franklin Regional

Allie Cervola

Jr., SS, Hempfield

Sydnee Foust

Jr., C, Ligonier Valley

Emily Griffith

Sr., 1B, Hempfield

Lauren Howard

So., 3B, Hempfield

Mack Keenan

Sr., C, Penn-Trafford

Grace Kindel

Sr., OF, Greensburg Central Catholic

Josey Michalski

Sr., 3B, Norwin

Gracie Sokol

Sr., 1B, Belle Vernon

Danica Trainer

Sr., P/IF, Mt. Pleasant

Corrine Wright

Sr., 2B, Latrobe

Third team all-stars

Sara Blossey

So., OF, Latrobe

Taylor Doppelheuer

Jr., 3B, Southmoreland

Erin Drotos

Sr., 1B, Penn-Trafford

Kylee Fisher

Fr., P, Yough

Peyton Heisler

Sr., OF, Hempfield

Joey Hurst

So., IF/P, Monessen

Brookelyn Kotch

Sr., P, Norwin

Macee Magill

Sr., IF, Greensburg Central Catholic

Haylee Myers

Fr., P/1B, Derry

Allyson Paulone

Fr., P, Penn-Trafford

Emma Scanlon

Sr., OF, Mt. Pleasant

Allie Scarpa

So., P, Greensburg Salem

Katie Sokol

IF, Jr., Belle Vernon

Abigail Springer

Jr., SS, Ligonier Valley

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More High School Sports

Appellate judge denies PIAA request, keeping Aliquippa in Class 4A football
Penn-Trafford wins WCCA 7-on-7 football tournament
2024 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Aliquippa’s Larry Moon III
WPIAL releases 2024-25 basketball schedules, updates section alignment for girls teams
Knoch transfer Colt Sprankle earns postseason eligibility after PIAA board overturns WPIAL