PIAA Semifinals Monday Recaps

Monday, June 9, 2014 | 11:45 PM

It had been a tough state postseason for District 7 teams heading into the state Semifinals on Monday with only three WPIAL teams reaching the Final Four. Now that Seneca Valley, Greensburg-Salem and Neshannock have lost, there will be no district representation in the PIAA baseball and softball championships for the first time since 1979. Here are recaps from the one baseball and two softball PIAA Semifinals games on Monday which ended the high school year for WPIAL teams.


Conestoga Pioneers 3 – Seneca Valley Raiders 2
Seneca Valley’s unlikely run through the postseason ended when the Raiders came up one run short. Seneca Valley lost in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals to Conestoga, 3-2, Monday afternoon at Greene Township Park in Scotland. The Raiders ended the season 12-12. The tough loss ended a crazy season for Seneca Valley. The Raiders squeaked into the WPIAL playoffs, finishing tied for the third and final playoff spot in Class AAAA Section 1. Seneca Valley entered the WPIAL postseason with a 6-11 record, but proceeded to win four in a row and capture the WPIAL AAAA title. After victories over Moon and DuBois in the first two rounds of the PIAA playoffs, Seneca Valley met a Conestoga squad that finished as the No. 3 team from District 1 (suburban Philadelphia). Connor Coward had won four of the past five playoff games for Seneca Valley. But he just pitched Thursday and would have had to go on three days’ rest today. So Seneca Valley coach Eric Semega decided to go with Alex Hajduk, who won the first round of the PIAA playoffs last Monday against Moon. Conestoga jumped on Hajduk for two runs in the first inning. Seneca Valley tied the game in the third inning. John Davis singled to center and Daniel Barna was brought on as a courtesy runner. John Harper hit a single to score Barna. John Brittner singled to put runners on first and third. Harper tied the game, scoring on a wild pitch. Seneca Valley then loaded the bases, but did not score. Conestoga took the lead for good in the fourth. Steve Born doubled to left field and then scored on Andrew Turner’s single. In the fifth, Conestoga made a big defensive play. Brittner was at third base when Jake Bufo threw a wild pitch. Brittner tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate. Seneca Valley threatened one last time in the seventh. The Raiders got a runner to second, but a groundout to third base ended the game.


Springfield-Delco Cougars 3- Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions 2
The heart of the Lions had to skip a few beats in this postseason. Six of the seven playoff games (WPIAL and PIAA) that the Greensburg Salem Lions softball team played were nail-biters, decided by one run. But the heart of the Lions also has to ache after today’s one-run game. Greensburg Salem saw its season end with a 3-2 loss to Springfield-Delco in a PIAA Class AAA semifinal game at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg. The tough loss ended the Lions’ hopes of making it to a state championship game for the first time in school history. Greensburg Salem finished 18-3. What made the loss tough to take was that Greensburg Salem took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. The Lions also had runners on first and second in the final inning before Springfield-Delco pitcher Courtney Scarpato got a popout to end the game. Greensburg Salem was 4-2 in the postseason in one-run games. The other loss came to Thomas Jefferson in the WPIAL semifinals. The only playoff game that wasn’t a one-run contest was a 2-0 victory against Norwin in the first round of the PIAA tournament. Greensburg Salem got its first run in the third inning when Claire Oberdorf walked and scored on a double by Kellie Hutchinson. In between those plays, Maggie Kallock got on base. Ahead 1-0, Greensburg Salem’s Melissa Wagner hit a grounder to short. The throw to first was dropped, allowing Kallock to score. Hutchinson also attempted to score, but was thrown out at the plate.  It would turn out to be a big play. Springfield-Delco got on the board in the fourth when Torey DePietro singled. She stole second base and came home on Kaity Baumann’s double. Springfield-Delco evened the game in the fifth when Mickey DePietro walked and eventually came around to score on Taylor WInkelman’s single. Wagner started for Greensburg Salem and she gave up the winning run in the sixth. Nikki DePietro drove home Tara Mattero with a single.


Claysburg-Kimmel Bulldogs 5 – Neshannock Lancers 4 in 8 Innings
A third straight trip to the PIAA title game was not in the cards for the Neshannock Lancers on Monday, falling to the Claysburg-Kimmel Bulldogs 5-4 in eight innings at Hempfield in the Class A semifinals. Winning pitcher Kiersten Coho doubled to right field to score two runs in the extra frame and put the Bulldogs into the championship game for the first time ever. Neshannock tried to rally in the bottom of the inning. Madison Shaffer doubled and was brought home on Madison Altmyer’s sac fly but the Lancers got no closer. Neshannock fell behind 3-0 in the sixth, Morgan Keyara drove in two runs with a bases-loaded blooper, she tried to go to second, a throwing error allowed Coho to score as well. The Lancers tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. With two on, number nine hitter Jenna DeLuca homered to tie the game. The Lancers managed only six hits in the game as Coho shut down an offense that had scored 43 runs during the post-season. Kaela Zingaro had two hits to lead the offense. Neshannock ends the season at 18-3 but the future is still bright for the WPIAL champions. The Lancers graduate two players and have two Division 1 recruits in Shaffer(Penn State) and Marissa DeMatteo(Pitt) returning. Coho struck out 154 during the season, she fanned five and allowed just eight baserunners. The Bulldogs take a 22-4 record into Friday’s championship game at Penn State. The Claysburg-Kimmel win means no WPIAL team will play for a softball championship, that hasn’t happened since 1997.


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